When she was a little girl in a playground game, Toni learned about princesses and witches. Though being a princess is glamorous, it’s the witch, Toni decides, who has the real power. Later, after the popular Chloe and her entourage make Toni’s high school life a living hell, Toni joins fellow exile Cassandra and performs a spell to stop Chloe and her antics. Only, the results are far worse than Toni expected. And when Cassandra chooses Toni’s best friend as the next target of her wrath, Toni knows it’s up to her to stop the witch from putting another princess under her spell.
While the princess and witch themes are thought-provoking and twist together nicely in the story’s resolution, the occult experimentation may be too creepy for some readers. The creative conclusion, which focuses on solidarity and compassion, is the greatest strength of this story. Through the prism of the fairy tale, Fredericks explores the power of hate and ill will versus the power of love, compassion, and understanding, weaving them into a powerful anti-bullying message.
Toni finds herself in a mess of trouble with Chloe because over the summer, while Chloe and her boyfriend Oliver were taking a break, Toni and Oliver began an intimate relationship. No detailed accounts of their time together make it into the pages of the story, but Tony recollects that she’s been in several short-term, intense relationships. There’s little emotional fallout for Toni, and even when her recent relationship with Oliver reaches its disappointing end, Toni is more angry that he won’t defend her to Chloe than hurt that she’s being dumped so easily. For a girl who’s barely recovering from knowledge of her father’s affair with a young woman, this lack of emotion in Toni seems too convenient and highly suspect.
Toni and Cassandra read spells from Cassandra’s Book of Shadows. They practice casting a hex on other girls using a focused, mean gaze. Together, they follow a spell which includes blood in order to place a curse on a girl who antagonizes Toni. It’s vivid and pretty creepy.
References to parties at which teens were drinking alcohol. One drunk teen is killed in an accident.