Too often, I think YA books settle for the tired formula of magical teen romance, which is why I found Natalie Whipple's book House of Ivy and Sorrow so very refreshing. Granted, the main character Josephine has her heart tugged by two very different young men; the wholesome farmer's boy Winn and the enigmatic, dangerous Levi. But this story is so much more than kiss-and-spell. Jo Hemlock comes from a family of witches that is dying out from a mysterious Curse. When the Curse finally snakes its way to Jo's doorstep, she must uncover how its origin is tangled with her family history before its lethal darkness corrupts her. But every use of magic comes with a viscerally painful price, from a toe nail to something more precious even than flesh and blood. Jo must find the courage to pay it. I think what I loved most about this story is that the author doesn't keep a narrow focus on just the love interests; every character matters, from Jo's feisty grandma Nana, to her high school friends Gwen and Kat. Everyone has a part to play, a bond with the other. I think it is the strength of these bonds that ultimately reminds Jo of her own power and worth.
An excellent read! Get it on amazon.