Her fifth novel in just over two years, Nicole Campbell presents The Tower, a young adult story of life, love, death, and loss. Setting her tale in Elizabethtown, Illinois, and distinguishing it with a foundation in witchery, Campbell tells the otherwise familiar story of three teenagers who have grown up together and are now learning how to navigate through the realities of life.
Rowyn, Reed, and Rosalyn are as close as three friends can be. Having been raised as members of the same “Circle,” their families’ beliefs in witchery knit them close as the characteristic that sets them apart from the other kids at school. Outside of their beliefs, though, Rowyn, Reed, and Rosalyn are every-day teenagers that struggle with coming of age, relationships, what to do after high school, and even the effects of sudden tragedy.
While the staple themes of a young adult novel are well carried throughout the novel, the significance of some of the witchery signified in the story isn’t directly communicated. For example, the Tower card is drawn periodically during readings, but without an understanding of tarot cards and their meanings, the connotation is lost to the reader. It is not until the last page of the book that some connection is made between events in the story and drawings of the Tower card:
“The Tower card hadn’t lied. Everything crumbled and fell, and it took pieces of me with it.” Excerpt From: Nicole Campbell. “The Tower.” iBooks.
Campbell writes well while switching between points of view of each of the teenagers. She is attentive to differing reactions that each character might have to the same event, and is able to understand and communicate emotional struggle. The Tower is an approachable story, remaining realistic in its “paranormal” basis, welcoming any reader of general young adult fiction.