Cover image for Winter falls
Winter falls
First Edition.
Physical Description:
347 pages ; 21 cm.
General Note:
"The night battles have begun" --Cover.
Geographic Term:
When a new family moves into town, sixteen-year-old Alessia learns that she is a member of the Benandanti, a cult of warriors capable of transforming into animals.


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Alessia Jacobs is a typical sixteen-year-old, dying to get out of her small Maine town. Things look up when a new family comes to town. But as she begins to fall for the hot, mysterious son, Jonah, her life turns upside down.

Weird visions of transforming into an otherworldly falcon are just the beginning. Soon she learns she's part of the Benandanti, an ancient cult of warriors with the unique power to separate their souls from their bodies and take on the forms of magnificent animals.

Alessia never would've suspected it, but her boring town is the site of an epic struggle between the Benandanti and the Malandanti to control powerful magic in the surrounding forest.

As Alessia is drawn into the Benandanti's mission, her relationship with Jonah intensifies. Suddenly forced to weigh choices a sixteen-year-old should never have to make, Alessia witnesses two worlds colliding with devastating consequences.

Author Notes

Nicole Maggi: Nicole was born in the suburbs of upstate New York, and began writing poems about unicorns and rainbows at a very early age. She detoured into acting, earned a BFA from Emerson College, and moved to NYC where she performed in lots of off-off-off-Broadway Shakespeare.

Reviews 3

Publisher's Weekly Review

Drawing on Italian lore, debut novelist Maggi weaves an intriguing though predictable urban fantasy in which rival clans war for control of magical hot spots, including a waterfall near the tiny Maine town of Twin Willows. Sixteen-year-old Alessia Jacobs discovers that she's one of the Benandanti, able to leave her body and soar as a falcon, just in time to join a renewed fight against the evil Malandanti for the waterfall and its power. Meanwhile, she falls for Jonah Wolfe, a newcomer whose industrialist father may be tied to the Malandanti's agenda. As Alessia attempts to balance mundane obligations and her new magical responsibilities, she is forced to make choices that could affect the rest of her life. This first book in the Twin Willows trilogy spends a great deal of time on worldbuilding while leaving much unresolved for future installments. The instant connection between Alessia and Jonah saps much of the initial impact from their blossoming relationship, while later developments-romantic and otherwise-come as little surprise. Ages 12-up. Agent: Irene Goodman, Irene Goodman Literary Agency. (Dec.) © Copyright PWxyz, LLC. All rights reserved.

Kirkus Review

This first book of a planned trilogy finds 16-year-old Alessia Jacobs living in boring Twin Willows, Maine, where nothing ever happensthat is, until the mysterious Wolfe family arrives in town and Alessia's instantly drawn to their attractive son, Jonah. Days later, after encountering Jonah again at school, Alessia's confused by visions of becoming a falcon. She'll soon discover these visions are real: She's a member of the Benandanti, an ancient group of warriors who can separate their souls from their bodies and transform into powerful animals, something they'll rely on to keep potent magic from falling into the hands of the conscienceless Malandanti, foes with similar shape-shifting talents. Deciding whether to accept the Call, Alessia weighs typical teen impulses like wanting to spend time with heartthrob Jonah against the responsibilities Benandanti membership requires. Maggi's pacing is quick, and her imaginative prose (with its ear for dialogue) supports a cast of characters, including Alessia's fiercely protective Italian mother, Lidia. All elements combine to create a nicely textured real world where a surreal battle's set to take place. Intriguing questions set the stage for the sequel: Did Alessia's father's death have anything to do with the paranormal world Alessia finds herself in? How much does Lidia know, and will she play a part in the unfolding drama? Will Jonah and his hard-to-read twin, Bree, be friends or foes in the coming battle? Readers will eagerly await the next installment in this promising paranormal adventure. (Paranormal adventure. 12-16) Copyright Kirkus Reviews, used with permission.

Booklist Review

Twin Willows, Maine, is the most boring place on earth, according to 16-year-old Alessia Jacobs. Then the Wolfe family moves to town, and they have intriguing twins her age: the dark and brooding Bree and the hot, seductive Jonah. She also finds an Italian amulet between bricks in the cellar of her basement, after which she begins to have strange visions where she becomes a falcon. She learns she is benandanti and about their enemies, the malandanti, all ancient warriors that shape-shift, separating their souls from their bodies. Once she accepts the call of the benandanti, she discovers that the waterfall near her home is the center of powerful magic, a site the benandanti must fight to reclaim, even to the death. Although Alessia becomes a formidable warrior, she remains a typical teen who longs for greener pastures, a hot date, and hanging with her friends. Believable relationships, transformation into glorious animals, and the inclusion of environmental issues add freshness to the paranormal genre. Well-paced and exciting, this first installment in the Twin Willows trilogy will satisfy readers looking for another strong female protagonist in the fight between good and evil.--Fredriksen, Jeanne Copyright 2015 Booklist