Book Review: ‘Witchlings’

Witchlings” by Claribel A. Ortega

Source: Scholastic in exchange for honest review

Genre: Middle Grade Fiction, Fantasy

Summary:

Every year, in the magical town of Ravenskill, Witchlings who participate in the Black Moon Ceremony are placed into covens and come into their powers as full-fledged witches.

And twelve-year-old Seven Salazar can’t wait to be placed in the most powerful coven with her best friend! But on the night of the ceremony, in front of the entire town, Seven isn’t placed in one of the five covens. She’s a Spare!

Spare covens have fewer witches, are less powerful, and are looked down on by everyone. Even worse, when Seven and the other two Spares perform the magic circle to seal their coven and cement themselves as sisters, it doesn’t work! They’re stuck as Witchlings—and will never be able to perform powerful magic.

Seven invokes her only option: the impossible task. The three Spares will be assigned an impossible task: If they work together and succeed at it, their coven will be sealed and they’ll gain their full powers. If they fail… Well, the last coven to make the attempt ended up being turned into toads. Forever.

But maybe friendship can be the most powerful magic of all…


You can never really have enough books about finding your place in this world. It’s one of those universal experiences that draws us all together. Witchlings sounds like many other beloved fantasy books: children come of age in a society that places them in groups that will shape their futures and of course, there’s trouble that comes along with the territory.

Even though that’s a trope and story arc that’s been explored time and again, Witchlings feels fresh and new. It’s a different take on the magic that we often see within Middle Grade fantasy.

Seven, Thorn, and Valley are a great group of characters. They feel fully developed and you just want to get to know them more. Some of the words & phrases in the world are a little too sweet and silly for my taste.

Heavy subjects are touched on through the story in an age appropriate way.

All in all, a charming new addition to the middle grade fantasy world.

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Book Review: ‘Horrid’

Horrid” by Katrina Leno

Source: Owlcrate

Genre: Young Adult Fiction, Fantasy

Summary:

Following her father’s death, Jane North-Robinson and her mom move from sunny California to the dreary, dilapidated old house in Maine where her mother grew up. All they want is a fresh start, but behind North Manor’s doors lurks a history that leaves them feeling more alone…and more tormented.

As the cold New England autumn arrives, and Jane settles in to her new home, she finds solace in old books and memories of her dad. She steadily begins making new friends, but also faces bullying from the resident “bad seed,” struggling to tamp down her own worst nature in response. Jane’s mom also seems to be spiralling with the return of her childhood home, but she won’t reveal why. Then Jane discovers that the “storage room” her mom has kept locked isn’t for storage at all — it’s a little girl’s bedroom, left untouched for years and not quite as empty of inhabitants as it appears….

Is it grief? Mental illness? Or something more… horrid?

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Book Review: ‘Hunters of the Lost City’

Hunters of the Lost City” by Kali Wallace

Source: Quirk Books in exchange for honest review

Genre: Middle Grade Fiction, Fantasy

Summary:

Twelve-year-old Octavia grew up believing the town of Vittoria was the only one left in the world. The sole survivors of a deadly magical war and plague, the people of Vittoria know there’s no one alive outside the town walls—except the terrible monsters that prowl the forest.

But then the impossible happens: Octavia meets another girl beyond the walls, someone who isn’t Vittorian. Everything she’s ever believed is thrown into question, and there’s no going back.

In her quest for the truth, Octavia discovers a world full of lies, monsters, and magic. She’ll have to use every scrap of her skill, wits, and courage to uncover what’s real about Vittoria and the rest of the world.

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Book Review: ‘League of Liars’

League of Liars” by Astrid Scholte

Source: PenguinTeen in exchange for honest review

Genre: Young Adult Fiction, Fantasy

Summary:

Ever since his mother was killed, seventeen-year-old Cayder Broduck has had one goal–to see illegal users of magic brought to justice. People who carelessly use extradimensional magic for their own self-interest, without a care to the damage it does to society or those around them, deserve to be punished as far as Cayder is concerned. Because magic always has a price. So when Cayder lands a once-in-a-lifetime opportunity to apprentice under a premier public defender, he takes it. If he can learn all the tricks of public defense, the better he’ll be able to dismantle defense arguments when he’s a prosecutor. Then he’ll finally be able to make sure justice is served.

But when he meets the three criminals he’s supposed to defend, it no longer seems so black and white. They’re teenagers, like him, and their stories are . . . complicated, like his. Vardean, the prison where Cayder’s new clients are incarcerated, also happens to be at the very heart of the horrible tear in the veil between their world and another dimension–where all magic comes from.

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Book Review: ‘I Must Betray You’

I Must Betray You” by Ruta Sepetys

Source: Penguin Teen in exchange for honest review

Genre: Young Adult Fiction, Historical Fiction

Summary:

Romania, 1989. Communist regimes are crumbling across Europe. Seventeen-year-old Cristian Florescu dreams of becoming a writer, but Romanians aren’t free to dream; they are bound by rules and force.

Amidst the tyrannical dictatorship of Nicolae Ceaușescu in a country governed by isolation and fear, Cristian is blackmailed by the secret police to become an informer. He’s left with only two choices: betray everyone and everything he loves—or use his position to creatively undermine the most notoriously evil dictator in Eastern Europe.

Cristian risks everything to unmask the truth behind the regime, give voice to fellow Romanians, and expose to the world what is happening in his country. He eagerly joins the revolution to fight for change when the time arrives. But what is the cost of freedom? 

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