Narrator: Eileen Stevens
Published by Freeform
Published on 10 July 2018
Genres: Action & Adventure, Fantasy, Historical, Paranormal, United States, Young Adult
Source: my local library
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Hocus Pocus is beloved by Halloween enthusiasts all over the world. Diving once more into the world of witches, this electrifying two-part young adult novel, released on the twenty-fifth anniversary of the 1993 film, marks a new era of Hocus Pocus. Fans will be spellbound by a fresh retelling of the original film, followed by the all-new sequel that continues the story with the next generation of Salem teens.
Shortly after moving from California to Salem, Massachusetts, Max Dennison finds himself in hot water when he accidentally releases a coven of witches, the Sanderson sisters, from the afterlife. Max, his sister, and his new friends (human and otherwise) must find a way to stop the witches from carrying out their evil plan and remaining on earth to torment Salem for all eternity.
Twenty-five years later, Max and Allison's seventeen-year-old daughter, Poppy, finds herself face-to-face with the Sanderson sisters in all their sinister glory. When Halloween celebrations don't quite go as planned, it's a race against time as Poppy and her friends fight to save her family and all of Salem from the witches' latest death-defying scheme.
Watching Hocus Pocus every Halloween is one of my favourite family traditions. I have loved this cult classic ever since I first saw it when I was about 8 years old, and I’m pretty sure Binx is the reason I have 3 black cats.
It’s not even Halloween season, but I needed a new audiobook, so I borrowed this from my library.
There’s not much I can say about the first half of this book. It’s basically a novelisation of the film, and it’s incredibly well done. I’ve seen the film many, many times, and the word choices, plotting, and pace are all exactly the same. It’s exactly like watching the movie, except in book form. There are only two notable difference between this novelisation and the film, and the first one is that the narrator, Eileen Stevens, doesn’t try to imitate the actors, which I really appreciate. No one can compare with Bette Midler as Winifred Sanderson.
The other key difference is that the novelisation hints at a fourth Sanderson sister, Elizabeth, and she comes into play in the sequel.
Now the sequel I also really enjoyed. At first, I found it really jarring that the author (clearly a pen name or a writing team directed from Disney as they haven’t published anything else before or since) decided to deliver the point of view in first person, from Max and Alison’s 16 year old daughter, Poppy. it was jarring because the film novelisation was told all in third person past tense. I do understand why the sequel was told in first person present tense, because it’s YA and first person present tense is super popular in YA. I’m not a huge fan of present tense, but sometimes it works, and it did largely work in the sequel, too. EXCEPT of course (and I cannot emphasise this enough) sometimes the POV shifted to third person and we, the audience, learned things about the Sandersons that Poppy et al couldn’t possibly know was going on. It was so odd! Why not tell the sequel in third person past as well?
Apart from this strange narrative choice, I really enjoyed the sequel as well. Its plot was similar enough to the original story while also having its own distinct plot and raising the stakes much higher, while making things more difficult for our protagonist, all of which I thought were really well done. I like when sequels tie in to their origin story. It was a fantastic opportunity for nostalgia, and I loved that it was updated to be more modern with Poppy being queer and her diverse friend group because let’s face it, the original was fairly white-centric.
Overall if you like the movie I definitely think you’ll get a blast out of this book just like I did.