Cover Image: The Scratch Daughters

The Scratch Daughters

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Member Reviews

this was the perfect sequel! I loved the first book so I had super high expectations for this one. Luckily they were all exceeded. I liked this one even more than its predecessor, which was a surprise.
This doesn't allow for half stars, even though I think it deserves 4.5 stars, so I'll just round it down.
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I was so happy to be back in the world of the Scapegracers, and this sequel did not disappoint. The plot is intriguing and thrilling, but the heart of the story is the relationship between these witches. Not to mention the distinct narrative voice that makes for some of the most compelling prose in recent memory for me. Crossing my fingers for a third installment.
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A fantastic sequel to the first book, I loved the LGBTQ+ representation with the witch focus! Right now, I cant get enough of this book and cant wait for my re-read!
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After falling for Sideways & crew in "Scapegracers", I knew I'd love the sequel just as much. Clarke's writing is so compelling and relatable and beautiful, more than what I've normally come to expect from novels targetting a YA audience. The internal struggles within the coven made my heart break for every single character and the resolution was exactly what I had hoped for. Needless to say, I can't wait for book 3!

Thanks to Erewhon & NetGalley for the digital ARC!
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WHERE DO I EVEN BEGIN?

I fell in love with the world of the Scapegracers when I read the first book and my love affair continues. I honestly can't even tell you what I loved the most, but let's start with the writing. It is SO SMART. Not only is the narrative structure so very clever, but the writing itself is also excellent. As I read the last few chapters, I couldn't even believe my eyes. Every word felt exquisite and like it was a huge privilege to be able to even read them. The sentences are sharp where they need to be and lush, visceral and sensory when they need to be. What an absolute treat, man.

And the CHARACTERS?

I mean, they are just as easy to fall in love with - and I'm talking all of them, from Sideways and their coven, through their coven, all the way to Shiloh and Julian & Boris. They all have such palpable personalities.

But, okay, I think I know what I love the most about it.

It's the same thing I loved about the first one - it's about so much more than the plot. The plot is there, of course, as the driving force, but the DISCUSSIONS. All these dirty feelings these characters are feeling; the love they reaffirm over and over again; their struggles and first-ever experiences. And so much of these books is about identity - and that can be seeing yourself represented, or accepted, or figuring yourself out, or sharing yourself with others and finding pride in it; or just the very fact you exist in this world.

These books feel like a Nirvana song but so much better.
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4.5

I read The Scratch Daughters immediately after I finished Scapegracers and I absolutely loved both of the books. This novel picks up right where we left off with the first one, with Scapegraces having to look for Sideways's soul after it has been borrowed, so to speak. Sideways is, understandably, getting impatient when no progress is made. Besides their search, they're dedicating time to helping out girls when they're dealing with abusive men. I will not go into too many details, as this is a sequel and I would like to try and remain as spoiler-free as I can.

Sideways and the rest of her coven are great characters to follow, and all of the strengths of the first book are present here too. I loved how the first book talked about the experience of being a teenager (specifically that quote about the world hating teenage girls), and how that helped create the bond between Sideways, Daisy, Jing, and Yates. The relationship they all have is truly the strong point of these books and what I loved so much about them. That is clear in book one, and it carries over here and I loved seeing these characters have so much love for one another.

In terms of plot, this book is slightly messier and maybe a bit slower than the first one. It makes sense, given we see everything through Sideways, whose feelings are now altered by the lack of their soul. In that way, I maybe enjoyed the first book a bit more, it was faster-paced and had some more direction, if that makes sense. But I really do not mind this as much, as it brings us more of the characters, which I enjoyed, and more of Mr. Scratch, which I also enjoyed (I really did like his character, even if the eye scene was a bit gross).

Last, but certainly not least, I love how this book centers on the queer experience, and especially lesbian experience (again, as Sideways is our POV character). The talk about gender, and sexuality and how much love there is all around in this book is really just healing something in me a little bit I think. This book was really queer in every way, and it did fix me a little. Sideways's dads are also a great addition to the cast of characters, I always love seeing happy queer parents living their best lives and their love for Sideways was just heartwarming to read about.

All in all, I won't go into any more details, so if you haven't read Scapegracers, I would highly recommend it. It's a delightful witchy read, and if you love queer found families and just fun, adventures I'd say pick this up.

Thank you to Netgalley for providing me with an arc in exchange for an honest review!
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This book was sent to me via Netgalley in exchange for an honest opinion.

What I love about the first stall of this series was the relationship between the characters and of course, the magic. With this book, I got a bit frustrated by the relationships. Sometimes I felt like I didn't understand where the story of these characters was going. And although interesting, I was just that. The plot has so much potential and I believe it wasn't really exploited. 

