The Memory Thief (Thirteen Witches #1)

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The Memory Thief  (Thirteen Witches #1)
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Release Date
March 02, 2021
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Twelve-year-old Rosie Singer’s mom is missing whatever it is that makes mothers love their daughters. All her life, Rosie has known this...and turned to stories for comfort. Then, on the night Rosie decides to throw her stories away forever, an invisible ally helps her discover the Witch Hunter’s Guide to the Universe, a book that claims that all of the evil in the world stems from thirteen witches who are unseen...but also unstoppable. One of these witches—the Memory Thief—holds an insidious power to steal our most precious treasures: our memories. And it is this witch who has cursed Rosie’s mother.

In her quest to save her mom—and with her wild, loyal friend “Germ” by her side—Rosie will find the layers hidden under the reality she only thought she knew: where ghosts linger as shades of the past, where clouds witness the world, and a ladder dangles from the moon leading to something bigger and more. Here, words are weapons against the darkness, and witch hunters are those brave enough to wield their imaginations in the face of the unthinkable.

At the core of this stunning novel—the first of the Thirteen Witches trilogy from critically acclaimed author Jodi Lynn Anderson—is a passionate argument that stories have the power to create meaningful change...and a reason to hope even when the world feels crushing.

Editor reviews

2 reviews
Magical, heartwarming story about finding your own brand of bravery
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Rosie Singer knows something is wrong with her mom. She doesn’t comfort her or look at her the way her friend Germ’s mom does to Germ. She writes stories to help her get through it, stories where her mom is under an evil spell just waiting to be broken. Just when Rosie is ready to give up on her stories forever, she finds out that her mom is actually under an evil spell…and it’s up to Rosie to break it. It turns out, Rosie is descended from a long line of witch hunters, and Rosie’s mom has been cursed by the Memory Thief. Together with Germ and a couple of helpful ghosts, Rosie will set out to defeat the Memory Thief once and for all.

THIRTEEN WITCHES: THE MEMORY THIEF is a warm fantasy story about the love and power of imagination and words, the trial of growing up, and learning to be brave in your own way. Rosie is an unconventional protagonist, vastly preferring stories to swords and wanting nothing else in the world but her mom to love her and Germ to not leave her. At her heart, Rosie is brave, loyal, and willing to fight for her mom. She never expects to become as entangled in the world of witches, ghosts, and cloud shepherds, and it’s clear we’re only getting a glimpse of the depth of this world in this first book.

There is much to love in Jodi Lynn Anderson’s new series starter, from Rosie to the world building to the creepy witches to the powerful themes. This is a story that is easy to get lost in and a story to remind readers that hope and imagination are not weak weapons against evil. Rosie’s journey is particularly ideal for young readers who might be a little scared of growing up and growing apart, who aren’t certain about the land of crushes, makeup, and complex friendships.

Bursting with heart and wonder, THE MEMORY THIEF is a powerful, memorable tale and an exciting start to what is sure to be an emotional journey.
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Creepy Fantasy
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Rosie has always taken care of herself and her mother in their house overlooking the coast of Maine. Her mother is very detached and doesn't always recognize her daughter, although she is able to keep up with her data entry job and bring in enough money that Rosie can order groceries and supplies for them online. Rosie has coped with the stress of this by writing stories, and also by hanging out with her supportive friend, Germ. Germ, however, is starting to develop older interests, and tells Rosie that her stories are childish. Rosie burns her stories, which leads to her, as well as Germ, developing the ability to see the ghosts that live in her house. One of these spirits seems especially threatening, but some are supportive. Ebb, the ghost of a young boy, has always watched out for Rosie. He takes her to meet Homer, who tells Rosie some information about her and her family that might account for the new threats. Rosie's mother was the last witch hunter, and the Memory Thief, a witch, has stolen her memory to try to stop her from hunting any more witches. Rosie now has these powers, but must find out on her own what she needs to do. The ghosts help, as does a book her mother had hidden. Rosie must create a magical item she can use as a weapon, delve into the mysterious past of her family, and find a way to save her mother as well as many of the ghosts who surround her. Even after all that, Rosie has angered another witch, the Time Witch, and will have to face off against her, with Germ by her side.
Good Points
This reminded me a bit of Harrison's 13 Treasures, in that it had magic that turned out to be a bit darker than I was expecting. This is also a great friend story, and Rosie's desire to get back a mother she never really knew added another layer of interest. I did appreciate that Rosie soldiered on so bravely and never really complained. There are lots of fantasy books out there, but a lot of those have something indefinable about them that causes them to gather dust on my shelves. A lot of that is due to bad covers, and this cover is very appealing. There aren't as many books about witches as you would suspect, and the world is introduced in a way that make sense, and also makes sense of the bad situation in which Rosie has been living. I'll be very curious to read the next two books in the series.

Germ was a great, outspoken character and a fantastic friend, so I felt especially bad that she was saddled with the nickname "Germ". This had a very intricately drawn magical world that will be perfect for fantasy fans who enjoyed books like Mejia's Paola Santiago and the River of Tears, Ephron's Castle in the Mist, Prineas' The Magic Thief, and the works of E.D. Baker.
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