Thursday, April 28, 2016

Review: "When My Heart Was Wicked" by Tricia Sterling


Happy Thursday, Sunflowers!


It's been quite a week and I've been loving my time spent with a very good friend who is both reading/writing obsessed. It's been an adventure through the ordinary AND extraordinary. I'm happy happy happy that she has one more week left to stay with us before traveling her 1,000 miles back to her own home. (Too far, says I.)

To celebrate Thursday, here's a review!  *confetti*


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Title: When My Heart Was Wicked
Author: Tricia Stirling
Genre: YA Paranormal
Publication: February 24, 2015
Pages: 192

Synopsis:

"I used to be one of those girls. The kind who loved to deliver bad news. When I colored my hair, I imagined it seeping into my scalp, black dye pooling into my veins.

But that was the old Lacy. Now, when I cast spells, they are always for good."

16-year-old Lacy believes that magic and science can work side by side. She's a botanist who knows how to harness the healing power of plants. So when her father dies, Lacy tries to stay with her step-mother in Chico, where her magic is good and healing. She fears the darkness that her real mother, Cheyenne, brings out, stripping away everything that is light and kind.

Yet Cheyenne never stays away for long. Beautiful, bewitching, unstable Cheyenne who will stop at nothing, not even black magic, to keep control of her daughter's heart. She forces Lacy to accompany her to Sacramento, and before long, the "old" Lacy starts to resurface.

But when Lacy survives a traumatic encounter, she finds herself faced with a choice. Will she use her powers to exact revenge and spiral into the darkness forever? Or will she find the strength to embrace the light?

 

                
Very surprising read. Was not expecting it to be as dark or fascinating as it was. Read it in one sitting and highly recommend it. Uplifting ending, despite everything.

Lots to talk about regarding what's actually happening to Lacy, what she's dealing with and how she's growing. Fantastic discussion book. Quite a few people seemed to dislike it for its handling of grittier topics and even a few cited cultural appropriation regarding the mentioning of Native peoples in connection to magic. I personally think this "cultural appropriation" is a bit of a stretch, mostly because I don't believe (at least I can't remember, so feel free to remind me) that it was ever specifically stated what heritage Lacy and her family was. I assumed because of several references to ancient cultures and stories she'd heard throughout her childhood that Lacy's maternal family was more than likely Native themselves.

I do think that the author made a point to create a stark contrast between Lacy and, say, Olive who sported a Taino tattoo because it was "cool" and didn't really understand its meanings or the people it belonged to.

As for the magic - I feel like this was a metaphor. Not, exactly, in the book. I think that the magic happening in the book was meant to be very real, but I believe the author was utilizing the magical elements to help make some points about what was going on and how Lacy was struggling. Lots of Light/Dark and Innocence/Depravity all fighting against each other. I think there were several very poignant points made, and in only such a few pages (under 200).

This book certainly won't be for everyone, but I honestly think it's a shame that there are several people reading the 1 star reviews and then removing the book from their TBR list without trying it out for themselves. Again, this would be a great group discussion book.

Trigger Warning: Abuse, attempted rape, self harm, mental illness

 

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Auggie is the 29 year old whirlwind owner of Auggie-Talk. A bibliobibuli by nature and a (potentially obsessive) lover of Diana Wynne Jones and Neil Gaiman. Not so secrety secret: She's been known to consume too much caffeine leading to hyperactive rants about her heinous lack of shelving and the high likelihood that Hermione Granger is her spirit animal.

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