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Bad Witch Burning

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For fans of Us and The Chilling Adventures of Sabrina comes a witchy story full of black girl magic as one girl’s dark ability to summon the dead offers her a chance at a new life, while revealing to her an even darker future. 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 enou For fans of Us and The Chilling Adventures of Sabrina comes a witchy story full of black girl magic as one girl’s dark ability to summon the dead offers her a chance at a new life, while revealing to her an even darker future. 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.


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For fans of Us and The Chilling Adventures of Sabrina comes a witchy story full of black girl magic as one girl’s dark ability to summon the dead offers her a chance at a new life, while revealing to her an even darker future. 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 enou For fans of Us and The Chilling Adventures of Sabrina comes a witchy story full of black girl magic as one girl’s dark ability to summon the dead offers her a chance at a new life, while revealing to her an even darker future. 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.

30 review for Bad Witch Burning

  1. 5 out of 5

    Victoria Schwab

    Practical Magic + Black Girl Magic. This was a taut, powerful novel. I couldn't put it down. Practical Magic + Black Girl Magic. This was a taut, powerful novel. I couldn't put it down.

  2. 4 out of 5

    Montzalee Wittmann

    Bad Witch Burning by Jessica Lewis This was a sad, depressing, exciting, hopeful, scary, and unique read! It was all those things and wonderful at the same time! It's about a gal that is abused and neglected by her mother and whoever her mother had as a boyfriend at the time. The 16 year old was always making excuses for her mom and blaming herself or the men. She also has a gift that her mom exploits. She can bring back a ghost of someone's family, friend, or lover and she charges a small price. Bad Witch Burning by Jessica Lewis This was a sad, depressing, exciting, hopeful, scary, and unique read! It was all those things and wonderful at the same time! It's about a gal that is abused and neglected by her mother and whoever her mother had as a boyfriend at the time. The 16 year old was always making excuses for her mom and blaming herself or the men. She also has a gift that her mom exploits. She can bring back a ghost of someone's family, friend, or lover and she charges a small price. It physically hurts her so she can't hold the connection long. While doing one of these routine summoning, the ghost speaks to her! This has never happened. The spirit warns her never to call forth anyone again. They will come for her. Since the girl is the only one supporting the home of her, the mom, and the low life guy, she feels she has to work. Things come to a head when the abusive guy beats her and things get out of hand. Later she is in so much grief, she used her power again but it didn't bring back just a spirit but the whole body! Now she thinks it's a good idea to make money from resurrections! Things were bad before but now it gets a lot worse! It's a story about how desperate people try to get out of a bad situation only to find themselves in a worse one. Fortunately, this gal has a great friend, loyal dog, great counselor at school, and good neighbor. But she remains too loyal to her mom because she believes she has to be and won't seek help. I think a lot of us can relate to feeling left out, no where to turn, too loyal to those unworthy. We might find an unhealthy way to escape if given an option. I enjoyed the fantasy aspect of it and it had plenty of suspense. I did get frustrated with the gal for always backing her worthless mom! But she was just 16! It's hard enough at that age and she's poor, abused, and scared to lose her only family. I want to thank the publisher and NetGalley for letting me read this intriguing book!

  3. 5 out of 5

    laurel [the suspected bibliophile]

    Five snot-filled, heaving, gasping, weeping tears from my own fucking eyes stars. There is just so much emotion in this book, and it's so fucking good and sad and how many words can I use to describe this indescribable book? I knew I was going to be in for a ride when reading the author's note, but the way Lewis works words and twists emotions is just breathtakingly awe-inspiring. This is a fucking must-read, but please pay attention to those trigger warnings. Trigger Warning: violent death of an Five snot-filled, heaving, gasping, weeping tears from my own fucking eyes stars. There is just so much emotion in this book, and it's so fucking good and sad and how many words can I use to describe this indescribable book? I knew I was going to be in for a ride when reading the author's note, but the way Lewis works words and twists emotions is just breathtakingly awe-inspiring. This is a fucking must-read, but please pay attention to those trigger warnings. Trigger Warning: violent death of an animal, domestic violence, emotional abuse, physical abuse I received this ARC from NetGalley for an honest review

  4. 4 out of 5

    Circe Moskowitz

    YOU DO NOT WANT TO MISS THIS BOOK.

  5. 5 out of 5

    J. Elle

    This is one of the best books I’ve ever read. The main characters voice pulled me right in and immediately captivated me. I don’t want to give a lot away but this is a book you devour in one sitting. The author has painted a vivid character with stakes you can really relate to. And the way she weaves in such suspense, it’s impossible to put down. All those things considered and the nuanced commentary in this masterpiece, I am absolutely sure this piece is going to make so many kids feel seen. A This is one of the best books I’ve ever read. The main characters voice pulled me right in and immediately captivated me. I don’t want to give a lot away but this is a book you devour in one sitting. The author has painted a vivid character with stakes you can really relate to. And the way she weaves in such suspense, it’s impossible to put down. All those things considered and the nuanced commentary in this masterpiece, I am absolutely sure this piece is going to make so many kids feel seen. A forever STAN, J.Elle

  6. 4 out of 5

    Fanna

    June 23, 2020: I mean, how do you not expect me to be excited for a teen witch raising the dead for some cash?

