Cover Image: So Witches We Became

So Witches We Became

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Member Reviews

Thank you to the publisher and NetGalley for an advanced copy!!! It almost didn't feel like horror. But more of a justice superhero book to me. Don't get me wrong there are creepy portions, but the justice and characters getting what they deserve is glorious. Don't get me wrong, it is 100% horror. But it is also a romance and a coming of age as well as a vengeance tale. If someone has done you wrong, read this and remember you don't have to listen to the voices of doubt in your head, and get some revenge of your own.

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This was a great book of horror that encompasses friendship and resilience! I never would have thought I would read a horror story that contained those things. A fantastic read!

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The Mist meets Creepshow and a whole lot of other horror movies for something that sank to the bottom of the water.

I was shaking with excitement to read this. It was one of my most highly anticipated reads of the year. I screamed my pure craziness for this book from every rooftop and ledge that I could find. The cover is definitely drool-worthy and the synopsis snatched my heart like a deliciously bad idea. And you all know how I love bad ideas.

Have you ever read anything where you didn't give a flying f**k what happened to any of the characters? That was this book for me. I found the entire book to be dreadfully boring. In fact, I had to skim through the last forty percent as it failed to hold my attention. It's clear to me now why I slept so soundly for the past week. There was nothing in the book that captured my interest for more than a few minutes at a time. It saddens me to say all of this.

So Witches We Became just wasn't the book for me and I'm so heartbroken about it. Lesson learned about being super stoked about something.

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Loved this book. As a longtime fan of "The Mist," I thought this was a fitting, feminist, rage-filled ode to that book and the creepy, psychological horror that King brings to mind. I loved that Baguchinsky didn't shy away from allowing her characters to feel rage, I loved how inclusive the story was, I appreciated the way that it was told. This was a complex, wonderful book that I devoured in one sitting. Highly recommend.

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Nell is looking forward to a vacation in a rental house on a tiny island in the Florida Keys with her friends, especially since her best friend Harper isn't bringing her boyfriend Gavin. At first everything is great, and Nell even hits it off with Tris, the house owner's daughter. Then Gavin shows up, and all hell breaks loose. A strange cloud traps them on the island, and when one of the group tries to swim for it, the water eats him alive. With tensions increasing, Nell and her friends will have to figure out an escape plan - or confront the strange shadows that have followed Nell her whole life.

I somehow expected there to be more hints of witchcraft earlier in the book. The flashbacks to Nell's childhood and how she quells the shadows are the only hint of the paranormal until Gavin arrives. Then things become full-on paranormal. I wish the history of the island had been tied in a little more, although the history and the unknown witchiness of the friends becomes clear at the end. Despite the heaviness of the backstory, this felt like a breezy read to me.

Content advisory: sexual assault, teen drinking, gore.

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So Witches We Became bit off more than it could chew and ultimately failed to deliver on the spooky promises of its back copy.

It’s revealed early on that Nell suffered from sleep paralysis as a child in response to the trauma of her mother abandoning her and the parts detailing Nell’s sleep demon are truly terrifying.

In fact, all of the horror sections are the kind of scenes that keep you up all night, making sure your feet are tucked securely under the sheets so the monster under your bed can’t reach them.

But they are peppered with boring slice-of-life scenes in between, with long winded small talk so that we can get to know each of the six characters.

Toward the end, as the plot needs to start wrapping up, the characters simply make deducations without justifications. Things like “there must be a book in this house” and “something I didn’t believe was real before is real now” are common place, while the island’s tragic history just sort of pops up as they happened to buy a book about it in town.

Interwoven throughout the narrative are flashbacks to both Nell’s experience with her sleep demon as she learns to tame it and her experience with sexual assault (which is heavily hinted at throughout the story and doesn’t serve well as a big late reveal). But these sections, serve more like space in between actual story more than they do to help actually move the plot along.

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This is a great, rage-filled, feminist YA horror novel. The comp to Stephen King's 'The Mist' is fairly spot-on (except, again, this version's nicely feminist and queer and anti-racist), and I would also compare it to his short story 'The Raft.' But really, this book stands on its own merits. It starts off as a more typical YA contemporary, albeit one with well-developed characters and very spooky childhood flashbacks. The setting really shines, and as someone who once lived in central Florida, I appreciated the way the location plays a huge role. (And as someone who lost power for an entire week because of Hurricane Irma, I appreciated all of the discussions about hurricanes as well as the Author's Note at the end.) I will say that the cover vibes and title don't really play a role in the book until a bit over halfway in, and that threw me during the first part, but once everything fully kicks in, it's impossible to put the book down. Content warnings for rape, SA more generally, sexual harassment, and gore. (I also want to add that I LOVED the ultimate, properly inclusive message of the book that prompted the Author's Note to end with not just "Believe women" but "Believe people." That kind of inclusion is so important, and it made me doubly excited to recommend this kind of expansively feminist book!)

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I really liked this book!

I think most people who have been sexually assaulted can relate to the feeling of helplessness and wanting revenge, but not even being able to get justice. The girls finally telling each other their stories and realizing they're all going through it felt very realistic. I honestly loved the ending. I was worried Nell would free Gavin as so many books include the main character forgiving their abuser. For once, it was therapeutic to see them get what they deserved.

Overall, this was a quick read that had me hanging on to every word. I didn't want to stop reading this and kept pulling it up every chance I got. 4/5⭐.

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