It frustrated me that it seem like these characters were being reckless with their magic, it wasn't a secret for anyone (there are videos and all that) but the witch-hunters simply decide not to do anything about it. Don't get me wrong, I LOVE a story where the queers' characters win, but it feels way too easy every time. I started to not care about any of the "villains" because they don't represent a real threat to the main four (I know in most stories the heroes always win, but at least there are moments where the reader feels like things are going south).

Overall, it was a good book, not a fantastic one.
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Clarke’s prose was the most astonishing feature of the previous book, and here it’s fully as sharp and exciting, always vivacious and sensory. In Clarke’s world, magic is something tasted, bitten and intuited, both trashy and glittering, sublime and commonplace.
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It's been over two years since I read the first book, and I was a little worried if I'd be able to jump back in without rereading the first one, but I shouldn't have been worried at all because it was as if I never even left.

This world is still as fresh in my mind as it was back then, because I kept thinking about the characters and what they'd be up to next. I was so sad that the release date got pushed back, but AT LEAST IT'S OUT NOW WHICH MEANS EVERYONE SHOULD GO READ IT!!!

In the sequel we follow the coven as they search for Sideways's soul and the person who borrowed it. And boy, what a chaos-filled journey it is. I loved every minute of it.

Especially at the start, being in Sideways's soul-free head...that felt so real and as if I was a part of that too. The whole narration was masterfully done really, and even better than it was in the first book.

In my review of The Scapegracers I mentioned that I wanted more of Mr. Scratch AND THIS BOOK DELIVERED! We got so much of him, his comments, and the questionable things he eats. THE EYE!!! I will never be the same after reading that scene, it was hilarious and disgusting at the same time.

And oh my God, Shiloh? I need to give them a hug. A really big one.

THIS BOOK WAS SO DELICIOUSLY QUEER THAT MY HEART CAN'T HANDLE IT. I CRIED GUYS, I CRIED SO MANY TIMES. I was kind of expecting to, but not that much? I'm a mess. Like this book. But in a good way, an affectionate way. I just love The Scratch Daughters and its characters so much.

I CANNOT WAIT for book three, I need it for my life to be complete and I need it now. Gimme.

*Thank you to the publishers and NetGalley for providing me with an e-ARC in exchange for an honest review*
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Obsessed with this series. I could not put it down. I was immediately drawn to Sideways and her coven and could picture the hands I wanted to pass this story to. For any outsider who felt unseen or anyone who knows how lonely the inside can be, this book of feminism, fantasy and fury is for you.
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What an absolutely queer bundle of witchy goodness this series is! If queer, supernatural, YA is the kind of genre you enjoy then this series is a must on your tbr list! This is the second book in the series, both as amazing as each other! Can’t wait for the 3rd instalment!!
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Clarke’s writing and storytelling was again amazing! I loved how the relationships between characters felt so real. They explored gender and sexuality a little more in this book than in the first, but still in a very casual way. Sideways continued to be a very relatable narrator and I enjoyed Mr Scratch’s comments here and there. There were a bunch of pop culture references too that made me giggle a little. 

Overall a lovely second instalment. It was just as good as the first book and I might’ve even liked it better. Looking forward to get my hands on the hardcover and reread it in October!
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I throughly enjoyed this novel. In fact, it’s one of the few lately that has held my attention throughout the entire story.    While I could see a few things coming, I never felt like rushing though it. I would definitely recommend it to friends.
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The Scratch Daughters is the witty and dauntless sequel to The Scapegracers. Sideways Pike has found her coven- while also discovering a dangerous world of witch hunters. Since the last girl she crushed on stole her magic and ran, Sidways has pretty much hit rock bottom. Surely things can’t get much worse, especially with three incredible coven mates and a book demon keeping her alive. But as tensions rise amongst the coven, they must work together to recover Sideways’ magic or risk Sideways never doing magic again…

I love H.A. Clarke’s writing! The writing is hilarious and witty, even when dealing with dark and emotional subjects. The vivid details paint haunting images, while including warm moments of found family and queer romance. Mr. Scratch has to be one of the best characters!! His journey in this book was creepy, yet fulfilling. Clarke writes outstanding LGBTQ+ rep and infuses the pages with queer joy and vengeful witchiness. I can’t wait to see what happens next with the coven and learn how their journey continues. I love The Scapegracers series! If you enjoy contemporary fantasy, diverse found family, and queer witchiness then you need to check out this series. Thank you to H.A. Clarke, Erewhon Books, and Netgalley for a free ARC in exchange for an honest review.
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The Scratch Daughters grows off the premise of The ScrapeGracers quite well and continues to flourish in the areas that the first one did. This series has incredible racial and queer representation and the character arcs and themes are really maturely written. Although I love this witchy premise, especially during the Halloween season, I’m invested in this series for the characters. I’d recommend this to anyone, but particularly to those who look for diverse found families in their stories.
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4.50 Stars. How do I love thee, let me count your witchy ways. Finally, after two years I got to read the sequel to the magical realism/paranormal YA book The Scapegracers and all I can say is that I can’t wait for book 3. The Scapegracers was an oddball little book that warmed its way into my heart and onto my favorite list of 2020, and I already know this book will easily do the same for this year.

