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THREE WITCHES by Paula Jolin

THREE WITCHES

By Paula Jolin

Age Range: 14 & up

Pub Date: Aug. 1st, 2009
ISBN: 978-1-59643-353-3
Publisher: Roaring Brook

Her debut novel, In the Name of God (2007), introduced Jolin as a writer of power and promise. However, this story of three girls obsessed with a classmate recently killed in a car accident never quite comes together. With a plot veering between dark fantasy and contemporary realism, the result feels like two novels stitched together, seams showing. Aliya was in love with Trevor, Gillian in business with him and Miya guilt-ridden over him. Drawing on traditional witchcraft from their respective cultures—Syrian Muslim, Afro-Trinidadian and Japanese—the girls try to restore Trevor to life. Each culture is vividly portrayed through the interactions of the girls at home and together, but Trevor, around whom the girls and the plot revolve, remains vague and unpersuasive. Why was he so compelling? If he was a callous manipulator, what does that say about these otherwise-strong girls who risk everything to bring him back? The author’s depiction of teens struggling with conflicting cultural expectations is riveting and convincing, but it needs more support than is provided by this novel’s flimsy premise. (Fiction. YA)