Release Date: Aug. 2, 2011
Pages: 288 pages
Rating: 4 stars
Source: ARC from Publisher through NetGalley
Goodreads Summary: 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.The The Near Witch is described as being “part fairy tale, part love story,” and that is right on point. The story has many elements of a classic fairytale: an isolated village set the past and steeped in folklore, a haunted area (in this case, a moor that borders the village), magic and of course, love. Victoria Schwab’s writing is beautiful and lyrical. The characters are rich and well rounded and the setting spooky and perfect for the story.
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.
Lexi is a great main character. She is smart, resourceful, loving and protective of her family. She chooses to be a tracker and hunter, like her father, instead of a more traditional role for a girl in her village. She is also a sleuth determined to find out what is happening to the missing children instead of jumping to conclusions and blaming the stranger for taking them. Cole, aka the stranger, is a wonderful mixture of strength and vulnerability, I loved him! The relationship between Lexi and Cole is very sweet and one of my favorite parts of the book, second only to Ms Schwab’s writing. I did find Lexi’s memories of her father’s worshipful reverence of the moor to be very spooky mainly because I found the moor to be very spooky.
I was a good girl and did not skip ahead to find out the answers to the book’s mysteries and am so happy that I waited. The Near Witch is easily a standalone book. It has a nice, steady pace and picks up at the end for satisfying conclusion.
Content: Kissing and some violence.