One thing that I really like about this series, and I mentioned it in my review about that first book too, is that while it is YA, I think it appeals to people of all ages. While the story is new and feels fresh with the times, it still has the ability to make you reminisce. It reminded me of being 14 and watching all the wonderfully campy -but inappropriately targeted to me- movies of the 90’s like Scream and I Know What You Did Last Summer. This series is like the queer version of The Craft, except 100% times better. I loved that movie as a kid, but this series is everything and more that I wished that movie was. And to put a cherry on top of my point, the main character Sideways made sure to bring up the 90’s movie Jawbreaker before getting into the trunk of her best friends’ car and I could not stop the huge smile that stretched across my face.

I think I’m in love with Clarke’s writing. During the first book I had my ups and downs with it. Clarke has a unique style of writing. It is very descriptive but not annoyingly so or purple prose territory. The down I had with it is that in book one it took me a while to get used to it and I worried it might put certain readers off. Luckily, the writing eventually clicks, and I ended up really enjoying it so I hope people know to be patient as I wouldn’t want someone early DNF’ing book one and missing out on this great series. I don’t know why this book took a year longer than originally expected to come out, but whatever the reason, I think that Clarke’s writing really improved in the last two years. I went from really liking it to now loving it. I think their style calmed down a bit. It is still descriptive, but now just wonderfully so and not overboard or trying a little too hard to impress in a YA debut book too hard. I felt like the words just flowed and I could not believe how fast I flew through the second book. I don’t want to give too much away but one of the characters is missing something important, something that you or I could never imagine missing, and the way Clarke described being without this thing, was just so amazingly written that I felt like it was actually happening to me. This book was very well done, and to see such growth between the two books when Clarke was already a great writer was impressive.

This book was so wonderfully queer, and it just made me happy. The characters are great, including one of my favorite YA characters Sideways, the badass lesbian butch witch. While there still was no “romance” in this book, there was a lot of mix of what is friendship love to what is romantic feelings, which was so realistically written that at times it felt more honest then what is in a lot of contemporary YA books that I read.

I would love to talk more about the plot, but I don’t want to ruin anything for people who have not read book one yet. This is a series that you need to read in order. I’ll end this by saying that I am a big fan of this underrated YA series, and I would absolutely recommend it for your Halloween reading pleasure. If you like badass queer witches getting the chance to take some revenge, then this series is definitely for you.

An ARC was given to me for an honest review.
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A big thank you to Erewhon Books and Netgalley for giving me access to the eARC of this book in exchange for an honest review!


The Scratch Daughters is the sequel to The Scapegracers (here's my review: https://www.goodreads.com/review/show/3889263643), first book by august clarke, aka, H.A. Clarke.

If you haven't read the first one, here's what you should know:

These books are not like most books. They're probably not even for most people.

These books are for the weird kids. The queer kids. The witch kids. Those who get hit and spit out blood-soaked poetry, those who find themselves in each other, together. The messy, intense kids, who do not conform to the norm — those who resist. The grown up kids, now adults, who did not get to experience certain things because they were different.

These books are teenage rage, poetry, a manifest, a spell.

These books are for them, for us.

*******

All of what I adored from the the first book is also present in this one: the beautiful prose with Sideway's beloved and chaotic voice, the atmosphere, the subversion. The raw honesty, the magic, and how great it is at depicting queer friendships, struggles, joys and experiences.

(The rest of this review will have spoilers for The Scapegracers.)

*******

A few weeks have passed and our Scapegracers are on a mission: getting Sideway's soul back.

The side quests: hexing every single guy who dares mess with them, or with another girl or queer kid. Sweet revenge is long overdue.

Also desperate for revenge: Madeline, who is on the run with Sideway's rebellious specter inside her throat, leaving a messy trail behind her.

Everything's more complicated and dangerous now but the coven isn't alone. They have Mr. Scratch, their spellbook devil, to guide them, to protect them as he can (and, in the case of Sideways, to literally keep them alive). They're growing in their powers, learning new spells, charms and hexes, learning about their shared history and how there are other covens out there, learning about themselves, their feelings and identities and even their family history.

