Bad Witch Burning by Jessica Lewis

Publisher’s Blurb:

Katrell doesn’t mind talking to the dead; she just wishes it made more money. Clients pay her to talk to their deceased loved ones, but it isn’t enough to support her unemployed mother and Mom’s deadbeat boyfriend-of-the-week. Things get worse, when a ghost warns her to stop the summonings or she’ll “burn everything down.” Katrell is willing to call them on their bluff, though. She has no choice. What do ghosts know about eating peanut butter for dinner?

However, when her next summoning accidentally raises someone from the dead, Katrell realizes that a live body is worth a lot more than a dead apparition. And, warning or not, she has no intention of letting this lucrative new business go.

But magic doesn’t come for free, and soon dark forces are closing in on Katrell. The further she goes, the more she risks the lives of not only herself, but those she loves. Katrell faces a choice: resign herself to poverty, or confront the darkness before it’s too late.

My Take:

Bad Witch Burning is a gripping tale that had me reading straight through. This is a novel of many things: coming-of-age, poverty, friendship, and rage. Katrell has grown up in a completely unstable house… Her mom is without a job and her mom’s boyfriend has a part-time job as Wendy’s, but all that money goes towards alcohol. Many months it is solely Katrell who is able to provide for the family. Rent. Food. Where doesn’t this money come from?

Katrell has the power to speak to the dead and people will pay big money to communicate with their dead grandmother or son or in the case of the local drug dealer, his daughter. Yet, even her mom and her abusive other half’s greed knows no bounds, and when the rent is paid, an extra couple hundred may help them take a trip or an investment, or any other means to lose the cash. And that puts Katrell in a really tough spot. She needs more money. An opportunity arises when her next summonings goes horrible wrong… and instead of getting a ghost to come back, a corpse crawls out of the ground…

This sets up a tight rope walk for our protagonist between her friend’s and counselor’s concern, her mother’s wrath, and her own failing health, a consequence of her dabbling in reanimation. Katrell is spinning… she needs to keep the money coming in, but things are getting worse…

This book! It has the thrills, the horror feels, and the emotions… I was caught up in this read from the first page. Pick up Bad Witch Burning for an awesome debut. Lewis’s writing pushed me in all sorts of ways. A great book!

5 out of 5 stars

Thank you to NetGalley, Delacorte Publishing, and the author for an advanced copy for review.

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