The Silver Lining | Bookanistas Review: The Near Witch

What it’s about:

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.

What I thought:

I read this book in one sitting. I literally couldn’t put it down. Reading in one sitting sounds normal for someone who likes to read, but I rarely do it, mostly because I usually just read on my commute. But I was so into this book, as soon as I got home I quarantined myself in the bedroom and read until the end, forgoing sleep to do it!

As you may have guessed, I loved it. I’m a huge fan of fairy tales and this one is an instant classic!

The writing is gorgeous, every sentence so visual and evocative. It really made the emotions and atmosphere and scene settings come alive.

And the characters! Lexi is such an awesome protagonist. I love strong female characters who defy the limitations society forces upon them. Lexi wears a skirt but carries a knife. Lexi sneaks out when she’s told she must stay home. Lexi befriends the mysterious new guy and believes he’s innocent when everyone else in town sets out on a witch hunt for him. Cole, the new boy love interest, swept me up. He was sexy and mysterious but also sympathetic and vulnerable. I ached for what he’s been through and just wanted to reach out and hug him. But I also didn’t know whether I could trust him like Lexi, so that kept me on the edge of my seat. I adored the fact that Lexi gave him his name, which really did fit him perfectly.

I also loved Lexi’s little sister Wren and understood how fiercely Lexi wanted to protect her. She was a little spitfire and the tension of whether or not Wren would be next to disappear kept me riveted.

The book was creepy, and I mean that in a good way. An edge-of-your-seat way. The children keep disappearing and the wind seems to be luring them from their beds. The fairy tales of The Near Witch may or may not be real. Magic is afoot, making it difficult to separate reality from illusion.

This is the kind of book that will stay with me, much like the fairy tales I grew up with. LOVED!

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