  7. 4 out of 5

    Emily

    Bad Witch Burning fucked me up. I don't even know what to say about it. For whatever reason, I thought this was going to be a fun fantasy story, but it's kind of the opposite (and ended up being one of my favorite books this year). Bad Witch Burning is grim, disturbing, and haunting. I would personally classify it as horror. Jessica Lewis is a great writer, and this is an impressive debut. I stayed up late reading it, and was a complete mess at the end. I think this might be the book that made m Bad Witch Burning fucked me up. I don't even know what to say about it. For whatever reason, I thought this was going to be a fun fantasy story, but it's kind of the opposite (and ended up being one of my favorite books this year). Bad Witch Burning is grim, disturbing, and haunting. I would personally classify it as horror. Jessica Lewis is a great writer, and this is an impressive debut. I stayed up late reading it, and was a complete mess at the end. I think this might be the book that made me cry the most this year so far. This is a really painful read, so please check out the content notes below if you need to. I'll definitely be checking out whatever Jessica Lewis does next! Content notes - domestic abuse, graphic murder of a pet (I didn't read this part, but other reviews have said graphic, so I included it), poverty, parental neglect, suicidal ideation

  8. 5 out of 5

    Rebecca Schaeffer

    This was everything I hoped for from a book about a girl raising the dead for cash, and I absolutely loved it.

  9. 5 out of 5

    Ms. Woc Reader

    This book wasn't at all what I expected when I picked it up. There was a lot of physical and emotional as well as flat out violence and harmful thoughts. And though some parts were tough too read I was very engaged once this story started to take off. Katrell is a teen living in the hood and working 30 hours a week to provide for her household. Her mother is currently unemployed and heavily leaning on her to be the provider. On top of that her mother has Gerald, one of many in a string of horribl This book wasn't at all what I expected when I picked it up. There was a lot of physical and emotional as well as flat out violence and harmful thoughts. And though some parts were tough too read I was very engaged once this story started to take off. Katrell is a teen living in the hood and working 30 hours a week to provide for her household. Her mother is currently unemployed and heavily leaning on her to be the provider. On top of that her mother has Gerald, one of many in a string of horrible boyfriends in the picture. She has her sole friend Will who is there for her when life gets to be too much to bear. Will is a former foster child who has been through many of the same things. Katrell has a special gift. She's not sure where it originated from but she has the ability to talk to ghosts. She writes these letters that let people communicate for their dead loved ones and that's how she makes extra money. Katrell is left feeling broken after a blowout fight with Gerald results in the death of her beloved dog, Conrad. And despite a previous warning not write anymore letters she writes an emotional letter to her dog. She is shocked when Conrad ends up returning with no sign of being killed. Though he doesn't have a heartbeat and he's not his usual self. This leads Katrell to test out this newfound power which later leads her to charging people to resurrect their loved ones. It doesn't take long for thing to get back quick with these remnants and soon Katrell finds her life spiraling out of control. At first when Katrell was talking about struggling to make ends meet and going whole days without eating I was afraid this would be another YA where a poor character gets a come up and we ignore and wash over their neglectful parents abuse when they find a way out of their misery. I was wondering why Katrell and her mother aren't on welfare and receiving food stamps or receiving any other forms of government assistance. And I was so glad that Katrell was able to acknowledge that her mother didn't give a damn about her. And that this story explored Katrell's need to get out of her abusive situation while also trying to protect her mother because she believes she has to love her and she's afraid of being put into the foster care system. I also liked that she was able to see positive examples of adults who care in both her school guidance counselor, Mike and Will's adopted mother. This book was really well done and I could really hear that Jessica Lewis had personal experience with these topics which I think made a world of difference. We always hear the writing advice to write what you know. But sometimes when I read books that tackle social issues I feel the writer is a little out of her element. This story really resonated with me and it's one that I'm proud to recommend.

