Review: The Near Witch

Near Witch Victoria SchwabThe Near Witch

Victoria Schwab
Published August 2, 2011
Received ARC from Publisher

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.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.

Part fairy tale, part love story, Victoria Schwab’s debut novel is entirely original yet achingly familiar: a song you heard long ago, a whisper carried by the wind, and a dream you won’t soon forget. –Goodreads

The Near Witch by Victoria Schwab is an enchanting and captivating story that reads like a fairy tale – drawing the reader in and not letting go until the last page. I completely fell in love with this story and it will be one book that is kept on my bookshelf for years to come. There is just something about the way that Schwab tells the story of the Near Witch that makes you keep turning the page until there is nothing left and then you want to devour it again. The writing is just beautiful. The Near Witch has all the makings of a classic fairytale.

There are no strangers in the town of Near – and when one comes to the town it causes quite a stir. On the night the stranger shows up, Lexi Harris sees him from her winder and is very curious about the newcomer and what brought him to Near. The next night, children start to disappear from their beds and everyone is sure the newcomer is to blame. But Lexi has other feelings about the situation and goes to see the old sisters, witches, who her father (who passed away a few years back) would take her to see and trusted even if the other town members didn’t. When Lexi meets the stranger, Cole, she trusts him and believes that something else is stealing the children from their bed at night. As Lexi and Cole race against time to try to save the children they must also trust each other and not get lost in the night themselves.

I loved the characters in this book. Lexi is a great lead – she is smart and tough and willing to do whatever it takes to make sure her voice is heard. I love that she doesn’t back down to anyone – even the elders of the town, who could ultimately kick her out of the town, or her uncle, who tries to keep her in the house and marry her off to a town boy. I also loved her protectiveness over her little sister – I would be the same way with both of my sisters. Cole, the stranger in town, is so mysterious and you are just drawn to him and want to find out his story. I liked the town witches too – they were definitely spooky and you could see the appeal of them and why Lexi always wanted to go there.

I also loved the setting in The Near Witch. Schwab creates her own world around the town of Near. Near isn’t some time in the past or the present or the future – it’s just there – existing in its own universe that is a magical place and full of stories. Everything about Near draws you in – from the town people to the songs the children sing right down to the old witches living near the moor. It was just a beautiful place and so well imagined.

I really can’t say enough good things about this book. The Near Witch is definitely one of my favorite books of the year – it has everything I want in a story and is utterly enchanting.

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