A teenager, still honing her recently discovered magical abilities, must help 11 witches in this third installment of a YA mystery series.
It hasn’t been long since Josie Jameson learned her dead mother was a powerful stone witch. Inside Josie’s heart is the Agatha Stone that her mom once carried and that contains pieces of 11 other stones. In various parts of the world reside 11 witches, like Josie, who carry stones that may have, over time, become corrupted. Josie has the unfortunate assignment of cleansing these stones, as she’s evidently the only one with the ability to do so. It turns out there’s a link between the witches, so she may be able to help the women without traversing the globe. But the downside is that some are dark witches who, via magic, threaten Josie or her friends and family, such as her little brother, Owen. As she can barely control her magic, Josie doesn’t think she can handle the stone cleansings alone. But her sometimes-frightening encounters with stone witches scare off a few of her pals. And as someone Josie knows winds up dead from an apparent murder, locating all 11 witches is a potentially fatal undertaking. Hotes’ (Stone Heart, 2015, etc.) latest installment is a laudable fusion of teenage melodrama and the supernatural. Josie hasn’t fully grasped her powers, which also include a healing capability. But she likewise faces more familiar teen tribulations. Her childhood friend Casey has seemingly abandoned her for the popular crowd. In addition to confronting menaces (evil witches and possibly more), the dauntless protagonist unravels a bit of mystery: something from her mother’s past. Crisp prose throughout Josie’s first-person narrative aids in creating believable characters: “I’m flooded with salted caramel feelings, not mad exactly and not entirely happy. Very sticky.” Despite a definitive conclusion, the book’s open ending teases further adventures with Josie.
An exemplary tale that boasts a plucky heroine, paranormal dangers, and adolescent hardships.