  10. 5 out of 5

    Annemieke / A Dance with Books

    4,5 stars Thank you to Delacorte Press, Random House Children's and Netgalley for the review copy in exchange for an honest review. This does not change my opinion in anyway. Trigger/Content Warnings: Death of a Dog | Parental Neglect | Domestic Abuse | Physical Abuse | Emotional Abuse | Violence to a minor | Gun Violence If you've taken a look at the trigger warnings for this book you will know right away this is a book that broke my heart. And it will break your heart too because everything abo 4,5 stars Thank you to Delacorte Press, Random House Children's and Netgalley for the review copy in exchange for an honest review. This does not change my opinion in anyway. Trigger/Content Warnings: Death of a Dog | Parental Neglect | Domestic Abuse | Physical Abuse | Emotional Abuse | Violence to a minor | Gun Violence If you've taken a look at the trigger warnings for this book you will know right away this is a book that broke my heart. And it will break your heart too because everything about this book is so real. The author confirms she's dealt with similar situations in her own life in the past in the foreword. And you can tell. Katrell can talk to the death with the help of letters. She doesn't mind and it earns her an extra penny to help pay with the rent. Which she mostly pays on her own. Her home situation is terrible. Her mom has no job and keeps with a dead beat guy who beats Katrell. They expect her to work and make money so they have a roof over their heads and can do 'fun' things. Katrells only break comes from her friend Will who lives with foster parents who adopted her. She is safe there, but only Will knowns the truth about her home situation. After a horrible incident Katrell accidentally raises someone from the dead. And she realizes she can earn a lot more money to keep a house and maybe even get out of poverty. You can imagine how well that went. So much about this book broke my heart. Of course we have the big themes but more than that it was the broken hearted girl in Katrell that she didn't want to show. The girl that couldn't believe Wills mom would hang up one of her pieces of poetry. The girl that didn't think she was worth of any kind of love. What her mom did to her was unforgiveable. But Katrell went back because that is the loyalty of a child to their parents. She didn't want to get her mom into trouble so she never said anything to the social worker at her school. Everything about this book was real and it hurt. The only thing I have is that I would have liked a bit of world buiding on the magic. I realize this is obviously not the focal point of this book but if you are going to use it try and put in a little more. It was just a little too thin. Having said that this book is heart breaking and so well written. One that you won't forget after reading.

  11. 4 out of 5

    Elvin Bala

    I'll put it this way: when I read Bad Witch Burning, I missed a few meetings at work because I HAD TO FIND OUT WHAT HAPPENS NEXT. Jessica Lewis crafted a tense-filled story from start to finish, and with every chapter the suspense goes up and up. Katrell is a heroine you can't help but root for, flaws and all. She's been through a lot, where even her dark magic abilities can't fix. So seeing her earn money with her powers is plausible and relatable. Black Witch Burning is filled with Black girl I'll put it this way: when I read Bad Witch Burning, I missed a few meetings at work because I HAD TO FIND OUT WHAT HAPPENS NEXT. Jessica Lewis crafted a tense-filled story from start to finish, and with every chapter the suspense goes up and up. Katrell is a heroine you can't help but root for, flaws and all. She's been through a lot, where even her dark magic abilities can't fix. So seeing her earn money with her powers is plausible and relatable. Black Witch Burning is filled with Black girl magic, tough characters facing tougher decisions, and one dog you'll love...and fear. Highly recommended!

  12. 5 out of 5

    Leelynn (Sometimes Leelynn Reads) ❤

    Disclaimer: I voluntarily read and reviewed an advanced copy of this book. All thoughts and opinions are my own. Thank you to TBR & Beyond Tours, Netgalley, and Delacorte for this free copy. All quotes in this review are taken from the Advanced Reader Copy and may change in final publication. If I was able to talk to the dead, or even anything remotely supernatural that was rare, I would probably do the same thing that Katrell did: find a way to make money off of it. Nothing wrong with a side hus Disclaimer: I voluntarily read and reviewed an advanced copy of this book. All thoughts and opinions are my own. Thank you to TBR & Beyond Tours, Netgalley, and Delacorte for this free copy. All quotes in this review are taken from the Advanced Reader Copy and may change in final publication. If I was able to talk to the dead, or even anything remotely supernatural that was rare, I would probably do the same thing that Katrell did: find a way to make money off of it. Nothing wrong with a side hustle, okay? Isn’t that what everyone keeps talking about these days? Can’t even have a fun hobby without people telling you to make that a side hustle, so here you go. I also understand why she went to such lengths, and why when she finds out that she’s somehow able to bring the dead back to life and make even more money off of it, she doesn’t heed the previous warning she got about burning everything down. People will do whatever they can to survive, especially when they are one of the main sources of income for their family. I understand that, and I don’t even blame Katrell for pushing the boundaries as far as she can with her powers. It just sucks that that warning may actually turn out to be valid, and things may turn for the worse if she keeps it up. It doesn’t help that I recently finished another book with a daughter dealing with abuse from her mother’s numerous boyfriends – although in The Girls I’ve Been, the boyfriends were marks until the final one… but that’s another story of course – but reading about these kinds of relationships has been super hard for me. Katrell has been dealing with a string of her mother’s boyfriends abusing her until they’ve had their fill. On to the next, the abuse doesn’t seem to end. It also doesn’t help that Katrell’s mother doesn’t seem to actually care since this constant stream of boyfriends hasn’t actually improved in personality. I mean, the main reason why Katrell resorted to using her powers to make money is because that’s what her mother makes her do in order to support both of them. So not only is Katrell having to deal with the repercussions of her powers in the supernatural world, but dealing the natural world of a negligent mother and men that shouldn’t have ever been in that household in the first place. Is it almost some sort of reprieve for her to deal with her clients and the dead? You tell me. I’ve seen Goodreads also label this story as a horror novel, and I totally agree with that one. Not just because of what happens when you use magic to bring the dead back to life – the Monkey’s Paw, anyone? – but just Katrell’s home life. It is horrible, and something that nobody should have to deal with, but is more common than it should be. This will be something to keep in mind as you read it, and since all magic comes at a price, don’t trust all that you see. Let’s just leave it as that. It’s still giving me chills!

