Magic is found through personal growth and accepting love in this enchanting tale.

The “least witchy person in Salem” finds herself in the unlikely position of joining a coven and pursuing a new romance.

Nearly a year ago, Eleanor lost Chloe, the girl she loved, and became a pariah. Now, she spends her time working at the Salem Gift Emporium and numbing her emotions by smoking pot. The day Eleanor meets a cute girl called Pixie, a unique package arrives at the shop with a handmade tarot guide. The Fool card, which opens the book, signifies a new beginning; Eleanor’s story continues along the path of the major arcana, with conversational explanations of the cards between chapters. The narrative smoothly shifts between Eleanor’s blossoming romance with Pix and, through flashbacks, a gradual reveal of Eleanor’s toxic relationship with Chloe. Pix is part of a coven, and together the witches participate in ceremonial activities and pagan celebrations (the story stays firmly rooted in realism). Scelsa’s sophomore novel excels at portraying realistic teens who have big emotions and sometimes make frustrating choices. It doesn’t shy away from the cruelty some are capable of, but the overall tone is hopeful. Supportive relationships are showcased, such as Eleanor’s with her mom, who has chronic pain from Lyme disease. The Salem setting is richly depicted, and the story thoughtfully grapples with consumer culture. Eleanor, Chloe, and Pix are White; secondary characters are racially diverse.

Magic is found through personal growth and accepting love in this enchanting tale. (Fiction. 14-18)

Pub Date: May 31, 2022

ISBN: 978-0-06-246503-0

Page Count: 320

Publisher: Balzer + Bray/HarperCollins

Review Posted Online: March 1, 2022

Kirkus Reviews Issue: March 15, 2022


There’s not much plot here, but readers will relish the opportunity to climb inside Autumn’s head.

The finely drawn characters capture readers’ attention in this debut.

Autumn and Phineas, nicknamed Finny, were born a week apart; their mothers are still best friends. Growing up, Autumn and Finny were like peas in a pod despite their differences: Autumn is “quirky and odd,” while Finny is “sweet and shy and everyone like[s] him.” But in eighth grade, Autumn and Finny stop being friends due to an unexpected kiss. They drift apart and find new friends, but their friendship keeps asserting itself at parties, shared holiday gatherings and random encounters. In the summer after graduation, Autumn and Finny reconnect and are finally ready to be more than friends. But on August 8, everything changes, and Autumn has to rely on all her strength to move on. Autumn’s coming-of-age is sensitively chronicled, with a wide range of experiences and events shaping her character. Even secondary characters are well-rounded, with their own histories and motivations.

There’s not much plot here, but readers will relish the opportunity to climb inside Autumn’s head.   (Fiction. 14 & up)

Pub Date: April 1, 2013

ISBN: 978-1-4022-7782-5

Page Count: 336

Publisher: Sourcebooks Fire

Review Posted Online: Feb. 12, 2013

Kirkus Reviews Issue: March 1, 2013


An ode to the children of migrants who have been taken away.

A Mexican American boy takes on heavy responsibilities when his family is torn apart.

Mateo’s life is turned upside down the day U.S. Immigration and Customs Enforcement agents show up unsuccessfully seeking his Pa at his New York City bodega. The Garcias live in fear until the day both parents are picked up; his Pa is taken to jail and his Ma to a detention center. The adults around Mateo offer support to him and his 7-year-old sister, Sophie, however, he knows he is now responsible for caring for her and the bodega as well as trying to survive junior year—that is, if he wants to fulfill his dream to enter the drama program at the Tisch School of the Arts and become an actor. Mateo’s relationships with his friends Kimmie and Adam (a potential love interest) also suffer repercussions as he keeps his situation a secret. Kimmie is half Korean (her other half is unspecified) and Adam is Italian American; Mateo feels disconnected from them, less American, and with worries they can’t understand. He talks himself out of choosing a safer course of action, a decision that deepens the story. Mateo’s self-awareness and inner monologue at times make him seem older than 16, and, with significant turmoil in the main plot, some side elements feel underdeveloped. Aleman’s narrative joins the ranks of heart-wrenching stories of migrant families who have been separated.

An ode to the children of migrants who have been taken away. (Fiction. 14-18)

Pub Date: May 4, 2021

ISBN: 978-0-7595-5605-8

Page Count: 400

Publisher: Little, Brown

Review Posted Online: Feb. 22, 2021

Kirkus Reviews Issue: March 15, 2021

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