Blood and water prove equally strong for a troubled teen dealing with small-town secrets.
In the year since her adoptive father died, high school junior Tori Burns stopped swimming and started cutting. Evicted from their D.C. apartment but unexpectedly gifted an old house, Tori, her brother, Kyle, and their beleaguered mother relocate to rural Chaptico, Maryland. Fulfilling the magical-mental-illness trope, Tori’s self-harm triggers a paranormal adventure, resurrecting Nathaniel Bishop, an 18th-century indentured servant, and transferring the memories of alleged witch—and Nathaniel’s unrequited love—Emmeline to Tori. United by scars and a grudge against the sinister Slaughter family, Tori and Nathaniel race to solve a modern murder and prove Tori’s heritage. While protagonists Tori, Nathaniel, and Emmeline are all white, Emmeline’s interracial, same-sex relationship is admirably (if perhaps anachronistically) progressive, yet her black romantic partner receives cursory attention, as do Tori’s token fellow outsiders—a Jewish girl and a gay guy friend. Cosimano addresses big issues—self-harm, adoption, grief, racism, rape—but also attempts to meld these matters with a supernatural thriller about the Colonial South, making Tori’s genealogical research as riveting as Emmeline’s witchcraft.
A dark mixture of mystery, history, romance, and fantasy. (Paranormal romance. 14-adult)