  13. 5 out of 5

    Alaina

    I have received this ARC from NetGalley in exchange for an honest review. First off, I hated Katrell's mom and her mom's dumb ass boyfriend in Bad Witch Burning. They were both manipulative people and I just despised them so much. They never deserved her one bit. Especially when they couldn't even take care of themselves, keep a job, or pay to have a roof over their heads. Other than that, I actually enjoyed this book. Katrell and Will's friendship was one for the books. I really enjoyed them bei I have received this ARC from NetGalley in exchange for an honest review. First off, I hated Katrell's mom and her mom's dumb ass boyfriend in Bad Witch Burning. They were both manipulative people and I just despised them so much. They never deserved her one bit. Especially when they couldn't even take care of themselves, keep a job, or pay to have a roof over their heads. Other than that, I actually enjoyed this book. Katrell and Will's friendship was one for the books. I really enjoyed them being together and trying to bring some joy back to people's lives. Especially after they lost a loved one. Mostly because Katrell has a pretty unique power that goes through an upgrade with a lot of consequences to it. In the end, I wasn't that upset with what certain characters went through but I didn't like the deep dark road that Katrell was tumbling down. I'm glad that she got help towards the end and got her one piece of happiness. She definitely deserved more people in her corner - even if it was a little late to do so.

  14. 4 out of 5

    Kat

    Wow! I finished this book in a pond of my own tears. It was so gut wrenching, thrilling, and tugging on all of my heart strings. The magic in an ugly world angle is a love letter to every abused teenager out there. You are seen. This is a phenomenal debut!

  15. 5 out of 5

    Roomies' Digest

    It's a 3.5 ⭐️for me! The concept of this book is what initially drew me in, and I think it started out really great at first! I loved the premise and loved how Katrell is such a bad a** character, but I do think this book fell a little short of my expectations. For me, I was expecting more from the fantasy side of it. It was the fact that Katrell is a medium who regularly communicates with ghosts, and then soon finds out she can actually bring people back from the dead that I figured this book wou It's a 3.5 ⭐️for me! The concept of this book is what initially drew me in, and I think it started out really great at first! I loved the premise and loved how Katrell is such a bad a** character, but I do think this book fell a little short of my expectations. For me, I was expecting more from the fantasy side of it. It was the fact that Katrell is a medium who regularly communicates with ghosts, and then soon finds out she can actually bring people back from the dead that I figured this book would have a fun, magical, witchy vibe. Bringing people back from the dead IS HUGE as far as magic goes! Yet throughout this book, that detail seemed to be on the back-burner to all the other problems Katrell faces on a daily basis. And then when the magic was addressed, I feel like no one was actually asking the right questions to solve the issues?? The tone of this book also felt more like a YA contemporary than a magical realism/ urban fantasy, and I just wish it dealt more with Katrell's story as it related to her abilities... otherwise we just got a YA contemporary. I found it fast- paced in the beginning, slowing down at around 30%. After that point, I kept asking myself where it this plot going? What is the point? All in all I can appreciate Katrell's overall story and her character arc (it is what it is), but it's not my favorite. xx -Christine

  16. 5 out of 5

    Her Bookish Obsession

    This was a sad, melancholy, exhilarating, hopeful, frightening, and one-of-a-kind book! It was all of those things, and it was also amazing! It’s about a young woman who is abused and neglected by her mother and her mother’s lover at the time. The 16-year-old was constantly blaming herself or the men for her mother’s misfortunes. She also has a talent that her mother takes advantage of. She charges a little fee to bring back a ghost of someone’s family, friend, or lover. She can’t hold the connec This was a sad, melancholy, exhilarating, hopeful, frightening, and one-of-a-kind book! It was all of those things, and it was also amazing! It’s about a young woman who is abused and neglected by her mother and her mother’s lover at the time. The 16-year-old was constantly blaming herself or the men for her mother’s misfortunes. She also has a talent that her mother takes advantage of. She charges a little fee to bring back a ghost of someone’s family, friend, or lover. She can’t hold the connection for long since it hurts her physically. The spirit speaks to her when she is performing one of these normal summonings! This has never occurred before. The spirit warns her not to summon anyone else in the future. They’re going to come after her. Because the girl is the only one who can support her, her mother, and the lowlife boyfriend, she feels compelled to work. Things reach a breaking point when the violent man beats her and things spiral out of control. She utilized her power again later, but this time it didn’t just bring back a spirit, but the entire body! She now believes that profiting from resurrections is a fantastic idea! Things were bad before, but they’re about to get a whole lot worse! It’s a tale of desperate people who strive to get out of a bad position only to end themselves in an even worse one. Fortunately, she has a wonderful companion, a faithful dog, a wonderful school counselor, and a wonderful neighbor. She is, however, very loyal to her mother because she believes she is obligated to be, and she refuses to seek help. I believe many of us can identify to feel left out, having nowhere to turn, and being overly devoted to persons who are worthless. If given the chance, we might find an unhealthy way to go away. It had lots of suspense and I enjoyed the fantasy component of it. I was getting irritated with the girl since she was continually defending her useless mother! But she was just 16 years old! It’s difficult enough at that age, especially when she’s poor, beaten, and afraid of losing her own family.

