236 pages
ISBN 1-55022-611-8
DDC C813'.54






Reviewed by Susan McKnight

Susan McKnight is an administrator of the Courts Technology Integrated Justice Project at the Ontario Ministry of the Attorney General.


Spells is a very different novel. It is a coming-of-age story about
Andrew, an adolescent, and his father, who try to establish a
relationship after the strange, untimely death of Andrew’s mother. The
use of magic or the dependency on the ability of magic to make desirable
things happen seems to be the string that holds the characters together.
More grounded in reality is the relationship between Andrew and his
father—a combination of love and confusion—and Andrew’s social

Andrew is also grappling with his awakening sexuality and his need to
be a part of something. This side of his story plays out in his
relationship with Stacy, the only friend his own age. The connection
with the bizarre spiritual group and their obsession with all things
Egyptian adds to the mystery of the story. Meeting these people could be
Andrew’s big break!

R.M. Vaughan is a Toronto-based poet, playwright, novelist, and
filmmaker. The descriptions of landscapes and locations in this
well-written novel are especially beautiful. There are graphic
descriptions in parts of Spells, so it is definitely not for the


Vaughan, R.M., “Spells,” Canadian Book Review Annual Online, accessed July 12, 2024, https://cbra.library.utoronto.ca/items/show/17721.