Tuesday, October 25, 2022

The Glass Witch

Puckett, Lindsay. The Glass Witch
October 18, 2022 by Scholastic Press
E ARC provided by Edelweiss Plus
Adelaide is angry that her mother has to go to Washington, D.C. for a new job for three months and is leaving her with her grandmother, Bee Goode, in Cranberry Hollow. She knows nothing about her father, and her mother has been estranged from her family because of a century's old curse. The Goode family survived the witch trials, but the curse states that if more than three Goode women are within the city limits at the same time, a Hunter will be released and come to get them. The Hern family is also still in town, and were responsible for many of the deaths. Even though she and her mother have some magic, Addie doesn't believe in the curse and purposefully drags her mother over the town line, setting the Hunter free. Luckily, Addie has already made a friend in town, Fatima, who has many interests and skills, and helps Addie come up with a plan. In order to keep her mother, grandmother, and aunt safe, Addie plans to enter the town beauty pageant and draw out the Hunter so he doesn't go after the others. This is somewhat uncomfortable because all of the Goode women are curvy, and Addie, while embracing this, still struggles against the societal pressure to be thin. Will Addie be able to keep her family safe, and perhaps even overturn the curse? 
Strengths: I enjoyed the historical connection to the witch trials and the depiction of descendants of survivors. Cranberry Hollow was a fun setting, and there were a lot of fun connections with cranberry usage; I guess I've never gotten over my love of the Devlin's 1971 Cranberry Thanksgiving, even though I never owned a copy and my only exposure was my first grade teacher reading it to the class! Addie is angry about her mother going off to work, but still cares deeply about her. Her friendship with Fatima is good to see, since often children who move to a new location are depicted as struggling to make friends, and the two girls work together well. There is some very creepy stuff in the chapters from the Hunter's perspective, but this is not so scary that elementary students couldn't handle it. 
Weaknesses: This alternated between a YA level of horror reminiscent of Jones' Need and a middle grade level of humor which was an odd mix. My students will love the horror bits but might balk at grandmother's "Operation Bunny Bunker" and Addie's candy themed costume for the pageant. 
What I really think: This is an excellent choice for fans of Van Otterloo's Cattywampus and is a fun Halloween read. I found myself hoping this would be a much darker story because horror books have been flying off my shelves this year. 

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