[A quick note: I got this copy in my Bookish Box subscription. It’s such a pretty copy. It took me a year to get to it, and just in time for the second book to come out, which is now released. I’ve got a photo of the alternative cover in the inside dust jacket down below]
“𝐈 𝐭𝐡𝐢𝐧𝐤 𝐩𝐞𝐫𝐡𝐚𝐩𝐬 𝐭𝐡𝐢𝐬 𝐢𝐬 𝐡𝐨𝐰 𝐰𝐞 𝐬𝐮𝐫𝐯𝐢𝐯𝐞 𝐢𝐧 𝐭𝐡𝐞 𝐰𝐨𝐫𝐥𝐝. 𝐏𝐚𝐬𝐬𝐢𝐧𝐠 𝐥𝐢𝐭𝐭𝐥𝐞 𝐛𝐢𝐭𝐬 𝐨𝐟 𝐨𝐮𝐫 𝐦𝐚𝐠𝐢𝐜 𝐛𝐚𝐜𝐤 𝐚𝐧𝐝 𝐟𝐨𝐫𝐭𝐡 𝐭𝐨 𝐞𝐚𝐜𝐡 𝐨𝐭𝐡𝐞𝐫 𝐰𝐡𝐞𝐧 𝐭𝐡𝐞 𝐰𝐨𝐫𝐥𝐝 𝐭𝐚𝐤𝐞𝐬 𝐢𝐭 𝐟𝐫𝐨𝐦 𝐮𝐬. 𝐈𝐭'𝐬 𝐬𝐮𝐫𝐯𝐢𝐯𝐚𝐥. 𝐈𝐭'𝐬 𝐥𝐨𝐯𝐞. 𝐈𝐭'𝐬 𝐟𝐚𝐦𝐢𝐥𝐲.” —Sasha Peyton Smith
It’s 1911 in New York City. A battle between witches and wizards is brewing. When a disastrous encounter unlocks her magic, Frances Hallowell is thrust into the middle of it. It’s time to hang up her sewing sheers and step into the magic she was destined to wield.
This atmospheric read will transport you. The heavy dark academia vibes, friendship, magic, and romance will keep you reading late into the night. The character growth is multi faceted. It touches on many deep emotional themes like betrayal, death, and love. While it is very much YA, its the kind of YA that can be enjoyed by all ages.
I loved the storyline. When Frances is swept away to a secret magical academy in New York City, she begins to question the motives behind the magic she’s learning. Haxahaven wants its witches to be demure, to blend in and hide what they are. Frances finds this problematic because real truth is something darker. No one should have to hide their true self. No one should be punished for being themselves.
“𝐈𝐟 𝐈 𝐰𝐞𝐫𝐞 𝐚 𝐦𝐨𝐧𝐭𝐡, 𝐈 𝐭𝐡𝐢𝐧𝐤 𝐈'𝐝 𝐛𝐞 𝐍𝐨𝐯𝐞𝐦𝐛𝐞𝐫, 𝐬𝐚𝐝 𝐚𝐧𝐝 𝐜𝐨𝐥𝐝 𝐚𝐧𝐝 𝐮𝐧𝐫𝐞𝐦𝐚𝐫𝐤𝐚𝐛𝐥𝐞, 𝐥𝐚𝐜𝐤𝐢𝐧𝐠 𝐭𝐡𝐞 𝐜𝐨𝐦𝐦𝐢𝐭𝐦𝐞𝐧𝐭 𝐫𝐞𝐪𝐮𝐢𝐫𝐞𝐝 𝐨𝐟 𝐛𝐞𝐢𝐧𝐠 𝐚 𝐟𝐢𝐞𝐫𝐜𝐞 𝐭𝐡𝐢𝐧𝐠 𝐥𝐢𝐤𝐞 𝐉𝐚𝐧𝐮𝐚𝐫𝐲.” —Sasha Peyton Smith
The ending sequence was my favorite part of the book. While there were some predictable aspects, the way things played out was completely unexpected. I ended up bumping this up half a star for that alone. I love it when an ending propels the story to another level, allowing a book to finish strong.
Another thing I loved about the story was the villain. I really appreciate when we get deep insight into the making of a villain. The villain in this story has a bit of a “reverse arc,” so we see them become what they are. Not only that, but this villain is so believable. They have both good and bad—well, mostly bad. But there are some facets of this villain that make them relatable and human. This one was deftly crafted, and though I had my budding suspicions early on, it didn’t take away from the surprise of how things ended.
For a YA, this has a more mature feel to it, simply because of the darker themes it confronts, the questions it elicits, and the emotions it creates. It was the perfect autumn, witchy read and I will definitely be reading the second book.
𝐌𝐘 𝐑𝐀𝐓𝐈𝐍𝐆: 𝟒.𝟓⭐️