  17. 5 out of 5

    USOM

    (Disclaimer: I received this book from the publisher. This has not impacted my review which is unbiased and honest.) TW: animal death, child abuse, domestic abuse, parental neglect, gun violence Bad Witch Burning put my heart through the emotional wringer. From Lewis exploring toxic family members to the fear and doubts of letting people in? Everything is emotionally intense and gripping. Katrell's story of how she is put into the parental role - when no child should have to be - and the desperati (Disclaimer: I received this book from the publisher. This has not impacted my review which is unbiased and honest.) TW: animal death, child abuse, domestic abuse, parental neglect, gun violence Bad Witch Burning put my heart through the emotional wringer. From Lewis exploring toxic family members to the fear and doubts of letting people in? Everything is emotionally intense and gripping. Katrell's story of how she is put into the parental role - when no child should have to be - and the desperation of poverty. We are able to see Katrell on the page in all her mistakes, loves, and doubts. To witness her emotional journey and character arc. There are moments that break your heart from the small all the way to the large. From the internal narration in our own heads, to the fights with our best friends, to the toxic relationship with her mother. Bad Witch Burning is a book that has us fall so deeply in love with the characters, all their nuances and intricacies, and then watch the action take off. I struggle to figure out whether I love the story line - the supernatural - or the characters more. But they work so seamlessly together to create a narrative you can't put down.

  18. 5 out of 5

    Melanie

    Thank you to Netgalley and Random House Children's for an arc of this book. Content Warnings at end of review. Katrell has always been able to see ghosts. But after a bad run-in with her mom's abusive boyfriend, Trell realizes her powers have changed. Now she has the ability to raise people from the dead, and make some cash while she's at it. This book was so interesting. I really empathized with Katrell and all so was going through. Will is also such an amazing friend and my favorite character! I Thank you to Netgalley and Random House Children's for an arc of this book. Content Warnings at end of review. Katrell has always been able to see ghosts. But after a bad run-in with her mom's abusive boyfriend, Trell realizes her powers have changed. Now she has the ability to raise people from the dead, and make some cash while she's at it. This book was so interesting. I really empathized with Katrell and all so was going through. Will is also such an amazing friend and my favorite character! I liked the journey that Trell went through and what she had to do to come to terms with things. I thought there was great character development! The pacing was a little slow in some places, and Trell definitely didn't make the best decisions, but I enjoyed this book overall! Content Warnings Graphic: Animal death, Child abuse, Domestic abuse, Emotional abuse, Medical content, Mental illness, Physical abuse, and Abandonment

  19. 4 out of 5

    Kate (GirlReading)

    This was SO GREAT and delivered so much more than what I was expecting (and I was expecting a lot...) Not only does it have vengeance filled practical magic vibes, it also brilliantly explores domestic abuse, poverty, trauma, parental neglect and the dangerous positions it can put a child in when they're monetarily relied upon and the mental and physical toll it takes. Bad Witch Burning was gritty, addictive, emotional, intense and superbly written. If this is what Jessica Lewis can produce as a This was SO GREAT and delivered so much more than what I was expecting (and I was expecting a lot...) Not only does it have vengeance filled practical magic vibes, it also brilliantly explores domestic abuse, poverty, trauma, parental neglect and the dangerous positions it can put a child in when they're monetarily relied upon and the mental and physical toll it takes. Bad Witch Burning was gritty, addictive, emotional, intense and superbly written. If this is what Jessica Lewis can produce as a debut author, I cannot wait to see what incredible stories she has for us next. TW: domestic abuse, child abuse, animal death, parental neglect

  20. 4 out of 5

    Laura

    I already gave this book 5 stars when I was only 20 % done....it was THAT GOOD. I was deeply engrossed in the story from page 1 to finish. It was exciting, creepy, sad, scary and spooky! I highly recommend this book! Katrell has to make extra money to support her unemployed mother and her mother's abusive, deadbeat boyfriend. She soon learns that she can summon the dead and use her powers to make way more extra money by reuniting the dead with their families. She soon starts making tons of money I already gave this book 5 stars when I was only 20 % done....it was THAT GOOD. I was deeply engrossed in the story from page 1 to finish. It was exciting, creepy, sad, scary and spooky! I highly recommend this book! Katrell has to make extra money to support her unemployed mother and her mother's abusive, deadbeat boyfriend. She soon learns that she can summon the dead and use her powers to make way more extra money by reuniting the dead with their families. She soon starts making tons of money, but her plan soon backfires when the dead start acting out of control, among other serious issues. Bringing back the dead was definitely creepy and had me shivering at times with how they acted after she resurrected them. It also made me sad. This was a great book, and I highly recommend it! Expected publication date August 24, 2021. Thank you to publisher and Netgalley for eARC in exchange for my honest opinion.

