Season of the Witch

What if hex lessons could empower a bully’s victim to enact revenge?  What if we could send out psychic energy as an agent of change?  These are questions Mariah Fredericks explores in her book Season of the Witch.  The novel features Antonia Thurman, a sixteen year old junior who wants to be elegant, fiercely smart, and strong but still funny and nice.  Instead, she is the target of bully Chloe Nachmias, a petite and perfect, every-part-ideal beauty who causes others to feel clumsy and insignificant.  Chloe and her minions, Zeena and Isabelle, make Slam the Slut everyone’s favorite game, with Toni the target since she broke the rules of high school code by floating from guy to guy—including a stint with Oliver, Chloe’s boyfriend—instead of seeking a permanent relationship with a single guy “in order to receive oxygen, sustenance, and social significance” (59).

Ostracized for her indiscretion and suffering from escalating cruelty, Toni has only one friend, Ella Shaeffer, who sticks by her and cracks jokes to make life less dire.  Despite Ella’s attempts to deflect the pain, Toni craves revenge.  Because she wants those who have wronged her to suffer, Toni seeks help from Ella’s cousin, the mysterious Cassandra Wolfe who introduces Toni to her Book of Shadows and to the art of magic.  When consequences to their spell casting begin to occur, Toni isn’t ready for their powerful results and crazily hopes normal is still out there.  The terror multiplies when Ella accuses her cousin of killing her autistic brother and Cassandra strangles on the rage, casting a spell to make Ella suffer.

Fredericks paints her scenes with realistic horror, describing several motives for bullying: the warped feeling of excitement, the power high, and the thrill of danger.  She describes how a bully finds a weak spot and then presses and how some people enjoy evil power to having no power at all.  Whether magic is real or not, Fredericks reveals that anger has power, that we all have power to hurt and sometimes kill with our feelings.

  • Posted by Donna

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