YA Book Reviews by Amy
YA Book Reviews by Amy: Something Wicked This Way Comes
Double, double boil and trouble… three witches set the mood for Shakespeare’s Macbeth, the Wicked Witch of the West from the Wizard of Oz melting into nothing is an iconic climax in both the book and in cinema, the White Witch offering Edmund some Turkish Delight in a hauntingly and devilish fashion trying to turn the Pevensie siblings against each other, and Hermione Granger, the brightest witch of the century. Through out the years, witches have transfixed readers alike: sometimes they are menacing, scary, and all too powerful for our heroes. At other times witches are the heroes by being kind, helpful, and someone the readers could root for.
There are many YA stories about witches and listed here are some of the ones I have enjoyed throughout the years.
Grab your spell book and your broom to join me with these witchy-reads!
Akata Witch by Nnedi Okorafor
Sunny, an African Albino, who currently lives in Nigeria, enjoys the simple things: family, friends, soccer, but Sunny’s appearance, sun sensitivity, and being from America has made her life difficult. One day she finds out that she is special, she begins to have visions of the future and is linked to the spirit world. Sunny begins to learn about her magic and hone her skills, but evil is lurking and threatens the balance.
The setting of this book is so original and our main characters are so likable! This book is magical and connects culture to the enchanted themes. If you liked this book, you must check out the sequel: Akata Warrior.
These Witches Don’t Burn by Isabel Sterling
Hannah is a modern-day witch in Salem Massachusetts and she pretends to be a normal high school student that totally does not have elemental (fire, water, earth, air) magic. At an end-of-school bonfire, Hannah is convinced that someone, a blood witch, is trying to expose or even harm her coven. When the coven leader chooses not to believe Hannah, it’s up to her to figure things out. Another witch, and inconveniently Hannah’s ex-girlfriend, Veronica, seems to be mixed up in this problem, and even more, there is a new girl in town that is as suspicious as she is pretty.
This was truly a fun read. I enjoyed the fact that Hannah had a good relationship with her parents and was able to go to them with her problems and her friendships were strong too. Surprisingly this story has high stakes that will leave readers interested in reading the sequel: This Coven Won’t Break.
Half Bad by Sally Green
Never given a chance to prove himself, Nathan is locked away because of the evilness of his father. Marcus, was the most powerful of black witches that would use cruelty against anyone. Nathan must inherit three gifts from his father to receive his own powers or he will die after he turns seventeen. Fearing himself as a monster, but knowing he must escape his prison if he wants to live. Will he be evil like his father or is he just misunderstood? All Nathan knows that he is treated half bad.
I remember when this book first came out, the buzz caused by YA readers was palatable. There was so much hype around this story and I can understand why: it was a tough and magical read that if read deeper for the themes discuss family and nature versus nurture. You can continue with the trilogy by reading Half Wild and Half Lost.
Jinx by Meg Cabot
Jean has been called Jinx since she could remember; if only it didn’t hit too close to home. Jean has had bad luck and has caused her to endure complicated and unfortunate events to last many life times. After a mishap with terrible consequences, Jean moves away from her small town and moves in with her aunt, uncle, and cousin in New York City. But not everything is what it seems when her cousin, Tory, has a secret… a magical one.
Meg Cabot is just a fun author to read; I never take her books seriously, but they were books of my teenage days! This is one of the many books that I have read because she is the one that wrote the book. It is a cheesy standalone book that is a super quick read!
The Near Witch by Victoria Schwab
In the village of Near, there is a story that has frightened children; a story of a witch that can steal away children in the dead of night. What if there was some truth in the tales? When the wind speaks to someone or the chills that form on the back of their necks, could it be the witch? Lexi grew up hearing these tales, but never believed them until children start to become missing and the townspeople suspect a boy that just moved to Near. Lexi has befriended this boy and believes he could not have done this and something more sinister is behind this.
This book read like a dark fairytale– spooky, but enchanting. I have enjoyed many of Victoria Schwabs‘ books throughout the years, and this is an origin story, a book that debuted this author’s work. This is a great standalone for readers that want a quick read.
Toil and Trouble: 15 Tales of Women & Witchcraft Edited by Jessica Spotswood and Tess Sharpe
This anthology contains 15 original tales of witches and witchcraft from 15 YA authors. Toil and Trouble has stories set in the past, present, and the future; and while the settings might change, the themes stay the same: a girl that believes in herself is indeed powerful and could change the world around her.
Like most short story collections, some stories really resonate with the readers and others are lackluster. I found some really amazing stories that I would easily have devoured if they were full length novels. If you like stories about magic and strong characters, check these stories out!
The Bone Witch by Rin Chupeco
Tea lives in a world in which magic is common, but she possesses bone magic, a rare and ostracized ability that causes fear among her family and village. After her brother dies, Tea accidently resurrects him and lets everyone know of her abilities. When Mykaela, a traveling bone witch, decides to take Tea under her wing and train her to use her abilities. Tea finds out that being a bone witch means there is potential to be a powerful elemental witch called an asha. Will Tea use her magic for good and become a powerful witch? Or will the title of bone witch cause others to believe in her dark magic abilities?
I thought that this was a good witch book; the magic system is not difficult to follow and the setting is very atmospheric. I feel like you dive right into the story and the pacing is alright throughout the book (it does get a little repetitive toward the second half, but it’s not too distracting from the tale). If you liked this book check out the sequels: The Heart Forger and The Shadow Glass.