The Price Guide to the Occult by Leslye Walton
Published by: Candlewick Press on March 13th, 2018
Genre: Fiction, YA, Paranormal, Witches
Summary (from Goodreads): From the author of The Strange and Beautiful Sorrows of Ava Lavender comes a haunting maelstrom of magic and murder in the lush, moody Pacific Northwest.
When Rona Blackburn landed on Anathema Island more than a century ago, her otherworldly skills might have benefited friendlier neighbors. Guilt and fear instead led the island’s original eight settlers to burn “the witch” out of her home. So Rona cursed them. Fast-forward one hundred–some years: All Nor Blackburn wants is to live an unremarkable teenage life. She has reason to hope: First, her supernatural powers, if they can be called that, are unexceptional. Second, her love life is nonexistent, which means she might escape the other perverse side effect of the matriarch’s backfiring curse, too. But then a mysterious book comes out, promising to cast any spell for the right price. Nor senses a storm coming and is pretty sure she’ll be smack in the eye of it. In her second novel, Leslye Walton spins a dark, mesmerizing tale of a girl stumbling along the path toward self-acceptance and first love, even as the Price Guide’s malevolent author — Nor’s own mother — looms and threatens to strangle any hope for happiness.
Review: I was watching a YouTuber going through the aisles of Chapters and pull out this book. It’s by the same author that did the Ava Lavender book and the name had sold me. I went out to the mall shortly after watching and had to pick it up. It’s a short novel coming in at 288 pages and with that I feel like so much potential could have been added if it was a lot longer.
The set up of the story was very interesting. How the Blackburn family came to live on the island and how it all began with Rona. I was hoping that a lot more of the past story would have intertwined with the present but it barely did. The main character Nor was a little flat for me. I felt no connection to her or felt how she connected to the other secondary characters. There was a love interest and that felt pretty forced. There was a lot of mention of self-harm in the novel and it wasn’t until the end that I realized that maybe that was the whole point of this novel. How Nor comes to terms with self-harm and overcomes the feelings that arise from it. The history of the witches, the island and the occult were just poorly used plot devices.
Overall, I didn’t hate this book I did enjoy the read. If you’re looking for a quick read (literally read it in under 24 hours) I would recommend giving this a go to get you out of a reading slump or add on to your book count in a readathon.
**Trigger Warning – Self-harm**