The coming-of-age story of 15-year-old Gabrielle starts from a devastating flood in her hometown of Buras and ends in a New Orleans home. A journey filled with magic and hauntings, spells and conjuring, sadness and misgivings. This young adult fiction pulled me in with its crisp language and the possibilities of learning about the mixed culture of the Creoles. As an Indian reader, I could relate to the superstitions and home remedies generously sprinkled all over the book.
The breezy storyline has much to offer and flows meticulously from one chapter to the next, building up curiosity as esoteric elements emerge in the life of the teenager. The author does not dwell much on extensive imagery and descriptions. I felt that descriptive scenes of the ambiance and the rich Creole culture would have given depth to the work.
Spooky in good parts, the novel works with a specific set of characters and builds them up well. It is reminiscent of the Classics as it dwells in 19th century America. From simple pranks to dark magic, from overnight remedies to crafted spells, secret rendezvous to clandestine affairs, from a murky past to the hopes of a future, from new friends to strange ones, from travels to worlds unknown to being unaware of the realities around, The Juju Girl, is a perfect weekend read, or to be read in short sprints and savored in parts.
The book maintains its pace throughout; the second half is as engaging as the first. Characters bring forth new dimensions and paranormal happenings take center stage. This is the story of a family and its tryst with love, longing, death, jealousy, resentment, repentance, and a special Gift. As secrets unfold, true colors revealed, friendships and relationships are put to test, culminating in the confrontation between the powers from beyond and Gabrielle’s Gift.
I thoroughly enjoyed this light young adult book; oft reading late into the night after a long day at work. This a testimony to the fact that the book enthralls. The book would translate well into a televised fantasy series. It is the perfect blend of youth, drama, charms, and spells!
It also occurred to me that the character of The Juju Girl has just arrived. There is potential to take Gabrielle on a whirlwind journey around the globe with her Gift. This is definitely one to have on your reading list.