Book Review: Hocus Pocus & The All-New Sequel by A. W. Jantha
Hocus Pocus is beloved by Halloween enthusiasts all over the world. Diving once more into the world of witches, this New York Times bestselling 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 vile scheme.
I’m going to be honest, if there ever was a sequel that didn’t need to exist, this one is it. For one thing, they wrote the first half of the book based on the the movie Hocus Pocus. The movie left no questions, other than maybe did Jay and Ernie/Ice get out of those cages. Other than that, we didn’t have any questions. It never once occurred to us that the Sanderson sisters might find a way to come back. The way the movie is set up, it is pretty obvious that they’re supposed to be gone forever once the sun rises if they don’t get to use the life potion. Not to mention, honestly, if you’re picking this book up, you’ve probably already seen the movie so you know the story. You don’t need the first half of the book.
As far as the sequel, it wasn’t necessary. It didn’t seem like there was anything in “The All-New Sequel” that was worth having put down on paper. The writing was great, the characters were great, the main character of the story, Poppy, is a member of the LGBT community – although you have no idea how “out” she is – her best friend Travis knows, but there’s no indication until the very end of the book that anyone else knows. You only know because she has a crush on her friend. It’s never implicitly stated.
Poppy’s best friend Travis and her love interest are both black. So there are other races represented in this book as well. But the fact of the matter is, no matter how good the writing was, no matter what kind of representation there is, the book wasn’t a necessary addition to the franchise.
There are rumors going around that there might be a movie made of the sequel. Perhaps it would have been better to just make the sequel as a movie in the first place, if it those rumors are true. I know I’d rather have watched it than read it, since originally Hocus Pocus was just a movie.
I gave the book 3 stars because it’s not a terrible book, I just don’t think it was really a necessary book.