Sunday, August 24, 2014

House of Ivy and Sorrow by Natalie Whipple

Josephine "Jo" Hemlock lives with her grandmother. People say that a witch lives in their house. Actually, two witches live there. Grandma has been taking care of Jo since her mother died from a curse. They are the last of the Hemlock witches, but still one of the major families.

Jo tries to keep her normal life separate from her magical one. Her two best friends, plus her potential new boyfriend, don't know anything about her witchy side. Things get complicated when the strange man shows up.

He is looking for Jo, but she avoids him. She can see that he has a very dark curse attached to him. The man is very persistent to get close to her. She finds out that this man is...her father.

Background info! Witches are all female, and women are the only ones who have magic. They need men to make new babies, but they end up leaving the fathers. Upholding the family line is more important than personal relationships.

Surprisingly, Grandma lets Jo's father into their lives (After getting rid of the curse). She also lets Jo tell one of her best friends about their witchiness. Unfortunately, the reason that she is being so lenient is because Grandma has the curse. She is dying, and it's super sad. Jo and her witch relatives (Including her adorable cousin) have to band together to try to destroy the curse before it destroys them.

This was a cool take on witchcraft. When the witches performed a spell, they had to offer something to get magic. The bigger the magic was, the bigger the sacrifice needed. They would need to offer hairs, fingernails, sense of taste, etc. I read a review of this book that mentioned how Teen books featuring witches are meant to counter against so many books that focus on weak female characters being saved by strong male vampires/werewolves/etc. This is definitely a good thing. I hope we see a lot more strong female characters, whether they are witches or not.

I received my copy of House of Ivy and Sorrow from Edelweiss, courtesy of HarperTeen. It's available for purchase now.