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Lily Proctor knew she shouldn’t have gone out on a Friday night with her best friend, and now boyfriend, Tristan. Lily has powerfully debilitating allergies, can’t handle even a sip of alcohol, and breaks out in hives at the mere suggestion of shellfish. When the vodka slipped into her soda sends Lily into a fever-induced seizure, she is transported into another world, Salem, by an evil version of herself. Salem features Crucibles (witches who control technology) and monsters that haunt the shadows. On the plus side, the protagonist’s severe allergies are suddenly gone. Lily must befriend Rowan Fall, a moody yet irresistible man who becomes her guardian, and train with Rowan and his friends, Caleb and Tristan (an alternate world version of her boyfriend!) to become the strongest witch Salem has ever seen. Meanwhile, the cruel Lillian is doing everything in her power, including murdering innocents, to stop any scientific advances, and will stop at nothing to see the downcast Outlanders that Lily has allied with completely destroyed. Lily, Rowan, Caleb, and Tristan must use magic to stop Lillian, even at the cost of their own lives. Much like Anna Jarzab’s TANDEM and Shannon Delaney’s WEATHER WITCH, Angelini’s latest series opener combines the best elements of fantasy with hints of science fiction, history, and romance.
-Review originally published in School Library Journal, July 2014.