Release Date: 27th August 2012
Publisher: Allen & Unwin
Add it: Goodreads
Thanks to: Allen & Unwin for the review copy!
When Vania moves from Australia to Summerland, California, the last thing she expects to feel is that she's come home. Maybe it's Summerland's unusual history - Vania is drawn to stories about magic and witchcraft and, as she discovers, the pretty coastal town was settled by Spiritualists.
And Vania's not the only teenager in town interested in magic. There are a few others including good-looking class president Bryce. Together they form their own club - a coven - but when they use their powers to investigate what happened to the mysterious woman of Queen's Cross, something goes wrong.
Vania knows that the coven's power is good but there is evil out there too. Something or someone is determined to hunt them down. What does this force want with the coven. What price will Vania have to pay for the truth?
Vania was always a bit of a loner growing up in Australia - strange things often happened around her - so when her parents decide to move the family to California, she wasn't expecting to fit in with the cool kids. But neither was she expecting to be treated like crap within her first two weeks of school. One of the popular girls, Cassidy, seems to have it in for Vania, so it doesn't help when Cassidy's boyfriend decides he's sick of her attitude and starts hanging out with Vania. Drawn together by a mutual interest in magic, Vania, Bryce, psychic twins Amelia and Alyssa, and new boy Dean, decide to form a coven and get swept up in a town mystery that may reveal more than just a murderer.
At first it seemed like the coven come together a little too conveniently. Vania's the new kid in school and suddenly the popular boy is opening up to her about his Spiritualist side and the twins proclaim they share a psychic bond. But I think perhaps that was the point; that these kind of people are drawn to one another. Like attracts like; that magical calling in them all was like a magnetic pull. They each found a place alongside each other where they finally fit in. With the added perk of practicing magic, of course!
Bryce is the class president, one of the most popular boys in the year and all-around nice guy. I was expecting his situation to be a bit messier; he seemed to break away from his girlfriend and the whole popular group a little too easily. I would have liked to have seen more struggle with escaping the clutches of popularity to hang out with those considered 'outcasts'. Regardless, he proved to be a really genuine guy and found his calling far better in the coven than as mean girl Cassidy's boyfriend. Vania was oblivious to his feelings for her. She was totally crushing on him, she wanted him to like her, but she wasn't picking up on the signs he was giving - a quality many of us have shared, despite our age!
The villain was easy to predict, although I wasn't dead certain on the motives. I began to form a vague idea, but a few of the details remained a little fuzzy. In terms of mystery and unfolding plot, there weren't any unique surprises when compared to the many other witchy novels on the market, but Fiona Horne's own life experience with witchcraft really shone through, making the magic appear all the more authentic. There's attention to detail in the spells, ingredients, the properties of different herbs and crystals, and the power of positive thinking. She also touches on spiritualist/medium elements, which was interesting.
I feel like Witch is better suited to a younger YA audience, as opposed to those who enjoy more mature themed YA. I found it to be a quick read; entertaining and compelling enough to keep you turning those pages, but not exactly one that will linger on your mind in the following days. So if you're looking for something fun, not necessarily world-changing, but a story that you can easily breeze through in a single sitting, then definitely crack open a copy of Witch! Perhaps it will surprise you :)
2.5/5 Golden Apples!
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