My rating: 3.5 of 5 stars
I would like to preface this with the fact that I haven’t watched Hocus Pocus in super long, so I don’t really remember the plot. I had hoped to watch it shortly after reading the book and compare it, but I just haven’t had the time. As a result, my review is strictly about the contents of the book and the writing as a whole.
The story was fun and the characters were memorable, as one might expect since they were established 25 years ago and are just being adapted into this YA novel. The story definitely made me realize that the movie was a little less kid-friendly than I had remembered? As I’m reading the book, I’m thinking about the fact that my little cousin wanted to watch it with me for Halloween and I ended up nixing that idea. It’s okay for a YA audience though, I just wouldn’t necessarily let children or even younger middle-grade kids read it.
The first half of the book was an adaptation of the movie Hocus Pocus. The second half of the book was a continuation of the story in the present day. Yes, Allison, Dani, and Max defeated the Sanderson Sisters – but unfortunately, they’re back. No thanks to Allison and Max’s daughter, Poppy, and her friends. The story was light, spooky fun but it wasn’t particularly fantastic. Atmospherically, it was a perfect read for Halloween and October.
We were introduced to four new main characters: Poppy, Isabella, Travis, and Katie. As the daughter of Max and Allison, Poppy was our main character and of course, the one that set the Sanderson SIsters free. Again. Isabella was Poppy’s love interest in the book and unfortunately pulled a Princess and the Frog, so I feel that we didn’t really get to know or appreciate her character as much as we could have. Travis was Poppy’s best friend who is smart and sometimes makes terrible jokes? That’s about all I can tell you. Finally, we have Katie the typical mean girl who may have some hidden depth? Honestly, the characters felt both underdeveloped and tropey – so I wasn’t really impressed.
Our original characters, Max, Allison, Dani and even a certain bully made appearances in this book – but they were legitimately unrecognizable. They seemed like nice enough adults, but I would have never said – oh that’s Max! Or that’s clearly Dani right there. They just seemed like completely different characters.
Finally, we had the re-emergence of the Sanderson Sisters. Can I just say that I listened to the audiobook and even then, songs (especially long ones) do not translate well into book form? Oh Winnie… oh Mary, please stop. They were bad, they made Sarah sing, Winnie abused her sisters.. it was all pretty typical and not super memorable. Honestly, that kind of explains the whole book for me. Yes, it was a fun spooky Halloween read, but it wasn’t amazing or anything? It was more the nostalgia factor and I totally don’t remember the movie – so was it really even that? I’d recommend reading it if you want an adaptation of a cult classic Halloween movie, but don’t put too much pressure on it.