Review: The Near Witch by Victoria Schwab

Tuesday, August 2, 2011

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Author: Victoria Schwab
Release Date: August 2, 2011
Publisher: Hyperion
Age Group: Young Adult
Pages: 288
Source: ebook from publisher via Netgalley. Bought Hardcover today (because I seriously love it so much)
Challenge: Debut Author Challenge 2011 (hosted by the Story Siren)
Summary ( 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.

My Review:
Where to begin? I could happily go on about The Near Witch forever. I love The Near Witch. If there was a stronger word than love I would use it to describe my feelings for Victoria Schwab’s brilliant debut novel. I read the advanced ebook last week and bought the hardcover of it today and I already want to re-read it. I’ve never read anything like it, yet I feel as if I’ve known it forever (the blurb above tells it all). Everything about this book makes me happy. The story of the Near Witch, which when told by the Main Character Lexi starts off with my new favorite line of all time, “The wind on the moors is a tricky thing”. The story of the Near Witch makes this novel one of my favorite of all time. When Lexi is telling Wren the story, Wren falls asleep and Lexi stops telling it, I literally said out loud “What? No! HOW CAN YOU FALL ASLEEP DURING THIS?! Oh man, finish the story, Lexi! I have to hear the ending”. Victoria Schwab’s writing is beautiful and chilling. Even when the characters mention “the town of Near” a chill goes up my spine. With Schwab’s writing you feel as if you’ve lived in the town of Near your whole life and you grew up hearing the stories. I felt as if I already knew the Near Witch song that the kids play along to. I keep humming it to myself even a week later (my version is sort of upbeat and bouncy, I’m not sure it’s supposed to be, but to me it made it all the creepier). I love the stranger that comes to Near and the witches that live on the edge of town, just as Lexi does. I despise Lexi’s uncle and friend, Tyler for what they do throughout the course of the book, just as Lexi does. I feel as if I live in a town called Near and hear the Near Witch singing the moor to sleep, just as Lexi does and that is what makes me love The Near Witch.