Review Blog

May 24 2018

The price guide to the occult by Leslye Walton

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Candlewick Press 2018. ISBN 9780763691103
(Age: 14+) Recommended for people with an interest in mental health and magic. TW: This novel contains self-harm. This is certainly a novel that would be difficult to walk past, The price guide to the occult is both loud and distracting with neon yellow on black surrounded by red-edged pages.
The novel follows a cursed family of Blackburn women, all of whom are destined to have a three-day romance in which a child is conceived and denied by a man descended from the original eight of Anathema Island. Together with the curse of heartbreak, each daughter is 'gifted' with a burden of magical talent, some stronger than others. Fern Blackburn, the eighth daughter, received the gift of always getting what she wanted. However, the one loophole in her gift was never being able to have Quinn Sweeny, the love of her life and the father of her daughter, Nor. Fern's obsession with possessing Quinn is all encompassing, and she will stop at nothing to secure his love - even if that means sacrificing their daughter.
Nor is only a teenager. Her only worries should be grades and boys. But she is also a Blackburn woman... with a secret. Fear of her mother has made her tame and afraid of her own powers, for indeed she is the first since the matriarch, Rona, to possess more than one. When Fern returns, Nor's fear only grows until she is unable to keep her power in check. A storm is brewing, and only one Blackburn woman will prevail.
The price guide to the occult was engrossing. Despite the many references to self-harm and the gruesome murders Fern commits, it was an enlightening exploration of the relationship between a neglectful mother and her child. Similar in ways to Practical magic and Little shop of horrors, it was certainly an enjoyable read. Recommended for ages fourteen and up with an interest in mental health and magic.
Kayla Gaskell, 22

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