Jean must learn to embrace her magical powers in order to stop a jealous cousin from harming those she loves and she must regain confidence in herself so that she can fall in love again. Jean Honeychurch is a farm fresh and country sweet young girl who has moved to the big city in order to escape a stalker from her hometown. Compared to the small town of Hancock, Iowa, Manhattan is a major culture shock for her. She moves in with her Aunt and cousins in their beautiful brownstone house in a wealthy neighborhood and enrolls at Chapman High School which her cousin, Tory, also attends. Right away, she feels awkward and innocent compared to Tory, who has completely changed from the chubby impish little girl she remembered into the sophisticated, moody girl she is now. In particular, Tory isn't afraid to call her by her old name, "Jinx" because wherever she goes, things break or go wrong and she seems to be a bad luck magnet.
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The story begins with Jean crashing one of Tory's secret garden parties where her friends are smoking weed and drinking. Tory is immediately jealous that Jean has attracted the attention of her long-time crush, Zach. That same day, Jean saves Zach from being hit by a bike because she had a premonition. Later that same day, as Jean is nursing her wounds, Tory tells Jean that she must be a witch like her. Tory informs Jean that they are related to a famous witch called Branwen and there is a prophecy that the oldest daughter's daughter will inherit Branwen's magical powers. Tory thinks she is the heir however she grudgingly admits that maybe the powers got bungled through the generations and Jean got some powers, too. When Jean tries to avoid talking about the possibility of magical powers in their family, Tory thinks she is a coward. Jean tries to warn Tory that their magic shouldn't be used for selfish ends but should be used for good - a message which Tory doesn't believe in. Tory shows Jean the "Zach doll" she made which she believes makes Zach pay attention to her but Jean thinks is not real magic at all.
Meanwhile, at Chapman, Jean and Zach are getting along very well. Jean thinks that Zach has a crush on Petra who is the au pair for her younger cousins. In response to Zach's curiosity, Jean explains that she was indeed stalked by a guy back home and that it got so freaky that her parents wanted her to move out of town. Zach subtly asks Jean to hang out with him, more, on the pretense that he owes her his life. Jean, thinking that he's just looking for reasons to learn more about Petra through her, agrees. Tory suspects Zach likes Jean, but Jean, being the innocent girl, insists that she and Zach are just friends.
One day, while cleaning out the Tory's litter box, Jean discovers a photograph of Petra tapped to a dead mouse. Concerned, Jean decides to go to an enchantment store to buy a spellbook that might help her cast protective spells over Petra to protect the au pair from Tory's black magic. Since Zach was around, Jean invites him to come with her, even though she is slightly embarrassed that Zach might think she is weird for wanting to go to a witch's shop. At the shop, she encounters two of Tory's "coven" friends who accuse her of casting a spell to steal Zach from Tory. The store clerk overhears Jean's situation and gives Jean a pentacle necklace that she can wear to protect against black magic. On their way back home, Jean and Zach have a conversation in which Zach reveals that he thinks the whole witch business is silly.
At school, Jean also befriends one of Tory's former best friends, Chanelle. Tory becomes increasingly jealous of Jean because she feels like Jean is stealing Zach and now her best friend, Chanelle. Tory believes Jean is casting spells even though she isn't and she vows that Jean will regret what she does. Meanwhile, Zach asks Jean to come with him on a date to the orchestra. When Tory finds out, she pretends to overdose on Valium so that all the fuss and bother over her will ruin Jean's evening with Zach.
Jean visits the enchantment shop again and learns from the shop clerk that she attracts so much bad luck because her magic's being stifled. The store clerk tells her that she senses Jean is afraid of her own magic so the magic doesn't come out right. In order for Jean to gain control of her magic, she must really embrace it.
One day, Tory tells Jean she wants to apologize about all the drama she's caused and she doesn't want to be play witch anymore. Tory encourages Jean to go ahead and go to the school dance with Zach. Zach feels suspicious that Tory is up to something but Jean, being forgiving and naive doesn't think so.
On the night of the prom, Tory appears with Jean's old boyfriend, Dylan - the same boy who Jean was trying to get away from. In a humiliating scene, Tory reveals that Jean is a witch and made a Dylan doll to make Dylan fall in love with her and go crazy for her to the point of stalking her. Then, to clinch the story, Tory produces the Zach doll that she herself made, except she tries to sell is as if Jean made it. Tory proclaims that now Jean is using her magic to also make Zach fall in love with her. Humiliated and helpless to explain herself, Jean runs home. Zach follows her to try to talk to her but she is too embarrassed to face him.
That same night, Jean is woken up in the middle of the night by a vision of Branwen and she feels the pentacle necklace around her neck protecting her. She wanders out into the garden and sees Tory and her coven of witches. The witches tie Jean up and it is revealed that Tory wants to get Jean's powers and is willing to drink Jean's blood in order to get them. Jean feels angry and frustrated and this somehow frees her from her inhibitions about her own magic. She uses her magic to call up Zach, who is nearby. Zach appears soon after and witnesses the whole horrific ordeal. He frees Jean and threatens to tell Tory's parents what she's been up to. Tory tries to bully Jean into lying on her behalf and saying that she and Jean were only playing but Jean, sick and tired of Tory's antics, finally stands up for herself.
The story ends with Tory being sent to a juvenile camp to work off her problems and Jean and Zach being able to date freely and enjoy the school year without Tory's drama.
Best part of story, including ending:
I thought the twist at the ending where it is revealed that Jean herself had dabbled in love magic was an interesting full circle with Tory's own experience with love magic. I like that Meg Cabot compared how Jean dealt with her magic and how Tory dealt with her magic. One girl tried to use it for good or not at all, the other was using it for selfish ends.
Best scene in story:
My favorite scene was at the end when Zach sees Tory as the crazy, jealous person she truly is. Before that, Zach always thought Tory was manipulative, but this final scene was particularly redemptive as Tory's true nature is revealed in its ugly entirety.
Opinion about the main character:
I like that Jean never thought ill of the people around her - even Tory, who was horrible and manipulative to her. Jean's innocence was also aggravating sometimes, however, as the reader could see Tory's true nature and can't help but wonder why Jean still gives her so many chances.