The Near Witch by Victoria Schwab
Reading level: Young Adult
Hardcover: 282 pages
Publisher: Disney Hyperion CH
Release date: August 2, 2011
Source: Personal Shelf
Reviewed by: Lili
"The Near Witch is only an old story told to frighten children."
"If the wind calls at night, you must not listen. The wind is lonely, and always looking for company."
"And there are no strangers in the town of Near."
These are the truths that Lexi has heard all her life.
But when an actual stranger--a boy who seems to fade like smoke--appears outside her home on the moor at night, she knows that at least one of these sayings is no longer true.
The next night, the children of Near start disappearing from their beds, and the mysterious boy falls under suspicion. Still, he insists on helping Lexi search for them. Something tells her she can trust him.
As the hunt for the children intensifies, so does Lexi's need to know--about the witch that just might be more than a bedtime story, about the wind that seems to speak through the walls at night, and about the history of this nameless boy.
Part fairy tale, part love story, Victoria Schwab's debut novel is entirely original yet achingly familiar: a song you heard long ago, a whisper carried by the wind, and a dream you won't soon forget.
Part fairy tale, part love story, Victoria Schwab’s first novel is certainly the perfect rainy day read. Full of potential, a reader can’t help but look forward to her future novels and the creative stories she has in store for us.
Lexi grew up in the town of Near. Near is a very simple village that is stuck in the old ways, and then a stranger shows up the day before children start vanishing out of their windows without a trace. It’s safe to say that once chaos ensues, the witch hunts begin.
Lexi’s characterization was beautiful. Everyone pushed against her to be more feminine, to wear her beautiful girly shoes instead of her father’s clunky hunting boots and his sheathed knife at her waist. But with his loss, this is how she remains connected to him and his love of the never ending moors that surround the small, circular town of Near. She is a strong heroine that’s very respectful and I loved following her though processes, especially when it came to the magical stranger that she dubbed Cole due to his beautiful eyes.
I enjoyed the importance of witchcraft in this one as well. The village feared the elderly Thorne sisters because they do possess magic, but Lexi embraces them. With their cryptic messages and otherworldly knowledge, she uses them to help discover the cause of the missing children and their whereabouts with Cole before he is captured. The description of the elements and their uses in the magic was amazing as well. The magic and romance weaved into the tale fascinated me, and for a book that literally takes place over the course of a week, I never once felt as if things were rushed. I felt as if the pacing was perfect, and I often looked forward to each night in the novel so that Lexi could once again be with Cole and the horrors could once again ensue.
A must read if you’re looking for something short to tide you over on a rainy day, this story explains things about the myths you have heard as a child that you never once believed, the whispers that are carried by the elements, the fears that are buried deep that you never want to become a reality. The past comes to life in THE NEAR WITCH and it’ll easily ensnare you with the first disappearance. It makes you question your beliefs and the beliefs of others, what myths are real and what aren't, whether you've been fed lies or false truths.
Belief is a contagious thing...what do you believe?