  21. 4 out of 5

    Lin Smith

    I was lucky enough to read an early-ish version of this book, and I read it in one sitting. I couldn't put it down. The concept is so fresh and gripping, the characters so perfectly imperfect, and the tension will keep you up at night. With magic sprinkled throughout, this #ownvoices book touches some pretty serious themes, including Black poverty, and the lengths a teenage girl will go to fight her way out of it. It made me laugh and cry multiple times. Cannot recommend this book highly enough! I was lucky enough to read an early-ish version of this book, and I read it in one sitting. I couldn't put it down. The concept is so fresh and gripping, the characters so perfectly imperfect, and the tension will keep you up at night. With magic sprinkled throughout, this #ownvoices book touches some pretty serious themes, including Black poverty, and the lengths a teenage girl will go to fight her way out of it. It made me laugh and cry multiple times. Cannot recommend this book highly enough!

  22. 5 out of 5

    Maria

    This book is going to be epic! **Update** It WAS epic. I'm an emotional shell right now, and I'm not sure what to do with myself. Jessica bled through those pages until I was left breathless. I hope to GOD every teen who needs it, reads it. It was a rollercoaster from start to finish, and will touch the lives of those who need it most. A stunning debut! This book is going to be epic! **Update** It WAS epic. I'm an emotional shell right now, and I'm not sure what to do with myself. Jessica bled through those pages until I was left breathless. I hope to GOD every teen who needs it, reads it. It was a rollercoaster from start to finish, and will touch the lives of those who need it most. A stunning debut!

  23. 5 out of 5

    Jodie "Bookish" Cook

    This review has been hidden because it contains spoilers. To view it, click here. Book Review Title: Bad Witch Burning by Jessica Lewis Genre: Young Adult, Horror, Fantasy Rating: 4.5 Stars I want to start this review off by saying that I have many young adult books labelled as horror or thrillers that have completely missed the mark but Jessica Lewis hits a bullseye with Bad Witch Burning. I honestly wasn’t expecting much when I picked it up and it completely blew me away, it was dark, grim and extremely scary in certain parts and it definitely doesn’t lack violence as well as a Book Review Title: Bad Witch Burning by Jessica Lewis Genre: Young Adult, Horror, Fantasy Rating: 4.5 Stars I want to start this review off by saying that I have many young adult books labelled as horror or thrillers that have completely missed the mark but Jessica Lewis hits a bullseye with Bad Witch Burning. I honestly wasn’t expecting much when I picked it up and it completely blew me away, it was dark, grim and extremely scary in certain parts and it definitely doesn’t lack violence as well as a lot of physical and emotional trauma so definitely read the trigger warnings before picking it up. We are introduced to Katrell who is coming from a really bad environment as she is abused and neglected by her mother and her numerous boyfriends as well as working over 30 hours a week to keep the household running as her mother puts a lot of pressure on her to do this. The only person who has any positive influence on Kat’s life is her best friend Will who is a former foster kid and has been through many of the same situations Katrell finds herself in but there is more to her than we expect. We learn that Katrell has the ability to talk to ghosts and her mother exploits this to make money by making her write letters that let people communicate with their dead loved ones. From the very beginning I sympathised with Katrell who deserved much more than what she was given in life but after a fight with her mother’s current boyfriend, Gerald he murders her dog, Conrad, which leaves Kat feeling broken and I will warn you that this scene is very graphic. This is the point where things begin to get really interesting as Katrell uncovers something new about her gift that she had no idea about and as she begins testing it out we see her walk down a darker path. It doesn’t take long after this for things to get really bad and Katrell soon finds her life spiralling completely out of control with no way to stop it. Honestly at the beginning of this book where it focused on Katrell struggling to make ends meet and sometimes going days without being able to get I thought it was going to be another young adult novel where the main character overcomes their situation and the neglect and abuse they suffered is completely washed over. However, I really liked Katrell’s situation is one of the main reasons for her action throughout the novel and how Lewis explored Kat’s need to get out of her abusive situation while continuing to try and protect the mother who doesn’t really care about her. I also really enjoyed the fact that Lewis acknowledge that Katrell can see positive examples of adults like her guidance counsellor, Mike and Will’s adoptive mother and that all the adults are lumped together. At its core Bad Witch Burning is a story about how desperate people try to get out of a bad situation only to find themselves in an even worse situation with no idea how they got there. However, Katrell remains completely true to who she is making her one of the most interesting protagonist I have followed in years especially in young adult literature. I can honestly say I related to Katrell’s feelings of feeling left out with nowhere to turn and how many people including myself find an unhealthy way of coping when left to their own devices. Overall, Bad Witch Burning was really well done and was an accurate portrayal of parental neglect and abusive without washing over or immediately correcting everything that was wrong with the situation. The way the book is written also leads me to believe that Lewis has had some personal experience with these topics which makes a huge difference to how it came across to me as a reader. This book was sad, depressing, exciting and much more and it is honestly such a unique read that I would highly recommend to people looking for something that completely breaks away from the typical tropes found in young adult horror books.

