A Reluctant Witch’s Guide to Magic

HarperCollins/Clarion. Jul. 2022. 288p. Tr $16.99. ISBN 9780358541271.
Gr 4-7–Willa Birdwhistle is Ordinary. And like all Ordinary people in Bad Faith, Willa is used to the daily interruptions and inconveniences of the Witch War. The conflict between the Irontongue and Silverclaw covens has gone on so long that no one in Bad Faith knows how or why it started, nor have Ordinary people been able to do much other than accept the war as a fact of life. A year ago, Willa’s parents were turned into clouds by a wayward hex, and since then 12-year-old Willa has tried to be a good girl like they would have wanted. But that all changes when witnesses spot Willa apparently stopping a spell in midair, and she is accused of being a witch herself. She is carted off to the castle to begin rigorous magical training. She must select a coven to join before her 13th birthday, otherwise she will explode. Several mysteries unfold during Willa’s magical training, and readers will enjoy the way the plot threads interweave to reveal details about the history of the two covens and their war, the rogue witch who is tormenting the citizens of Bad Faith, and Willa’s own magic. At times the tone of the book seems too silly for some of the darker content, but the levity helps tamp down what could be very scary moments. All main characters are presumed white.
VERDICT A fun new entry in the field of magical mysteries, this action-packed tale will keep readers engaged and leaves room for a sequel.

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