Title: Everyone Leaves This Place (Savage Spells #1)
Author: R.B. Shifman
Eighteen-year-old Evee Salazar undergoes an out-of-body experience! She’s feeling the stress of senior year and butting heads with her mom. Worse, Evee secretly falls for Mark Perrino, the new guy in her friend group, even though she suspects he’s stalking her.
To slow Evee’s roll, her mom sends her to sit with Gramma Cynthia on Friday evenings at an assisted living residence. Sounds like an easy task, but Gramma, who’s descended from a long line of witches, decides to switch bodies with Evee on three separate evenings. Goaded by a mysterious friend, Gramma brews up this temporary body-switching remedy to increase her granddaughter’s gratitude. But it only leaves Evee fuming.
Gramma’s body-switching plans lead to mayhem, but the madness doesn’t end there. Evee discovers somebody else with malevolent intentions is casting spells behind the scenes. This shadowy figure has stolen Gramma’s dark-magic spell book. And if Evee can’t figure out who it is, they may destroy her life.
Reading and reviewing this one was a long time coming!
Nowadays a lot of YA books are pretty similar, and it’s often hard to find something that is genuinely unique. That’s not a critique of YA as a whole (it’s my favorite genre) but it is high praise for ELTP. It’s been a long time since I’ve read a book that doesn’t immediately remind me of something else or feel familiar, and that made reading this one a real adventure, where I didn’t see things coming until immediately before they happened.
Everyone Leaves This Place follows high school senior Evee Salazar as she struggles with the stress of being a teenager on the cusp of major change. Immediately, though she’s the opposite of what I was like in high school, she’s very relatable and well-written. She’s strong, but also vulnerable, and it’s in those moments of vulnerability that she truly comes to life. As the story progresses, she really does grow, and it’s clear that it isn’t just because a spell forces her to switch bodies with her grandma. She takes it upon herself to grow, and has true agency.
As for Gramma, I didn’t sympathize with her as much, and really didn’t root for her at all through the story. But that’s just testament to how well she was written, too, that I felt strongly enough to root for her failure. The juxtaposition of both characters was really entertaining, and left me wishing we’d gotten to see more of them stumbling through each other’s lives.
The mythos of this world is very interesting, with a different spin on witchcraft and where it comes from than we usually see. It’s seamlessly woven into the story, and even the bits that are more like exposition don’t even come across that way.
Overall this was a really entertaining book. Though it’s the first of a series, it told a complete story and managed to entice me into wanting more without having to end on a cliffhanger. It was a great start to what I’m sure will be an even better series!