The Hungry Ghosts

Viking. Sept. 2021. 336p. Tr $17.99. ISBN 9780451479785.
Gr 3-7–In Arnett, a world brimming with magicks, witches are illegal. Rumors and stories about the evil nature of witches have taken root, and the truth has been twisted so far it’s turned into shadows. Even though 12-year-old Milly has been told all her life that being a witch is wrong, a small part of her is drawn to magick. She keeps this part of herself buried down so deep, she’s almost forgotten where it came from. When a rogue witch kidnaps her younger sister Cilla, Milly embarks on a rescue mission that will challenge everything she’s been brought up to believe. Milly’s journey is one of empowerment and growth. She embraces her true self and learns that strength does not always come in the form of domination, but by selflessly giving others a voice and a choice. That vulnerability is highlighted through the sisterly bond of unconditional love between Milly and Cilla. This heartwarming fantasy adventure is filled with whimsical creatures and quirky, endearing characters. Milly receives help from friends along the way, a half-giant, a sentient broombranch, and a talking wind who is sometimes a cat. An omniscient narrator delivers the plot, complete with footnotes, with an overtly formal, droll air. Milly has curly hair and freckled brown skin.
VERDICT Prepare to be captivated by this bewitching middle grade debut.

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