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Literature / Tripswitch

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"Let it be the way it seems."

Tripswitch is a 1993 Young Adult novel by New Zealand author Gaelyn Gordon.

When cousins Jocasta, Flora and Cilla each lose their parents, they are each sent to live with their Aunt Lureene, who uses witchcraft to make others bend to her will. The three cousins begin to investigate their aunt, and with the help of a local teenager who is desperate to find a girlfriend, they attempt to rescue themselves.


  • Black Magic: Of the Cost kind. Lureene intends to sacrifice her nieces until she realizes that if she wants things to last, she must use her own children.
  • Blonde, Brunette, Redhead: Cousins Cilla, Jocasta and Flora. Cilla is a blonde, Jocasta has dark hair and Flora is a redhead.
  • Brainy Brunette: Jocasta, the dark-haired girl, likes school and wants to get a good education. Her original Establishing Character Moment is her not wanting to look after her cousins all day because she doesn't want to miss double science at school.
  • Casanova Wannabe: Andrew Arnott, who presents himself as Casanova in order to impress Cilla but it doesn't work on her. He becomes more successful when he works out that Cilla is in danger and tries to help them.
  • Did Not Die That Way: The cousins' parents all died in the way they are told (especially since Cilla was at least fourteen when her parents died) but in each case, as they discover, Lureene caused the deaths of every parent except for Flora's father.
  • Everyone Loves Blondes: Andrew is desperate for one of the three girls to like him, but he makes it pretty clear that Cilla, the blonde, is the one he's the most interested in.
  • In-Series Nickname: Lureene's group leader calls her "Liar".
  • The Nicknamer: Lureene gives nicknames to her nieces: "Joke" (Jocasta), "Flaw" (Flora) and "Silly" (Cilla).
  • Stalker with a Crush: Andrew keeps hanging around outside the house, trying to get a chance to talk to Cilla. This eventually enables him to help the girls.
  • Theme Twin Naming: Lureene's sons are twins called Cain and Abel.