It’s in Our Nature
Jacqueline T. Small
Reviewed by Tammy, Young Adult Review for Reader Views Kids (3-2021)
“It’s in Our Nature,” by Jacqueline T. Small, casts a spell that lures you into the world of witchcraft. The book opens with high school student Jane La Magie researching for a class paper, and then cuts to Agent Joe Stinton, a witchcraft investigator. Readers are then introduced to another agent, Nia Brown. Both are experienced FBI agents and enjoy their work looking into strange, unexplained phenomena such as cults, UFO’s, cyberthreats, etc. If a suspected witch is found, a determination is made to isolate, study, prosecute, or terminate, all in the name of homeland security, of course.
Jack and Ann La Magie have suffered the loss of their son John by the hand of a witch’s spell, and are now trying to raise their surviving children to shun witchcraft and get along in the world without it. They moved from Louisiana to Philadelphia, hoping to turn the page. Ann is a psychiatrist, and John is a history teacher, so between the two of them, you would think they would be a greater influence on their offspring, Jane, Belle, Guy, Fay, and Ray, but that isn’t the case. Their children were born witches, so naturally they are irresistibly drawn to witchcraft, and see nothing wrong with it. Now Jane is about to be formally inducted as a witch by The Witch’s Council. Since witch hunters-disguised-as-agents Stinton and Brown are to arrive in Philadelphia to look into strange events, where does that leave Jane and the others?
Small delivers a simple yet entertaining story about witchcraft, and you will feel the work she put into crafting this novella. Her style of writing is straightforward and lean, giving the essential details of the plot, backstories of the characters, and story arc. Readers will appreciate the explanations of the different kinds of witches, warlocks, spells, and traditions. You’ll also become familiar with Abby, who is turned off by witchcraft and wants nothing to do with it. The author’s details make it easy for readers to follow the story, and things start to spice up when the agents enter the picture and start interviewing witnesses about what they experienced. I think audiences looking for a quick read will be drawn to the story, but it may be a little too fast-paced for those expecting more elaboration or deeper insight. Themes of being treated differently because of who you are can be found in the story. The questions at the end are an interesting addition, just right for a classroom or book club discussion. “The X Files” fans will love “It’s in Our Nature,” by Jacqueline T. Small.