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Parties & Potions    by Sarah Mlynowski order for
Parties & Potions
by Sarah Mlynowski
Order:  USA  Can
Delacorte, 2008 (2008)
Hardcover, CD, e-Book
* * *   Reviewed by Hilary Williamson

Parties & Potions is the fourth entry in the pointy-hatted series that bubbled onto the scene with Bras & Broomsticks, and kept its cauldrons simmering in Frogs & French Kisses and Spells & Sleeping Bags.

Rachel Weinstein is finally where she's wanted to be - she's gained the witch powers that she and her younger sister Miri (Miri's came earlier) inherited from their mother Carol (who kept her own talents a secret even from her husband, now her ex). Rachel has 'the wonderful and gorgeous A-list' Raf Kosraui as her boyfriend and they've finally negotiated that first kiss.

Now, Miri and Rachel discover an entire community of witches through Miri's online friend Wendaline. When Miri learns that there's a debutante ball for young witches (the Samsorta) she persuades both Rachel and their mother that the sisters should participate. To do so, they must attend regular Samsorta classes in Arizona. There, Miri falls for Praw (to her sister's delight) and Rachel befriends a young warlock named Adam.

But all these demands on her time complicate Rachel's life with Raf (who doesn't know she's a witch) to no end, and she starts to feel very uncomfortable about the secrets she's keeping from him and the lies she's telling. On top of which, Miri wants to let their father in on their other lives, something Rachel is totally against, and perhaps with good reason.

As the girls' big moment at the Samsorta cemetery ceremony approaches, all these problems come to a head, while readers wonder how the mundane folk in the sisters' lives will deal with their magical abilities, and whether or not Rachel will learn to be herself, rather than what she feels is needed to fit in. Sarah Mlynowski deals with real teen problems in this engaging series, the magical backdrop resulting in weird and wonderful dilemmas that add to the fun.

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