Improbable magic of cynical witches

Kate Scelsa

Book - 2022

"Seventeen-year-old Eleanor is the last person in Salem to believe in witchcraft-or think that her life could be transformed by mysterious forces. After losing her best friend and first love, Chloe, Eleanor has spent the past year in a haze, vowing to stay away from anything resembling romance. But when a handwritten guide to tarot arrives in the mail at the witchy souvenir store where Eleanor works, it seems to bring with it the message that magic is about to enter her life. Cynical Elean...or is quick to dismiss this promise, until real-life witch Pix shows up with an unusual invitation. Inspired by the magic and mystery of the tarot, Eleanor decides to open herself up to Pix and her coven of witches, and even to the possibility of a new romance. But Eleanor's complicated history continues to haunt her. She will have to reckon with the old ghosts that threaten to destroy everything, even her chance at new love."--Front jacket flap.

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Subjects
Genres
Young adult fiction
Fantasy fiction
Witch fiction
Lesbian fiction
Romance fiction
Novels
Published
New York, NY : Balzer + Bray, an imprint of HarperCollins Publishers [2022]
Edition
First edition
Language
English
Physical Description
306 pages : illustrations ; 22 cm
Audience
000-015.
ISBN
9780062465030
0062465031
Main Author
Kate Scelsa (author)
Review by Booklist Reviews

Eleanor Anderson used to have it all: a best friend she was in love with, good grades, and social status at Salem High School. Now she has dropped out, taken a job at the tacky Salem Gift Emporium witch store, and started smoking weed to get through each day. And as she travels through the year, falling for new witch friend Pix, she's also reliving her failed relationship with her ex–best friend Chloe. There's more to that story than just a bad breakup, though, and as the details unravel, so does Eleanor. But things with Pix will be different: they're in love, and Eleanor doesn't have to have nonstop anxiety about their relationship. But when Pix finds out the truth about Chloe, will she still love Eleanor? More important, will she ever forgive her? Cleverly arranged as a journey through the Major Arcana of a tarot deck, this is a solid story with a queer romance and a witchy flourish. Grades 10-12. Copyright 2022 Booklist Reviews.

Review by Publishers Weekly Reviews

Following a disastrous falling-out with her girlfriend Chloe, which left her a social outcast, 17-year-old Eleanor Anderson—"easily the least witchy person" in Salem, Mass.—busies herself with taking care of her mother, who lives with Lyme disease; working at a family friend's kitschy witch-themed gift shop; and smoking weed to help manage her anxiety. Then she meets Pixie, who invites Eleanor to join a coven seeking to "save the soul of this town." Despite initial reservations, cynical Eleanor accepts, and soon starts dating more exuberant, open-minded Pix, as interstitials taken from a mysterious book sent to Eleanor reflect the story's progression and explain the tarot's major arcana. Employing a tongue-in-cheek first-person narrative and using flashbacks to shed light on Eleanor's complicated previous relationship, Scelsa (Fans of the Impossible Life) explores public opinion and self-perception alongside themes of forgiveness, relational toxicity, and commercialism. Symbolic magic lends an underlying sense of enchantment as Eleanor opens herself up to new ideas and possibilities, and a sweet, gentle central chemistry sells the central romance. Across the largely queer cast, protagonists are white; secondary characters are portrayed as racially diverse. Ages 13–up. Agent: Brianne Johnson, HG Literary. (May) Copyright 2022 Publishers Weekly.

Review by School Library Journal Reviews

Gr 8 Up—Seventeen-year-old Eleanor is the biggest skeptic in Salem, MA. She hates Halloween. A calamitous, tumultuous year has left her isolated and anxious, self-medicating with marijuana and with a complete lack of a social life. So when a mysterious, handmade Tarot guide arrives at the kitschy tourist store where she works to help support herself and her ailing mother, Eleanor finds something new to pour herself into. And when Tarot is soon followed by two honest-to-goddess witches—one of whom, Pix, she feels an instant attraction to—Eleanor wonders if it's actually possible to start over. But in Salem, everyone has secrets, and the two teenagers struggle to keep their fledgling relationship alive through Eleanor's past, and Pix's best intentions in this charming, heartrending LGBTQIA+ YA. Neatly laid foreshadowing makes an important but unexpected reveal all the more emotional, and the pay-off all the better as the narrative straddles the border between realism and the fantastic. The book features a white main character and love interest, with Black and Asian American characters in the secondary cast. VERDICT This title is an excellent purchase for teen collections.—Chrystopher Lytal Copyright 2022 School Library Journal.

Review by Publisher Summary 1

An atmospheric and romantic coming-of-age story about learning to make peace with the past in order to accept the beauty of the present finds 17-year-old Eleanor opening herself up to magic and romance again after a devastating loss. 40,000 first printing. Simultaneous eBook.

Review by Publisher Summary 2

"An atmospheric and romantic coming-of-age story about learning to make peace with the past in order to accept the beauty of the present finds seventeen-year-old Eleanor opening herself up to magic and romance again after a devastating loss"--

Review by Publisher Summary 3

A witchy, atmospheric lesbian contemporary romance set in Salem—from the acclaimed author of Fans of the Impossible Life. Perfect for fans of Nina LaCour and Becky Albertalli.Seventeen-year-old Eleanor is the last person in Salem to believe in witchcraft—or think that her life could be transformed by mysterious forces. After losing her best friend and first love, Chloe, Eleanor has spent the past year in a haze, vowing to stay away from anything resembling romance.But when a handwritten guide to tarot arrives in the mail at the witchy souvenir store where Eleanor works, it seems to bring with it the message that magic is about to enter her life. Cynical Eleanor is quick to dismiss this promise, until real-life witch Pix shows up with an unusual invitation. Inspired by the magic and mystery of the tarot, Eleanor decides to open herself up to Pix and her coven of witches, and even to the possibility of a new romance.But Eleanor’s complicated history continues to haunt her. She will have to reckon with the old ghosts that threaten to destroy everything, even her chance at new love.Improbable Magic for Cynical Witches is a romantic coming-of-age about learning to make peace with the past in order to accept the beauty of the present.