"I used to be one of those girls. The kind who loved to deliver bad news. When I colored my hair, I imagined it seeping into my scalp, black dye pooling into my veins.
But that was the old Lacy. Now, when I cast spells, they are always for good."
16-year-old Lacy believes that magic and science can work side by side. She's a botanist who knows how to harness the healing power of plants. So when her father dies, Lacy tries to stay with her step-mother in Chico, where her magic is good and healing. She fears the darkness that her real mother, Cheyenne, brings out, stripping away everything that is light and kind.
Yet Cheyenne never stays away for long. Beautiful, bewitching, unstable Cheyenne who will stop at nothing, not even black magic, to keep control of her daughter's heart. She forces Lacy to accompany her to Sacramento, and before long, the "old" Lacy starts to resurface.
But when Lacy survives a traumatic encounter, she finds herself faced with a choice. Will she use her powers to exact revenge and spiral into the darkness forever? Or will she find the strength to embrace the light?
Is Lacy Fin a witch or not? Midway through her junior year of high school, this question isn't on her radar. Her father has just died, and she is bracing to return to school under the gentle aegis of her stepmother, Anna. No sooner does Lacy negotiate the potential land mines of a first day back than Cheyenne, her birth mother, reappears three years after abandoning Lacy, demanding custody again. Memories quickly resurface of strange "dreams," spell-casting, confusion, and suffering. Fearing the rage and hate that marked her earlier life, Lacy tries to make space for "the light" she learned from her stepmother, but Cheyenne's erratic, domineering behavior leaves Lacy questioning everything. Compact and intense, it's a bravura examination of neglect, abuse, and survival, though first-time novelist Stirling struggles to resolve the "and then she woke up" moment. The shift in register is softened by her choice to forgo a conventional plot arc, and even if the ending is slightly off-key, the accomplishment of the story as a whole is impressive. Ages 14 up.
Customer ReviewsSee All
Quick, Easy Read
When My Heart Was Wicked has a lot of promise, but is ultimately disappointing. There was seemingly so much thought put into the story, but the ending is rushed and expected. It dances along a dark story, and has some interesting things to say, but it falls flat. Could be due to being written for young readers. I would say this is a good book for a 12/13 year old, not mature readers.