- Jessica Lewis
- YA Debut; 2nd Published book
- Genre: YA Contemporary Fantasy
- Background: Black
- Twitter: @jlew100; www.authorjessicalewis.com
- Release: 08/24/2021 (Go ahead and pick it up but be prepared not to put it down!)
- Publisher: Delacorte Press
- Favorite Character: Will! She is the epitome of a best friend. She struck an amazing balance between supportive and real with Katrell…I adored that about her. I also really loved Conrad, her dog!
- Favorite Quote(s): “Thought you were a witch? What, you get rained on or something?”-Justin, I thought this was funny as hell. “It’s almost over, Katrell. You can stay strong or break. There is no in between anymore. But for me, I am weary.”-Two. I felt this in my Spirit! Its so rare for people to point out the options so plainly however, knowing that “strong” could have many different forms is important information to have.
Hey everyone! Two weeks ago, I posted about two books that triggered some serious therapy sessions complete with tons of crying, which you can read here. Bad Witch Burning was one of the two books and as I was writing, I knew that I needed to write an entire post about this book. This book is one that I had been anticipating since I saw the announcement for it and was too happy that I had been approved for it on Netgalley. When I began reading it, I didn’t want to put my amazon fire down and ended up finishing it the same day! It’s a book that takes you in its hands and doesn’t let you go until the very end…and even when you finish it, you can’t help but think about it for days (I kid you not on this…just read it and tell me where the lie is).
BWB is filled with so many twists and turns…ones that may or may not have produced very violent responses from me. When I tell you the notes in my E-ARC were a lot…they were A LOT because the things that were both said and done had evoked such intense feelings from me. I wasn’t kidding my in post about Literary Angry Girls when I said I’ve been angry so much of my life and this book brought out so many of these feelings! Quite a few (okay, more than a few) of these angry feelings were actually aimed at Katrell’s mama and her sorry a$$ (to put it incredibly light) boyfriend. I can’t imagine anyone reading this book and being like “noooo, I didn’t want to kick their behinds into the ground until there was nothing left…they were fiiiiiiiineeeeee” (insert *eye roll* here). If I were to ever meet someone who has that sentiment, I will ask them when they will be applying for sainthood cause it couldn’t be me! I won’t be talking much about this though because I covered some of what triggered me in that previously mentioned blog post (and maybe because I don’t want to get triggered again either, lol).
On top of the twists and turns, there are so many lessons folded into this book. One of the biggest ones being that no one should have to shoulder other people’s burdens, especially a child/teen. Katrell carried not just her own weight & that of her dog but her mother AND her mooching a$$ boyfriend (again, that’s light). Instead of being able to be a teen and enjoy as much of her youth as she could, she worked like a single parent of three while putting themselves through school. Thinking about it, it makes me angry all over again because no teen should be supporting a parent & their tired a$$ partner (still being light on this)…I quite literally have notes saying “WHY ARE YOU LEANING SO HARD ON A TEEN?!” *shakes head & pinches the bridge of my nose*. Let me move on before I start to go off the deep end about this particular part of the book.
Wait… I found another gif that I felt was needed when it comes to Katrell’s mama that I really want to include….
Wait, one more but this is how I felt toward both Katrell’s mama and her scrub a$$ boyfriend (again, very very light when it comes to him)
Back to the post! Another lesson that so many of us need reminder of is knowing how to ask for help and who to ask for that help. One of things that I loved about her best friend, Will, is that she constantly voiced to Katrell how she was there for her and she could lean on her when she needs to. Katrell is like so many of us that doesn’t like to even be in the vicinity of another person when help is really needed, let alone be willing to lean on another *cue the song Lean On Me here*. She constantly saw herself as alone, like many of us, but often had hands extended to her that she refused to see. It hurt my heart when someone would offer help and she ignored it because its such a bad habit many of us have… Really, Katrell is a lot of us in this respect and I would love to see teens doing better than us & develop healthier habits *sigh*. Real talk, they deserve so much more than what they’ve been handed.
This book is such an important book and as jarring as it could be at times, it is completely necessary. As much as we would love to think that there are no teens that are dealing with the situations that Katrell deals with (outside of low-key starting an undead apocalypse, which you need to read to understand this side thought more), the reality is that there are likely more dealing with these sort of circumstances than we know because we are either not paying attention or they are hiding it really well. Kids are forced to grow up so much faster than they should ever have to and this has been happening longer than it ever should’ve been. Author J.Elle talks a little about this in her IG live reading of the first chapter, which you can watch here. I barely touched how it covers difficulties created by the wealth gap in this country, domestic violence, emotional abuse, PTSD and so many other things that plague this country, especially in communities of color. Just go and read this book then help put it in the hands of kids you know and into classrooms & libraries.
There is so much more that I want to say about Bad Witch Burning but there isn’t enough time in the day for me to write about it and I really don’t want to spoil it for anyone! Just know that this book left me in an ocean of my own tears and then scorched me to the point of being a pile of ashes on my couch…matter of fact, I’m writing this from the great beyond and Katrell wrote a letter to bring me back to write this post, lol! No, but on a serious tip (OMG, did my age just show with that), make sure you have a box of tissues near by and possibly a punching bag or pillow to hit or scream into because you will feel so many damn things, it won’t even be funny…and you won’t have much time to recover because it all hits you before you even know what to do with yourself! Think I’m joking? Just read the book.
Anyway y’all, I’m going to leave you all here so you can either pick up this book from your favorite bookstore or request it from your local library (that also supports the author, don’t ever forget that). If you all want to continue this bookish banter, you can find & follow me out in these e-skreets on Instagram @bookishgirlmagic, Twitter @bookishgrlmagic and Clubhouse @bookishgrlmagic where you can typically find me in book centered clubs/rooms (also subscribe to this blog pretty pretty pleaseeeeeee). As usual, I’m sending you tons of bookish love & wishing you happy reading! And I’m Out (for now *wink*)!