Sequels are hard, and The Scratch Daughters does not disappoint.

It keeps a balanced pace and follows a somehow atypical structure, the same way its predecessor does. Sure, there's plot, there's goals and urgency, but again, the focus is on its characters, and there's lots of following Sideways, Jing, Daisy and Yates around, magic intertwined with their daily lives, their achievements and their dramas (oh their dramas).

Going through trauma and finding out more about yourself is easier if you have your own coven holding you together. These stories let the weird kids know they're not alone. Their coven is out there.

Sequels are hard, and The Scratch Daughters is great.


***

So, yeah. I'm really in love with these books (and their covers!) and I hope this review finds its way to others who'll feel the same way about them. Also so glad there's probably gonna be a third book (and not really sure I'd be ready to part with this coven afterwards. Can we please get, like, seven books? Thanks).

🎀🔮⚔️❄️🍬🎄🦷🦷


**************

Instagram: @agustinayloslibros
Review on Goodreads: https://www.goodreads.com/review/show/4062317159
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This is the perfect follow up to The Scapegracers. Like the queer representation in the book is unmatched, and important topics such as gender identity & coming out are handled so beautifully. I’ve never read a series quite like this, something so unapologetically queer. And queer in the sense that it doesn’t turn away from uncomfortable situations - it faces them head on. I adored this book so freaking much, and it cemented the fact that I will 100% be reading ANYTHING that H.A. Clarke releases.
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⭐⭐⭐⭐⭐

REP: Nonbinary Characters, Lesbian Characters, Bisexual Characters, Gay Characters.


What a book. What a sequel. What a road to self-discovery. This book had me feeling all the emotions. Anger, happiness, sad, anxious. Everything.

Once again H.A Clarke managed to make an amazing story about queer witches who stand to protect other women. Once again, they managed to continue the journey of the Scratch Daughters, in a way that even though it was centred around Sideways, you knew what the other characters were going through too.

Give me queer witch books any day, but the way H.A Clarke wrote this book, I knew it had to be personal. Thank you for taking us on your journey of self-awareness.

I can't say much else without giving away the storyline, but just take my word, it's a fantastic sequel to The Scapegracers. It doesn't disappoint.

Thank you Netgalley and Erewhon Books, for a copy of the ebook in exchange for an honest review.
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HIGHLIGHTS
~book devils have VERY WEIRD appetites
~know your history and your legacy
~every coven needs a scratchbook
~hex the haters
~bring the house…up?

:this review contains spoilers for The Scapegracers!:

This isn’t a book. It’s a snarl, a shout, a scream equal parts defiance and fury and exultation. It’s a hex hissed at every boy who wants to hurt a girl, a pitch-black choke-chain wrapped around their throats. It’s an ink-devil beneath your skin, hugging you from the inside, pouring power through your veins. It’s weaponised barbie dolls and an ouija board whipped up with stickers, mirrors tying sisters past to sisters present, haircuts lifting the scales from your eyes. It’s hunger and need and belonging, broken glass and broken angels, a bright pink knuckleduster to the heart. It’s magic queered and queerness magicked until it’s impossible to tell what the difference between them is.

(Spoiler: there is none.)

Take apart the words, the shapes of the letters on the page, and the sigil they make will show you your soul in your hand.

Bring it to your mouth and swallow it down.

*

This book. This book! This BOOK!

I stayed up until 6am devouring it and I regret absolutely nothing.

I didn’t think The Scratch Daughters could be better than Scapegracers, you know??? I didn’t think anything could be better than Scapegracers, because that book is fucking flawless. I would have bet Scratch Daughters would be equally incredible, because I can’t even begin to imagine Clarke writing anything that isn’t.

But I didn’t think it was possible for anything to be better.

What do you call something that’s better than perfect? Do I need to invent a new word again??? I think I need to invent a new word again.

clarkegelant
adjective

1. beyond perfect
2. of or like H. A. Clarke’s writing style, especially in excellence

THE SCRATCH DAUGHTERS IS CLARKEGELANT.

THAT IS ALL.

*

Do you have any idea how this review has been shredding me, because how the fuck do I talk about this book? How sharp and beautiful and aching it is, a feral rainbow with bruised knuckles, so intense the pages vibrate under your fingers, make your hair lift off your freaking head with static? It crackles like Pop Rocks and snaps like bone and roars like dragon’s breath coming for the patriarchy. It’s distilled down to liquid night and nitroglycerin and I dare you to do shots. I dare you.

(You can’t. You won’t. The Scratch Daughters is a book you devour all in one go because putting it down is impossible.)

