The Scapegracers by Hannah Abigail Clarke is a dark, scrappy book about the beginnings of a coven. In The Scapegracers, we follow Sideways Pike, an outcast, lesbian, teen witch.
“Fresh scapegracers, making their own little band. Doesn’t happen much anymore.”
“It’s a bit archaic, I know. Means you’ve escaped the grace of God. It was up there with rascal for a while. Implied a particularly nasty kid. I like it.”
This book is not dainty, or sweet, or soft. This book is about the feral energies all teen girls have to some degree. Add a little magic into the mix and you have Sideways Pike, Daisy, Jing, and Yates. Sideways has been on her own most of her life, but the rest of the girls claim her as their own after a dramatic Halloween party.
I adored this book. It was so much fun to read. The girls felt real, their emotions felt like ones I’d had myself. The concept of feral but popular girls finding witchcraft and making their own coven was everything, but then you add queer representation to the mix? Hell yes. This was what I wanted “These Witches Don’t Burn” to be. Their stories were built well, as were the characters as a whole. The story building was subtle but interwoven neatly.
There were moments that felt unnecessarily detailed, like the two-page descriptor of a movie that doesn’t exist. I would have liked more involvement of Sideways parents, as well, as it felt like they knew more than let on.
“You girls freed me. You freed me and showed me your talent and cunning and curiosity, your marvelous disregard for authority, your relentless care for one another…”
5/5 to this book, seriously well done and I cannot wait for the next one.