Everyone said the Graces were witches.

River keeps to herself at her new school, biding her time until she can befriend them. The Graces are the perfect family and they never keep friends for long. Everyone wants their chance but River knows she will be different.

The Graces written in such a way that you’re not quite sure if magic is real or not. The consequences could easily be coincidence and even the Graces flit between denying it and joking about it. There are subtle red herrings too, which make you wonder if there’ll be a supernatural twist around the corner. I thoroughly enjoyed the on edge feeling and a different approach to the well-trodden witch story.

The family is surrounded by urban legend. No one from school has been invited to their birthday parties ever since once incident. The rumour mill went to work and blamed magic, fuelled by the fact they keep themselves to themselves. And then there’s the curse. Are they just a family with bad luck or could there really be something to it?

River idolises the Graces but not exactly for the same reasons as the other kids. She wants close to their magic but she becomes drawn into their family anyway, a real friendship blossoming between her and Summer. But River can’t see past her obsession to see the cracks in the family everyone already thinks is perfect.

They needed these things that helped them make sense of the world; otherwise it all just descended into confused, miserable chaos. I understood the comfort of that.

River is kind of a hard character to love, but her flaws make her so much more believable. I actually felt a whole boat load more sympathy for the Graces. They can’t help the family they are born into, the suspicion and superstitions that hang round them. River is using them in a way, although I think there was some genuine affection at one point.

It’s a story about wanting to belong and fix mistakes as much as about a desire for there to be more to life, that need for magic to exist. A faith in something which keeps us going…

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Book Source: Illumicrate