ARC Book Review: Toil & Trouble: 15 Tales of Women & Witchcraft edited by Jessica Spotswood & Tess Sharpe

Release Date: August 28, 2018
Publisher: Harlequin Teen
Format: ebook
Pages: 352 pages
Genre:  YA
Buy: Kindle Hardcover 


Scorn the witch. Fear the witch. Burn the witch.

History is filled with stories of women accused of witchcraft, of fearsome girls with arcane knowledge. Toil & Trouble features fifteen stories of girls embracing their power, reclaiming their destinies and using their magic to create, to curse, to cure—and to kill.

A young witch uses social media to connect with her astrology clients—and with a NASA-loving girl as cute as she is skeptical. A priestess of death investigates a ritualized murder. A bruja who cures love sickness might need the remedy herself when she falls in love with an altar boy. A theater production is turned upside down by a visiting churel. In Reconstruction-era Texas, a water witch uses her magic to survive the soldiers who have invaded her desert oasis. And in the near future, a group of girls accused of witchcraft must find their collective power in order to destroy their captors.

This collection reveals a universal truth: there’s nothing more powerful than a teenage girl who believes in herself.


I don't usually like short stories but I was really drawn into this book. While most of the stories were well done and really spoke of women owning their power and not letting others tell them how to behave some were just not all that good. I was encouraged that about 1/3 of the stories featured lesbian characters which is a refreshing switch from most mainstream books I've read, I particularly liked the one where the main character is given a male soul mate only to have her reject this because she had already fallen in love with her childhood girlfriend. There are definitely some stories in this collection that are well worth a read, while I wish the editors would have looked a little more closely at some of the others and given them a pass. However stories of empowering young women will always be a hit in my book!

Disclaimer: I received an advanced copy of this book from the publisher through in exchange for an honest review.

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