FICTION

Half-Witch

300p. Big Mouth House. Jul. 2018. Tr $18.99. ISBN 9781618731401.
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Gr 7 Up—Fourteen-year-old Lizbet Lenz is used to not getting close to anyone and having to flee in the middle of the night thanks to her father's penchant for getting in over his head. When he gets thrown into jail for causing a rain of mice it's up to Lizbet to rescue him by scaling mountains everyone claims are impassable. As she travels, she gains a companion in Strix, a witch who doesn't believe in friendship but looks out for Lizbet as she gets into trouble. This fantasy adventure has strong spiritual undertones, where God is not a distant unreachable figure, but someone who people can have a conversation with when they take Communion. Lizbet wrestles with her religious views as she is propelled into a world of goblins and demons in order to free her father and stop herself from being sent to an orphanage. The world feels like an antiquated version of our own—albeit with magic—though the exact time period is not clearly defined. Almost every movement made by Lizbet and Strix gets them into some kind of difficulty, which maintains a quick-paced plot and the threat of danger around every corner. Characters are initially childish in their beliefs and stubborn when those beliefs come into question. However, both Lizbet and Strix manage to grow over the course of the narrative.
VERDICT An additional purchase for YA collections where adventure novels are widely read.

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