Young Adult, Witchcraft, Romance
Paperback $9.99 (400 pages, ENTANGLED TEEN)
Be careful what you search for… Emma Guthrie expects this summer to be like any other in the South Carolina Lowcountry--hot and steamy with plenty of beach time alongside her best friend and secret crush, Cooper Beaumont, and Emma’s ever-present twin brother, Jack. But then a mysterious eighteenth-century message in a bottle surfaces, revealing a hidden pirate bounty. Lured by the adventure, the trio discovers the treasure and unwittingly unleashes an ancient Gullah curse that attacks Jack with the wicked flesh-eating Creep and promises to steal Cooper’s soul on his approaching sixteenth birthday. But when a strange girl bent on revenge appears, demon dogs become a threat, and Jack turns into a walking skeleton, Emma has no choice but to learn hoodoo magic to undo the hex, all before the last days of summer—and her friends--are lost forever.
Author Site: leanolan.com
An entertaining answer to 'How did you spend your summer vacation?' for teen readers! (5 stars)
The Guthrie twins, Emma and Jack, love spending their summers visiting their dad in the South Carolina Lowcountry. Days at the beach with Jack's best friend, Copper Beaumont, who also happens to be Emma's secret crush, are what summer is all about. But when the trio come across a strange bottle buried in the sand that contains clues to a hidden pirate treasure the mention of a curse just seems silly. Until Jack—at the prompting of a mysterious girl who keeps popping up at just the right times—uncovers the treasure setting off the ancient Gullah curse known as the Creep.
With Jack's flesh rotting from his bones, the threat of Cooper losing his soul on his 16th birthday, and demon dogs trying to keep them from breaking the curse Emma's summer is going to be far from ordinary. Becoming a hoodoo apprentice and learning the healing magic of the locals comes with a whole lot of responsibility and danger. If Emma can't break the curse she'll lose the two people she loves the most and she'll risk it all to save them.
Talk about a fun read! It's been a while since an author managed to take characters this young (15) and make them ones I wanted to hang out with. Even without the curse and hoodoo the trio of Emma, Jack, and Cooper would have been fun to read on some other kind of adventure. There was a distinct realism to them that made them jump off the page. But throw in the curse, and mystery, and magic and BAM!... what an adventure. I loved seeing a culture I was previously unfamiliar with explored in such a pleasant and surprising way, kudos to Nolan for making the Gullah and hoodoo her inspiration.
Aside from the great characters and fun of the plot I was also impressed with how 'clean' CONJURE is without feeling forced into it. Parents looking for books for younger readers on the YA scale that aren't too racy or colorful in language should definitely check it out.
CONJURE is a little slow at times but manages to pack a lot of action, mystery, and a sprinkle of romance into it. It might not work for all adult YA fans but I think it will be widely enjoyed by teens and would recommend it as a beach read considering the 'summer vacation adventure' style.
Valia Lind Writes
Notes: ARC received via publisher.