Monday, January 9, 2012

Book Review: The Near Witch by Victoria Schwab

The Near Witch by Victoria Schwab
Published: August 2nd, 2011
Publisher: Hyperion
282 pages (hardcover)
Genre: Young adult fantasy
Acquired this book: Won from Molli at Once Upon a Prologue
Warning: may include spoilers

Synopsis: 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.

The Near Witch was a unique, beautifully written, captivating story that had a little bit of everything - romance, intrigue, suspense, and a touch of creepiness. It was so lyrical and poetic, I was awed at Ms. Schwab’s skill.

Near is a small community where there are no strangers. Because of this, Lexi has lived a very sheltered life, although she’s much more independent and strong-minded - and open-minded - than many of the other people in Near. I really enjoyed her as a character, and found her easy to relate to.

The concept for this book was great. The wind, the witches, the disappearing children - it was all so creepy and suspenseful and mysterious. I loved the fairy tale feel to it, and it was all very skillfully woven together with other aspects, like Lexi trying to assert her independence, and the romance between her and Cole.

Cole broke my heart at first - he was so tortured and intense, afraid to allow Lexi to get close to him, but wanting to help her at the same time. He was so incredibly sweet and gentle, I completely fell in love with him.

I really can’t say enough good things about this book. I’m glad I own it (thank you Molli!), because I know I’ll read it again eventually.


This book counts toward the following 2012 challenges: 2012 Young Adult Reading Challenge, 2012 New Authors Reading Challenge, 2012 Witches & Witchcraft Reading Challenge. See my progress in these and other challenges here.


  1. Yay, Marie, I am SO glad you loved this book as much as I did. It was really different from anything I'd read before - the fact that you didn't really know when/where Near was gave it a kind of frozen-in-time quality that I really fell for, plus, the characters and story were just awesome. I'm really looking forward to whatever else Victoria writes!

    Great review - you definitely touched on all my favorite aspects. :)

  2. I have really got to read this book.

  3. Ooh this has been on my wishlist for a while I can't believe I haven't bought it yet it sounds really great and right up my alley!

    Xpresso Reads

  4. I haven't really paid much attention to this book before, but it sounds great. I must meet this Cole you speak of...

  5. I'm all grins because I have a feeling that I'll violate my no-adding-more-books-to-list rule, and snatch this one.

  6. I really loved this book! But just so you know... it doesn't count towards the SARC. It was not released between December 27, 2011 and December 31, 2012.

  7. I love "creepy"--so glad you enjoyed this one...I need to get to it one of these days!


  8. I need to get to this one soon! Great review!



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