Born Wicked is Wicked Good

“Everybody knows Cate Cahill and her sisters are eccentric. Too pretty, too reclusive, and far too educated for their own good. But the truth is even worse: they’re witches. And if their secret is discovered by the priests of the Brotherhood, it would mean an asylum, a prison ship – or an early grave.”

born wicked

The heart-pounding young adult novel Born Wicked by Jessica Spotswood centers on sixteen-year-old Cate Cahill. Before her mother died, Cate promised to look after her two sisters, and to keep their witchcraft hidden from their father, their neighbors, and the religious leaders of the community, known as the Brotherhood. Keeping this secret isn’t easy, and when the girls’ new governess arrives, Cate wonders who she can trust.

I had high hopes for this book, and it delivered on every point. After reading a slew of contemporary teen fiction in the past few months, Born Wicked was a delightful change of pace.

Cate is a well-constructed character. She struggles constantly to do right by her family while staying true to herself. The author’s artful hand is constantly pulling Cate back from the edge of melodrama, resulting in a book that is full of tension without being overwrought and depressing. The romance between Cate and Finn, though rushed at times, feels genuine.

Though the setting is described as an “alternate history” of New England in the 1890s, the time period is portrayed accurately and the actions of every character are believable.

Born Wicked is fresh and boldly written, standing out among its genre.  This vibrant period drama was enjoyable from start to finish.

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