  24. 4 out of 5

    laur gluchie

    I have received a digital Advance Reader’s Copy of this book through NetGalley. This has not affected my rating in any way.

  25. 5 out of 5

    Of Books and Cats

    Thank you to Netgalley and Delacorte Press for providing an advance copy of this book in exchange for an honest review. You can read the full review, up now on my blog, A Blog of Books and Cats. 4.5/5 Stars Sixteen year old Katrell has far too much on her shoulders; a mom who should be paying the bills but isn't, a step-dad who's more abusive deadbeat than father figure, a part-time job that's failing to keep afloat a family of three, and the all-too-inevitable declining grades that come with su Thank you to Netgalley and Delacorte Press for providing an advance copy of this book in exchange for an honest review. You can read the full review, up now on my blog, A Blog of Books and Cats. 4.5/5 Stars Sixteen year old Katrell has far too much on her shoulders; a mom who should be paying the bills but isn't, a step-dad who's more abusive deadbeat than father figure, a part-time job that's failing to keep afloat a family of three, and the all-too-inevitable declining grades that come with such a home life. But Trell has something else too: magic powers that allow her to talk to the dead, which she's molded into a side business providing services to the loved ones of the recently deceased. As her powers grow and change, Trell learns that she can't just talk to the dead, she can actually raise the dead. Seeing the potential financial freedom in her newfound power, Trell gets tangled up in a dark web of magic and crime she never thought possible. Though it deals with emotionally heavy themes, though it has plenty of horror elements, Bad Witch Burning is also, at times, just plain fun. It has an excellent, diverse cast of characters, expert pacing, and a brilliant, hair-raising combination of witches and zombies that all come together to make for an exciting, unputdownable paranormal adventure. Yes, it's a story about a teen witch raising the dead for money, which is exactly as awesome as it sounds. But it's also about friendship and betrayal and abuse and found family and knowing when it's ok to lean on other people. Content warnings: abuse (graphic: emotional, physical), gaslighting, animal cruelty (graphic), poverty, threats of bodily harm, death

  26. 4 out of 5

    Aly

    This was an interesting, creepy read that was easy to jump into. Katrell has grown up rough, her mom has a string of dead beat boyfriends who abuse Katrell and leech off her until they pack up and split. Katrell's mom neglects her and makes her sixteen year old daughter work to support both of them and I hated her with a passion. Parents who chooses their partner over the well being of their child make me sick. Luckily, Katrell has her best friend Will who lets her stay over when it's too tough This was an interesting, creepy read that was easy to jump into. Katrell has grown up rough, her mom has a string of dead beat boyfriends who abuse Katrell and leech off her until they pack up and split. Katrell's mom neglects her and makes her sixteen year old daughter work to support both of them and I hated her with a passion. Parents who chooses their partner over the well being of their child make me sick. Luckily, Katrell has her best friend Will who lets her stay over when it's too tough and supports her. Katrell has a crazy ability to talk to the dead by writing letters. One day her ability changes and she's able to summon the dead as revenants. They look like themselves, they can talk and function and people are willing to pay a lot of money to have their loved ones back. Things quickly spiral out of control when the revenants become violent and start attacking people. Katrell is also suffering physically and needs to stop her creations before someone is killed. The story was interesting and unique and I stayed engaged throughout. Katrell isn't perfect and seeing her make mistakes made her relatable and real. I really enjoyed her friendship with Will and thought they were a great pair. Will and her adoptive parents also had a nice relationship and I liked how they didn't pressure Will and gave her space. This wrapped up well and I'm happy it's a standalone. I think this was well written and I'll be looking forward to more books from this author! I voluntarily read and reviewed this book.

  27. 4 out of 5

    Meg Long

    This book is so authentic and magical and gripping! I was lucky and got to read an early version. I read it over the course of a couple of days and couldn't put it down. I had to know what happened to Katrell and Conrad and Will. If you're looking for something that's unapologetically #ownvoices and full of black girl magic, then you've definitely found it. This book's got a fresh take on zombies, a dog that I would die for, a powerful friendship, and a main character I never stopped rooting for This book is so authentic and magical and gripping! I was lucky and got to read an early version. I read it over the course of a couple of days and couldn't put it down. I had to know what happened to Katrell and Conrad and Will. If you're looking for something that's unapologetically #ownvoices and full of black girl magic, then you've definitely found it. This book's got a fresh take on zombies, a dog that I would die for, a powerful friendship, and a main character I never stopped rooting for. The author really captures the tough life that kids face in our world and weaves it seamlessly with some witchy magic, hair-raising ghosts, and a girl who will do anything to escape her life. Katrell is faced with tougher and tougher choices as she begins to use her magic as a way to get out of her toxic home life. The odds are stacked against her but Katrell won't let anything stop her. Things get messy of course and more than just zombies end up complicating Katrell's life as the story races to the emotional climax. It's such a powerful story that is SO SO SO good! I can't wait for the book to come out so I can read it again!!!

