This isn't a book for the faint of heart. In fact, White is for Witching, by relatively new author Helen Oyeyemi, can be downright scary at times. Not unlike chiller-stories like "The House of Usher" (Poe) and "A Rose for Emily" (Faulkner), the bad guy in this story is the house. The Silvers-father Luc and twins Miranda and Eliot-inhabit and run a rambling bed-and-breakfast in the foreboding hills of Dover, England. All three are recovering from the untimely death of wife and mother Lily Silver, who inherited the house from her grandmother. Perhaps most affected is Miranda, who suffers from pica, a strange disorder in which its sufferer eats non-food items, like chalk, dirt, and plastic. Miranda is also beckoned by and entangled in the power of the house, and the house itself is represented by one of the four narrative voices that haunt this tale. Both Miranda and Eliot are recent high school graduates and trying to find a place in a world without their mother; Miranda in the distinguished halls of Cambridge, Eliot in trekking across the world to South Africa. Both are dealing with the overwhelming and suffocating effects of loss and grief, though Miranda's precarious sanity is the main focus; even a fleeting and touching friendship with her classmate, Ore, cannot bring normalcy to Miranda's delicate life. Often disturbing but masterfully written, White is for Witching will keep you up reading late-with all of the lights on.
Recommended by Rachel DeBusk