I don’t understand what The Second Life of Ava Rivers by Faith Gardner is about, to be completely honest. Is it about a missing girl? A kidnapped girl? A runaway? Is there magic involved? Not? And while I’m certainly curious enough to ask these questions, I can’t say I’m all that invested in reading the book in order to find the answers. I don’t know what it is about this story, but it definitely feels like one I probably wouldn’t enjoy. Especially when I can’t quite bring myself to care about figuring out the answers to my questions.
Ava’s disappearance was the crack in the Rivers family glacier. I wish I could explain to you how we were before, but I can’t, because the before is so filmy and shadowed with the after.
The after is all Vera remembers. When her twin sister, Ava, disappeared one Halloween night, her childhood became a blur of theories, tips, and leads, but never any answers. The case made headlines, shocked Vera’s Northern California community, and turned her family into tragic celebrities.
Now, at eighteen, Vera is counting down the days until she starts her new life at college in Portland, Oregon, far away from the dark cloud she and family have lived under for twelve years. But all that changes when a girl shows up at the local hospital.
Her name is Ava Rivers and she wants to go home.
Ava’s return begins to mend the fractures in the Rivers family. Vera and Ava’s estranged older brother returns. Vera reconnects with Max, the sweet, artistic boy from her childhood. Their parents smile again. But the questions remain: Where was Ava all these years? And who is she now?
I don’t even recognize a single author that is featured in the Toil and Trouble anthology. And I’m not a big fan of witches and witchcraft to the point that I’d be really excited to read this. Anthologies, I’ve come to realize over the years, aren’t entirely my thing anyway. I’d almost be interested due to the diversity piece, but I don’t want to read something solely for diversity when I’m fairly positive that I wouldn’t enjoy it in the long run. So, it’s looking to me like this one wont be on my TBR either.
A young adult fiction anthology of 15 stories featuring contemporary, historical, and futuristic stories featuring witchy heroines who are diverse in race, class, sexuality, religion, geography, and era.
Are you a good witch or a bad witch?
Glinda the Good Witch. Elphaba the Wicked Witch. Willow. Sabrina. Gemma Doyle. The Mayfair Witches. Ursula the Sea Witch. Morgan le Fey. The three weird sisters from Macbeth.
History tells us women accused of witchcraft were often outsiders: educated, independent, unmarried, unwilling to fall in line with traditional societal expectations.
Bold. Powerful. Rebellious.
A bruja’s traditional love spell has unexpected results. A witch’s healing hands begin to take life instead of giving it when she ignores her attraction to a fellow witch. In a terrifying future, women are captured by a cabal of men crying witchcraft and the one true witch among them must fight to free them all. In a desolate past, three orphaned sisters prophesize for a murderous king. Somewhere in the present, a teen girl just wants to kiss a boy without causing a hurricane.
From good witches to bad witches, to witches who are a bit of both, this is an anthology of diverse witchy tales from a collection of diverse, feminist authors. The collective strength of women working together—magically or mundanely–has long frightened society, to the point that women’s rights are challenged, legislated against, and denied all over the world. Toil & Trouble delves deep into the truly diverse mythology of witchcraft from many cultures and feminist points of view, to create modern and unique tales of witchery that have yet to be explored.
Neither one of these books ended up on my TBR. But maybe they’ll end up on yours? Check them out, see if they’re for you, let me know what you think in the comments! and happy reading!