  28. 4 out of 5

    Tas

    THIS BOOK IS EVERYTHING YOU WILL EVER NEED IN YOUR LIFE!!

  29. 4 out of 5

    Shannon (It Starts At Midnight)

    You can find the full review and all the fancy and/or randomness that accompanies it at It Starts at Midnight Bad Witch Burning made me feel all kinds of stuff, which is a big part of why I loved it. I mean the story itself is awesome, don't get me wrong. The fact that Katrell is suddenly bringing back folks from the dead? Obviously, I am in! And it is a great story in itself, even before we add in the emotions. But the emotions are what put this book over the top for me, making it go from a goo You can find the full review and all the fancy and/or randomness that accompanies it at It Starts at Midnight Bad Witch Burning made me feel all kinds of stuff, which is a big part of why I loved it. I mean the story itself is awesome, don't get me wrong. The fact that Katrell is suddenly bringing back folks from the dead? Obviously, I am in! And it is a great story in itself, even before we add in the emotions. But the emotions are what put this book over the top for me, making it go from a good book to a freaking fantastic one.  From the start, I was mad for Katrell. She has gone through more awfulness in her young lifetime than anyone should have to encounter ever. Her mom's boyfriend du jour is quite possibly one of the most awful creatures I have read about, and the fact that mom actively chooses the boyfriend's side over Katrell's over and over is gutting. Katrell has always had the ability to communicate with the deceased, via letter, and can even make a few bucks to support herself (and her mom and her mom's array of deadbeat paramours, unfortunately). One has even warned her that she needs to be careful, but some bad stuff goes down (thanks a lot Gerald) and she finds herself able to resurrect the dead, the warnings go to the back of her mind.  Katrell begins to think that the resurrections may be a way out for her. A way out from the pain, and poverty, and neglect. And this kills me, because you know just by the warnings that she's headed down a slippery slope, but you also a million percent understand why she's doing it. So obviously, a lot of the story is figuring out the mystery behind the dead, and what it will mean to Katrell.  So there is mystery and suspense and a ton of heartbreak, but there is also so, so much hope. Katrell has been through a lot, but she is such an incredible young woman. She's not perfect, not by any means, but she is lovable. And I think that is the journey she needs to undertake. She has an amazing best friend Will, and a counselor who she kind of won the counselor lottery with, Mike. And they see the Katrell that her mother turns away from, in a way that the reader hopes Katrell will see herself. And I don't want to say too much, but I promise that this book will satisfy you wholly.  Bottom Line: It is a great paranormal mystery, sure, but Bad Witch Burning is so much more. It's beautiful and heart-wrenching and hopeful. 

  30. 4 out of 5

    Allison

    Well, shit. This book is unlike any other book I've read. Technically YA contemporary fantasy, this is the story of Katrell. Her power of writing letters to summon the dead gets a sudden, unexplained upgrade, seemingly leading to full-on resurrections. Katrell is the main money-earner for her and her mother and her mother's boyfriend, so she is relieved at the new potential business venture to make rent and keep the power on. Despite Katrell's best efforts to keep everything under control, both Well, shit. This book is unlike any other book I've read. Technically YA contemporary fantasy, this is the story of Katrell. Her power of writing letters to summon the dead gets a sudden, unexplained upgrade, seemingly leading to full-on resurrections. Katrell is the main money-earner for her and her mother and her mother's boyfriend, so she is relieved at the new potential business venture to make rent and keep the power on. Despite Katrell's best efforts to keep everything under control, both the living and the undead have other plans, and everything starts to spiral. I see people write in reviews sometimes "this book wrecked/destroyed me," and I admit that is not a common reaction I have when reading, but in this case, exceptions must be made. I've been razed to the ground by this book. The gut-wrenching author's note and dedication at the beginning had me sitting up and paying attention even before page 1, and the story held my undivided attention for the duration-- a great feat, indeed. This book is not for the faint of heart. I was crying before the 10% mark, and that was far from the last time. I didn't track every time I cried because how ridiculous would that be... but it happened again in the final pages of the book, so at least we can agree it was intermittent right until the bitter but hopeful end. I attribute the emotional reaction not only to the content of the story but also to the author's vivid, cutting writing and matter-of-fact narration. There are no frills, just brutal honesty. Let me give you some less emotional, more cogent points about why you should read this one: Katrell is savvy, hard-headed, and loyal. Her responsibilities weigh her down, with no horizon in sight. This is her difficult, gruesome journey towards something better. It's about accepting help and support, and realizing there is something better to look forward to, an unconditional love that is reciprocated and deserved. In a rare move for a young adult book, there is no romantic plot, the focus on friendship and (found) family and self-love. This book is not meant to be an easy read. Trigger warnings include physical and emotional abuse, neglect, animal death, murder, and extreme poverty. If you are in a place to pick this one up, it's a powerful read, one that has thoroughly lodged itself in my mind, maybe my soul. Thanks to Delacorte and NetGalley for the opportunity to read and review this book, out 8/24.

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