Sunday, October 24, 2010

Review: The Salem Witch Tryouts

Title: The Salem Witch Tryouts
Author: Kelly McClymer
Page count: 261

Back cover:  Prudence Stewart had it all at Beverly Hills High: straight A's, the cutest crush, and a sweet gig as captain of the cheerleading squad. Then poof! Mom and Dad announce they're moving to Salem, Massachusetts. Turns out, Pru comes from a long line of witches and it's time for her to learn the craft. Buh-bye, Beverly Hills High -- hello, Agatha's Day School!
But Pru's not about to trade in her spirit stick for a broomstick! She's sure she can keep her kewl at her new school -- until she discovers it's all magic, all the time, and she's failing Witchcraft 101. Worst of all, even the cheerleaders bring a special "spirit" to their routine. As in, triple-back-somersault-with-a-twist kind of spirit.
It's time for Pru to cast a spell and prove she's just as enchanting as the next girl -- and somehow make cheering tryouts a flying S-U-C-C-E-S-S!
   I picked this book up at a used book store a while back. The story is cute. High school girl who has special powers is moved into the world of her heritage and trying to fit in. I think the author had a bit of an abrupt ending, but it wasn't bad overall. The author is cautious and has a nice way of saying the realities of teenager-dom that other authors try not to touch on, like hubris of a cheerleader, even if it's the main character. At the same time, I think she may have been trying to make main cheerleader Pru a little bit too perfect. Pretty, hardworking, smart, the best cheerleader of the bunch, motivating, with that all-important dazzling smile. That was only a minor bit of story however, where the real story came in about getting on the special magic cheerleading squad of Salem.
   I got the book because it obviously had witches and I really like halloween and all. There were witches for sure... The powers were strong and boundless to the point of you can zap up everything you ever wanted without straining yourself once you're trained. Really cool for witches, but almost a little too much. Still, the magic gave it a definite edge, setting it apart from all the other books about fitting in at a new school.
   The author took a few risks with her words. Personally I know nobody who says "kewl" but maybe in Beverly Hills they say that. Even if they don't the words are pretty okay for the story, because with all the unique language to Pru and her friends it made them seem like they have a little more history with each other, despite the fact that they're stretched across a continent by the time you really know their characters. The one problem with her words-- I felt her writing style was maybe a little young for the character she was trying to portray, a high school sophomore. Pru is very innocent and emotional and seems a little younger sometimes than she maybe should seem.
   I give this book a three. Pretty good, but not one that I'm going to be ranting about to my friends.
   My image is of Pru in the uniform portrayed on the cover. I had mixed feelings about the art. On one hand the fluidity and pose were very cool, but some of the off proportions bothered me, like the tiny feet. So I did my own drawing of Pru, which I hope does her justice.