Seventeen-year-old April’s relocation to her aunt’s house in New Orleans following her father’s unexpected death introduces her to new love, old secrets, and black magic.
Even though the distance from Montgomery, Alabama, to New Orleans is short, the white teen quickly finds that the two cities are worlds apart. On a whim, April joins a haunted tour of the city on which she meets Miles, a charismatic and handsome white guide. She also meets Marguerite, the mysterious, black owner of a voodoo shop, who offers to spiritually cleanse her. April’s interest in the dark world only intensifies when she finds that she is descended from the famous voodoo high priestess Marie Laveau. After accompanying Miles into the 9th Ward, which is still recovering from Hurricane Katrina, April gains some perspective on her own loss. Her grief is understandable, but her continual reckless behavior endangers everyone around her and frustrates readers. Her aunt’s selfish absence, which alternates with extreme anger, feels false. Poorly paced dialogue gives the narrative a frantic quality. The beguiling and layered setting, filled with both African-American and white characters, is overwhelmed by a lack of nuance and poor storytelling.
Chaotic characters, a disjointed plot, and a romance that falls flat. (Mystery. 12-16)