Everything that made Scapegracers perfect is here; the decadent, revelling prose that tells you to keep up or shut up; the fierce rawness of what it is to be a teenager, especially a teenage girl; the overwhelming, overpowering rush of true friendship; the unrepentant glorying-in defiance of queer as in fuck you. And of course the cast, the unforgettable, incomparable Scapegracers themselves, Sideways-Jing-Daisy-Yates, the four-pointed compass star leading us deeper and deeper into the magic and mystery.

<Teenagers spawning nuclear reactors inside their throats.>

But gods, Clarke has levelled up with this one. The wait for Scratch Daughters has been so-much-more than worth it; if we’d been waiting twice as long, ten times as long, I would still be here telling you the wait was worth it.

Fuck.

<It was so weird being inhabited by something that often felt really jealous of pens.>

I’m not going to tell you much about the plot, because you’re going to read this for yourselves, but I can’t not talk about how Clarke conflates queerness and magic in Scratch Daughters even more explicitly than they did in Scapegracers. The parallels drawn in neon between magical legacy and queer history make me foam at the mouth, okay, I am rabid for this, for how vitally important both are to the characters and the story and the reader. Just as so much queer history was lost with a generation of queer elders killed by Reagan AIDS, the Scapegracers are walking in the footsteps of covens burned by witch hunters – and need to reach into the void of where those earlier witches should be to survive, to grow, to fully realise their potential. If Scapegracers was about our four favourite witches finding each other, Scratch Daughters is the realisation that they’re part of a much bigger community – and the discovery of that community’s history, the horror and fury at the understanding of the full scope of what that community has suffered. The determination to make sure it never happens again.

<This witch burns back, bitch.>

Scratch Daughters is so much about community – and especially, specifically, queer community. It’s about making room for those who need it and keeping secrets that aren’t yours to share; dropping everything to extend a hand to, and keep safe, fellow queers. It’s about the bond that exists between everyone on the (black-brown-trans-)rainbow spectrum, regardless of our other differences. It’s about how people new to the community have to learn these rules, fast, because the first priority is having each other’s backs and that overrides pretty much everything else.

<“I’m a fucking dyke, {spoiler}. I can’t not care.” Even soulless. Even when you loudly don’t deserve it.>

Which is another way that Clarke draws a line between queerness and witchcraft, because witches need to have each others’ backs too, are under attack by a society that is indistinguishable from the one going after queers; that might actually be the same damn people because FUCK, and also FUCK THE CHANTRYS, and the worldbuilding that was in hindsight very much underlying Scapegracers unfolds spectacularly in Scratch Daughters in a reveal that made me want to claw some eyes out.

<the world is a very sharp place for daughters>

(It’s not like I could predict where this series was going before – Clarke is not interested in being predictable – but now Scratch Daughters has me really wondering about our final destination. According to what I found online, this is supposed to be a trilogy – but how can the Scapegracers burn the system down in one more book? AND THE SYSTEM NEEDS TO BURN, PEOPLE. THAT’S NOT UP FOR DEBATE.

Gods, I can’t wait to see it.)

To sidestep to a happier topic: as a nonbinary person, I am here to tell you that the Gender Stuff in this book made me so happy. The exploration of girlhood, finding a skin that fits, the reclamation of the face in the mirror, what it is to be femme or butch or something else entirely. The way it’s treated, important but not the Only Thing, not a gasps-shock-wtf thing, is so entirely correct. Clarke approaches it as something natural and normal, and if it was possible to fall in love any harder with this series, I would.

<your knuckles bruising like a pride flag>

And all of this is woven deftly through a plot that grabs hold of you and doesn’t let go. Anything that tried to draw my attention away from Scratch Daughters was almost physically painful; I already told you I was up till 6am because who the fuck needs sleep when Sideways and her coven are impatiently waiting for you? How was I supposed to put this book down when Maddie was courting spontaneous combustion and Daisy was using flying-magic at cheer practice, when Mr Scratch was hungry and Yates wanted a Secret Santa, when Sideways was coming apart and the world was coming for all of them?

I couldn’t, obviously.

And you won’t be able to either.

The Scratch Daughters is a rainbow with razored edges, electric starfire caught in print, a war-cry and a scream of triumph and celebration. This is a book to devour, to treasure, to reread again and again as a shield against the world and a reminder that witches burn back. Speaking of: forget wordsmith, Clarke is a wordwitch, and has once again worked pure fucking magic with a sequel that, impossibly, outshines its predecessor.

It’s everything I wanted and more than I ever could have hoped for, and come 2029, it’ll be on my Best of the Decade list.
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