“Oh, Relax It’s Only Magic”: The Scapegracers by H. A. Clarke

Release Date: September 15, 2020
Series: Scapegracers #1
Publisher: Erewhon
Genre: Young Adult, Fantasy


“Skulking near the bottom of West High’s social pyramid, Sideways Pike lurks under the bleachers doing magic tricks for Coke bottles. As a witch, lesbian, and lifelong outsider, she’s had a hard time making friends. But when the three most popular girls pay her $40 to cast a spell at their Halloween party, Sideways gets swept into a new clique. The unholy trinity are dangerous angels, sugar-coated rattlesnakes, and now–unbelievably–Sideways’ best friends.

Together, the four bond to form a ferocious and powerful coven. They plan parties, cast curses on dudebros, try to find Sideways a girlfriend, and elude the fundamentalist witch hunters hellbent on stealing their magic. But for Sideways, the hardest part is the whole ‘having friends’ thing. Who knew that balancing human interaction with supernatural peril could be so complicated?”

My Thoughts

Clarke is extremely good at writing in a way that feels like everything and nothing is happening all at once. For some, it may come off as an overload of unresolved subplots and for others as if the story is moving at a glacial pace. But I would argue the pacing is perfect for the story being told. Long, bone-achingly decadent tracts of descriptive text buttress crackling dialogue and moments of surreal horror. The Scapegracers thrums with frenetic energy. Plots and subplots careen into each other like bumper cars at a carnival. Reading it felt like watching a primetime drama on The CW, all wild intensity and sizzling desire. And yes, I consider that a compliment of the highest order. There are few things I enjoy more than obsessing over 42 minutes of high octane drama with brooding stars and a storyline of barely contained chaos…

Read the rest of this review at Tor.com.

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