Tina Connolly – Seriously Shifted

Teenage witch Cam isn’t crazy about the idea of learning magic. She’d rather be no witch than a bad one. But when a trio of her mother’s wicked witch friends decide to wreak havoc in her high school, Cam has no choice but to try to stop them.

Esmeralda is the mean girl of the witches. Valda likes to drop anvils on people’s heads. And Malkin—well, Malkin is just plain terrifying. Their idea of fun is a little game—they each pick a student from Cam’s high school and compete to see who can make their teen the most miserable. But Cam suspects one of the witches may have an ulterior motive… which means someone at school could be in worse danger yet.

Now Cam’s learning invisibility spells, dodging exploding cars, and pondering the ethics of love potions. All while trying to keep her grades up and go on a first date with her crush. If the witches don’t get him first, that is.

Can’t a good witch ever catch a break?

Seriously Shifted is the second book in Tina Connolly’s Seriously Wicked series but it is actually the one I read first. And it was such a fabulous read that immediately took to the internet and ordered the first book, because I had to know how Cam’t story started. However, it is important to note that Seriously Shifted stands on its own very well. I never felt lost or like I’d missed some vital information. As such, if you haven’t read Seriously Wicked yet, you shouldn’t hesitate to start with Seriously Shifted, because it is a complete story on its own. 

Having accepted her witchy heritage, in Seriously Shifted Cam needs to work out how she can combine her principles and her desire to do no harm with the actual practice of doing magic. Since so many spell ingredients are dependent on animal parts she’s having a hard time figuring out how to tweak them to make them animal-friendly. And of course there is the age-old question whether love spells are ethical. If you make someone fall in love with someone they do not like, is that evil? Watching Cam thinking through these dilemmas and trying to judge when the ends justify the means, if ever, was not only a lot of fun, but it also made me think of how hard it is to square away ideals with reality. This is something that is uniquely interwoven with growing up and creating your own identity when you are a teen, but it is also something that is universal to many ages. I’m long past my teens and I still find myself struggling to work out how to make peace between my ideals and what is actually possible and realistic. (One example: I’d never say “Because I say so” to my kids, I’d always explain why. Six years in, I laugh at my idealistic naivety!)

With the question of when do the ends justify the means the central thematic question for Cam in this book, Connolly builds a highly entertaining story for Cam to explore this in. Cam’s mum has visitors in the form of her old friend group from university, the self-styled Do Badders Club. I thought these witches were hilarious. They were absolutely wicked and obviously unapologetic for that fact. Traditionally they have a bet every reunion and this time that bet means trouble for Cam. I loved the way Cam tried to ferret out which witch picked which student through logical deduction and managed to miss some of the completely obvious signs of her own role as victim. I also loved that she is determined to help the victims and protect them from any ill effects, but that this leads directly to her having to confront the clash between her morals and expediency.

Cam is less alone in this book as well. Since Jenah and Devon have discovered her true nature in Seriously Wicked, she now has two allies who can help her keep people safe, not to mention the fact that there are a few more people who join that select group. In a way, Cam collects her own Scooby Gang around her and I really liked the dynamics between the various members. One unexpected addition is the school’s star quarterback Leo, who turns out to have some special abilities of his own and definitely needs protecting. I loved how he became a slight hitch in the developing romance between Cam and Devon, but that Devon ultimately trusts Cam. Leo is a fascinating character in and of himself though, separate from his role in the romance. His home life and the difference between what he seems and what he is like as a person were very cool.

Seriously Shifted was another hilarious read from Tina Connolly, dealing with some heavier themes with a very light touch. I had a fantastic time with this story and it has definitely got me hooked on the series. I very much hope there will be more books featuring Cam and the gang, because I can’t wait to spend more time in this universe.

This book was provided for review by the publisher.