YA Fiction

Incantation by Alice Hoffman

I know that Alice Hoffman is quite a big literary figure. There are whole shelves and sections in the library dedicated to her work and she has written books on a variety of topics. So it is quite surprising that I have never read anything by her. This is the first book of hers that I have read and after this experience, I look forward to reading more by her.

This novel is about Estrella, who lives in a village in Spain. She has a comfortable life with her mother, older brother, and her grandparents. Her best friend, Catalina, is her constant playmate. She couldn’t ask for anything more in her life. Until the day she discovers guards setting fire to some books owned by a Jewish man. The burning act as well as the cruel treatment of the guards towards the Jew show her the first sign of evil entering her little village. Suddenly, Estrella finds her life changing. There is a hunt going on for secret Jews who pose as Christians and everyone is suspected as being one. As Estrella begins to discover her own identity, she finds herself questioning the religious beliefs of her own family.

This is a short book in comparison to most books I read but it is packed with emotion. This novel explores religion and betrayal and even love in a short amount of time but without the feeling of being rushed. The emotions were so raw that I could almost envision myself as Estrella. To me, this book was phenomenal because of the feelings it could invoke in me, a passive reader. I hope you give this book a chance to do the same to you.

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