The Demon Notebook, by Erika McGann (Sourcebooks Jabberwocky, 2014). $6.99, ISBN: 9781402295386
Recommended for ages 10-14
Grace and her friends, Una, Jenny, Rachel, and Adie want to be witches – well, they want some wishes to come true, and figured magic would be the best way to make it happen. Their spells have failed, but when they use a Ouija board, something happens – the notebook where they wrote their spells has a strange message, all of their spells are coming true – and it’s not always great to get what you think you want – and Una is acting… strange. Worst of all, one of the spells is something awful, made while one of the girls was angry – the girls have to stop the magic before that last spell runs its course, AND figure out what’s wrong with Una and how to fix her. They’re going to need some help to face this.
This was a fun book with some genuinely creepy moments. It reminded me of a middle school version of the ’90s movie, The Craft – will any middle graders even know that movie if I mention it to them? I really enjoyed Mrs. Quinlan and Ms. Lemon, the two adult characters the author introduces into the story; it was gratifying to a) see the girls realize that they needed help and actually ask for it, and b) have two adults that weren’t completely incompetent or dismissive of the girls.
This book has a June 1 pub date, making it a perfect summer reading choice for tweens. Obviously, there’s magic and talk of demons, so for those audiences and parents that are sensitive to that subject matter, this isn’t your book. For anyone else who wants a good read about friendship and sticking together through thick and thin, with some good, old-fashioned creepiness, check this one out.