Hocus Pocus & the All New Sequel – A.W. Jantha

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(A.W. Jantha, 2018)

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.

(via Goodreads)

***Please note that for the majority of the review, I am talking about the sequel, and not the novelization of the movie***

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What I Liked

  • Hocus Pocus ya’ll!
    • I mean I don’t have to say that much, do I? It’s Hocus Pocus! One of my all time favorite movies, ever. I simply MUST watch it every year (usually multiple times) and just I live that life man. I am behind it. I love it so much, so anything Hocus Pocus I am usually down with, unless it is a REMAKE of the OG movie, or you know, a terrible sequel…heh heh…
  • Diversity
    • I loved how this story has some serious diversity! I liked that they tried really hard to make sure this book felt relevant and current. There are many representations in this, which I can appreciate, so hats off to Jantha for making those important to the heart of this sequel.
  • Similar to movie
    • I liked that the author tried really hard to capture the goofy-ness of the movie in this sequel. She really kept the mood pretty much the same, which I appreciate. Hocus Pocus wasn’t meant to be a spooky Halloween movie. In fact, it was made because the writers noticed an obvious absence of “family” Halloween tales, so they created this masterpiece.
  • Illustrations
    • I really liked the pictures at the beginning of each chapter! They were super cute and I enjoyed looking at them before moving on to the text. I also really enjoyed the cover.

What I Disliked

  • The fact that there is a sequel
    • OOOOH BOY it’s about to get awkward in here. While I respect that they wanted to do something special to mark the 25th anniversary of this iconic movie, they did NOT have any business creating a sequel. There…I said it. It was cute, don’t get me wrong, but completely unnecessary.
  • The sisters
    • I HATED how the author portrayed the Sanderson Sisters. I mean I know that Sarah is not the smartest one in the bunch, and that Mary does whatever Winnie says, BUT they felt very “cookie cutter” and flat to be honest. They didn’t come across as rich and interesting as the movie. Their characters were just a minor annoyance to be honest. They felt relatively easy to beat, and the main characters just happen to have a bad string of luck.I really believe that the Sanderson sisters had more depth to them than what was put out in this book.
  • The FOURTH sister
    • NAH. No. You don’t get to just poof another unspoken sister into your sequel so that one of the main characters can be a witch. NOPE. Ain’t buying it. It is not cannon. It does not exist. If there WAS another Sanderson, we would have known about it. I will not believe that this is a legitimate story line.
  • “Mother”
    • I think the author really missed the mark with this one. We know that there are only two people in the whole world that these sisters worship, “Master” and “Mother.” Lucky for us, Mother makes an appearance, however short, and my goodness was it underwhelming. She was again, super flat, and really uninteresting. I feel like the author had ample opportunity to make this witch someone worth bringing back from the dead, someone worth worshiping the way the sisters do, but no, turns out she is flat, uninteresting, and easy to fool/kill. Her time was short lived and the character was completely underused.

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Final Thoughts

This one hurt guys. I got it because well, I love Hocus Pocus, and honestly I loved the cover and the little chapter header illustrations, but the sequel itself fell very short for me. I understand that it was supposed to be as “ridiculous” and “cheesy” as the movie comes off as, but I just really did not like it at all. I felt like they completely missed the mark with key characters, and the whole fourth sister plot line really really did not feel believable at all. I mean everyone told me to go in with low expectations but the fact that there was no way to prepare for that disappointment. I mean I am glad I own it, I probably won’t read it again though.

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What do you guys think? Did you read this sequel this spooky season? Let’s chat!

10 thoughts on “Hocus Pocus & the All New Sequel – A.W. Jantha

  1. I LOVE Hocus Pocus but I didn’t have any interest in this book. After reading your review, I’m glad I didn’t bother trying it. A fourth sister? No!!

    Liked by 1 person

  2. I’m not the biggest Hocus Pocus fan (somehow I didn’t know the film existed until much, much later in life). But this book didn’t click with me, even with the minor knowledge I have. Characterizations felt off, and the tone of the book just didn’t match the film. This was one book that didn’t need to be made. :/

    Liked by 1 person

    1. It is actually perfectly ok that you didn’t connect with the movie until much later. Fun Fact- Hocus Pocus when it was originally released in theaters in 1993 was a complete flop! It didn’t become popular until Disney Channel started playing it (or maybe it was just ABC Family) a few years after it had already been out.
      But I agree with you about the book. Everything was off about the book to be honest. I really liked that they tried so hard to modernize it with such a diverse cast of characters but that is about all I got from it that was positive.

      Liked by 1 person

      1. That’s so interesting to hear! I would not have pegged Hocus Pocus as a film that would do better with younger audiences. That beginning is waayy darker than I would have expected.

        Yeah, the book did give some nice modern twists but the plot was just… it didn’t need to have a revival, let’s keep it at that.

        Liked by 1 person

  3. 😂😂 I had a feeling this would be the response to it when I saw it was coming out! Kudos for giving it a go anyways. I agree that a sequel wasn’t really needed. It’s nice that they kept the same kind of feel to it, but… A 4th sister? Why would they even DO THAT? 🤔

    Liked by 1 person

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