Again, my gratitude goes out to my fellow bloggers and to my readers for their help in keeping me caught up with my reviews.

Today, I have the great privilege of sharing The Literate Housewife‘s review of Sisters of Misery by Megan Kelly Hall:

Maddie Crane has everything her mother ever wanted, she has a prestigious New England last name and is a member of the Sisters of Misery. Unfortunately, the pressure of living up to her mother’s expectations and being in this group led by Kate Endicott made life in Hawthorne feel anything but happy and secure. With the exception of her grandmother, Maddie can’t be herself with anyone. She isn’t really sure who she is. When her grandmother Tess allows her estranged aunt Rebecca and cousin Cordelia to return to Hawthrone and live with them, Maddie is hoping to find the sense of belonging she’s been searching for in this life.

What makes Maddie’s story about discovering who she is within her relationships and finding a home for her heart unique is the involvement of the supernatural in a town haunted by its history with witch trials and its proximity to Salem, Massachusetts. Although her mother likes to brush the fact that her family is more attuned to other dimensions, Rebecca and Cordelia’s arrival in Hawthorne bring it out into the open, at least superficially. When Rebecca and Cordelia open a new age store in Hawthorne, the Sisters of Misery quickly hone in on it in part of their campaign to ostracize Cordelia. When a Sisters of Misery induction ritual goes horribly out of control and Maddie, unaware of the intentions of the rest of the group, does and cannot do anything to stop it, her family is never the same again. It is only then when Maddie decides to let go of fear, stand up against Kate and her ilk, and embrace her family’s gifts. Hopefully it won’t be too late and Cordelia will forgive her.

Sisters of Misery is targeted to the Young Adult audience. The main characters are in high school and are facing some of the standard issues presented to girls as they are finishing high school and preparing for adulthood. I had no issues with the content, but there were sexual situations, hints of sexual violence, and language that took me by surprise given the intended audience. Much has changed since I last read a Young Adult novel. I would not discourage any mature teenager from reading this novel. At the same time, I feel it bears mentioning that this novel has a sharper edge to it.

I thoroughly enjoyed this novel. The story moved quickly and I cared for Maddie, Rebecca, Cordelia, and Tess. It brought back some of the darker sides of high school life and, while there were elements of the supernatural, it felt very true. I also enjoyed how runes were incorporated into each chapter. The secrets throughout the story were interesting and well revealed. Still, there is much left unfinished and I am excited that Megan Kelly Hall is writing a sequel. I feel that there is something more going on with her mother and I’m hoping this comes to light in The Lost Sister. I will be first in line to read it in August of 2009 to find out what happens to Maddie, Cordelia, and the Sisters of Misery now that they are college age.

Cover of Sisters of Misery Sisters of Misery by Megan Kelly Hall

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I’m always looking for guest reviewers. I don’t have any books to send folks right now, but if you’d like to review a book that you’ve read and post (or cross-post) it on my site, I’d love to have it. Just email me at andilit at gmail.com, and we’ll get started. Thanks.