Mandy is a quiet teenager who just wants to blend in with the crowd rather than stand out as anything or anybody. Mandy’s pretty successful at this until her parents decide it’s time to move from Boston to the quiet seaside town of York Beach, Maine, to “be closer to Nana”. Although Mandy has been vacationing in York every summer since she was a child, she has no desire to live there and is worried about fitting in and finding friends during her senior year of high school.
Nana owns a flower shop in town and while working alongside her, Mandy makes a few friends and observes the oddities of the little town and its inhabitants. When she finds some old and cryptic correspondance hidden inside an antique trunk handed down from her Nana, the “oddities” turn into full fledged mysteries. As she unravels the forgotten and hidden history of the town, she simultaneously unravels her own family’s past and current secrets while writing her future. With bits of romance and paranormal along the way, she is able to figure out the puzzle of the correspondance, the magic she never realized was surrounding her, and visions of the past and future. Will she walk away from her personal history and her future or will she realize it’s ok to be somebody, even if that somebody is nothing like everybody else?
This story was a nice change of pace for. I haven’t read any outright witchcraft stories in awhile. I liked the premise of the story. It’s an interesting idea that Wells came up with.
That said, I did have a couple issues with the story. This book suffered from a classic case of “show, don’t tell.” Mostly at the beginning, it starts slow because how much is told to the reader rather than shown. As the story goes on, things get better, but the pacing of the story is rushed. Because it’s rushed, there were some parts that felt forced. For example, Mandy’s mad dash to learn about the truth of the witchcraft, to her firm insistence that it can’t possibly be real and is something she wants nothing to do with, changes abruptly to her not only accepting her “gifts but also fervently wanting to learn about her fate/heritage. It didn’t flow convincingly for me.
The choice for setting is nice. I enjoyed how it was set it the northeast, in this place that sounds like a cute vacation spot. The descriptions Wells gave for it made me jealous of Mandy for being able to live there.
There is a lot of potential in Wells’ writing. I look forward to seeing her improvement and future books.
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