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The Burning of Isobel Key - Jen McConnel I received this book in a Goodreads First Reads giveaway.

I really wanted to like this book. Scotland- yes! Witches- yes! A twenty-six year old girl looking for love- sure, seems like I could related to that...but I didn't. The main character,Lou, is a twenty-six year old college grad who works in a bookstore, lives with her childhood best friend/roommate in Boston, and has over-bearing wealthy parents in Connecticut that pay her bills for her. The book begins with Lou in a "dark place" or "quarter-life crisis" because she quits her job in a sudden whiny fit of "I can't take this store anymore!" Lou being unemployed without a clue of what she wants to do (except go home, for some reason going back to her rich parents is a HORRIBLE idea to Lou), is supposed to trigger sympathy from readers but instead I only wanted to punch Lou in the face. At least you have the option to go home to mommy and daddy, so suck it up and move on with your life!

Then, her successful roommate Tammy gets a promotion at work and the two are off to Scotland. Lou and Tammy's relationship is a very strange one to me. Tammy is definitely a leader, and Lou is a follower, who silently loathes that her own submission to Tammy. Again, instead of relating to Lou, I was only annoyed by her. I actually, found myself sympathizing with Tammy that she got stuck with such a stuck-up friend on vacation. And, come on, "Tammy leaned against the door, key in hand, and it took all of Lou's willpower not to throttle her friend and leave the alcohol sodden body there on the wet street." Tammy definitely should have brought a better friend with her.

The story improves greatly in the second half, once Lou becomes dedicated to her ridiculous search for clues regarding the life and trial of the "witch" Isobel Key- a search triggered and led on by Lou's dreams and unexplained feelings that this is more important than looking for a job or what she's going to do with her life when she gets home...

All in all, the story was entertaining, especially if you're interested in the historical witch hunts. I found the writing style and plot structure very immature, with all of the just perfect "coincidences," filler dialogue, and even random and unnecessary characters. Though this book isn't particularly long, it could have been much shorter and to the point if the author had cut out all of the irrelevant details. For example, there's an entire paragraph about how embarrassed Lou is that she hasn't seen the movie The Wizard of Oz when Brian refers to it, and the reasons why she hasn't seen it, and now maybe she should see it since Brian has. Yeah...no one cares. There were some other lines that just made me laugh at the author's exaggerated attempts to be creative, like "she felt a pang of worry deep in her spleen." I may only currently be a student in the medical field, but I'm pretty sure that your spleen is not where you feel pangs of worry lol.

I may recommend this book to young readers who won't be too irritated by the writing, but probably not since it is not really a young adult book.