Conjure by Alice Hoffman

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Hello and happy October! This month I’ll be sharing some themed book reviews of the spooky, mysterious, and witchy variety, starting with a review of “Conjure” by Alice Hoffman.

“Conjure” appears in Shadow Show an anthology of short stories written in honor of Ray Bradbury, by twenty-six prolific writers. I posted about this book a few years ago, and recently returned to it after reading Dandelion Wine and wanting to return to the world of Ray Bradbury. “Conjure” seemed like an appropriate story to share for October as it is spooky and evokes a feeling of mystery and surprise.

“Conjure” tells the story of two teenage girls at the end of what will likely be the last summer of their childhoods. I loved that this story featured a librarian, whom one of the girls looks to for life advice. One bit of advice she offers:

“Judge a person the same way you judge a book…a search for beauty and truth, a gut response to what feels a lie, intuition…imagination.”

from “Conjure” by Alice Hoffman

The girls are growing up and, with the arrival of a stranger in town, starting to grow apart. Many rumors about this stranger sweep through town before the girls actually meet him. When they do, I had such a sense of foreboding. He is handsome, older, and purposeful when he speaks to him as if they know him already. He claims to be able to see their futures, which both intrigues and frightens them.

I really admire the way Alice Hoffman was able to evoke a sense of impeding doom in such a short story. I was dreading what may happen, and won’t share the ending, but I will say it wasn’t the worst case scenario that I was imagining.

I’m so glad I remembered this story was part of this anthology. I would definitely recommend it for fall or if you are in the mood for something spooky that is on the lighter side.

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