Sarah is a high school girl from the town of Paradise, which is predominantly Christian. Having been raised in the faith, she is confident of God’s love for her. But when she goes through several traumatic losses, Sarah begins to experience a high level of doubt, and she turns to witchcraft to gain control over her own life. She is a good girl, has never had boyfriends, and until her issues, was an active participant in the church with several ‘Christians’ who she admires and looks up to. She is very naïve, having no knowledge of the things she is getting involved with, or the depth of how evil it really can be. Sarah is of average height and weight, with long brown hair and eyes; she is a good student, responsible, and helps her family out in every way she can. Sarah also ends up meeting Ryan Morris, the new kid in town, and their friendship and witchcraft secrets soon develop into a bit more; he is technically her first boyfriend, but unfortunately, he is in the wrong place at the wrong time. Ultimately, her heart is in the right place, but she lets her circumstances lead her into deep trouble.
This good-looking young man is new to Paradise, but he has an attraction to the aloof Sarah from the start. He is kind and soft-spoken, with a nature that wants to help those in need or trouble. Ryan also has courage; when he cannot get through to Sarah and get close to her, he is not afraid to go to crazy lengths to get into her life. Unfortunately, Ryan falls victim to a terrible illness which, unbeknownst to anyone, is a spell which has been cast by those in the book with evil intent. He, too, is an only child, which makes the situation even more horrible for his parents, who have no idea of the dark things that are actually going on in Paradise.
Sarah’s maternal grandmother is a beautiful widow who is active in the church, playing piano for the congregation during services and participating in other activities. Sarah is the apple of her eye, and the two are as close as if the girl were her own daughter. Emma is funny and light-hearted, and she has a very strong faith, which she has handed down to her granddaughter over the years. Emma passes away early in the book, which Sarah witnesses. This is the first loss suffered by the girl, which proves to harden her heart just enough to push her away from God, preparing the road for the other losses in this evil scheme, as well.
Sarah’s loving mother is also best friend to her father, Kent, and wonderful wife to him as well. She is another devoted Christian, and she has made it her life’s work to raise her young daughter properly in the faith. While she doesn’t have a huge part in the actual storyline, it is Amelia’s death from breast cancer that is the final catalyst that pushes Sarah all the way over the edge to rebellion.
After losing his wife, mother-in-law, and family dog, Kent remains the strength of his and Sarah’s home. He struggles to make ends meet, working so much that he hardly sees his daughter, but this prompts her to take a job. He loves her very much, and in his grief is doing the very best he can to look out for her, but he has absolutely no idea what she has gotten herself into. His need to keep things going has blinded him to the changes which have taken place in Sarah; his frequent absence has also given Sarah free reign to delve into the dark arts deeper and deeper.
The wife of Pastor Paul Bailey has known Sarah all of her life, and she seems to be one of the great strengths throughout the book. The woman not only handles all the church activities, but she also serves by being there for those in turmoil. She tries to reach out to Sarah several times in her grief but is refused due to Sarah getting a weird vibe from her. There is, indeed, more to this woman than meets the eye, however. Could she really be trusted?
Pastor Paul Bailey
The head shepherd of the Paradise Church of Christ is a good man, and unfortunately, he will also be an unwitting victim to the craft. Paul is not in a lot of scenes, but he begins to piece together some very disturbing facts, and it proves to be his demise. Essentially, he is a good man, but his naivety and trust are his undoing.
Michelle has been best friend with Sarah all her life. They do everything together, from church and school to participating in the church softball team. Like Sarah, she has no boyfriend; her love at this time in her life is God. Michelle has her head on straight; she sees things as they are, and she tries to help Sarah do the same after losing her grandmother and her dog Mitzi. She manages to get through to the girl, but Michelle is forced to move away soon after the first two losses, which only proves to be yet another for Sarah. Otherwise, she is a true encourager, and she loves her friend.
Laura is a very interesting character. The 47-year-old church secretary knows something terrible is happening in the small town; she relocated to Paradise when she made her ‘life change’. Laura is educated in the ways of witchcraft, and once she understands what is happening, she is able to go to Sarah and tell her a truth so terrible that it is incomprehensible for the girl. Laura winds up being Sarah’s most dependable help and support in the fight against evil, but can she really be trusted, or is she going to turn out to be like the rest?