The Near Witch by Victoria Schwab(Goodreads profile)
Publisher: Hyperion Books (Children)
Release Date: August 2, 2011
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.There are so many words that I can use to describe The Near Witch - mesmerizing, atmospheric, spellbinding, beautiful, lyrical... take your pick. All I know is that this is one of the best books I have ever read.
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.
Victoria's writing is gorgeous. There is a lyrical quality to it and it immersed me completely in the town of Near. I feel like I took a trip to the moors, felt and heard the howling wind. I couldn't keep my eyes off the page, but at the same time, I wanted to take it slow so that I wouldn't miss a word. There is a skill to conveying whole images in a few words and it's definitely one that Victoria possesses.
As for the story, it really did read like a fairytale (albeit a spooky one). There is imagination and children's games and just so many other elements that I loved. The plot builds slowly in the beginning but in doing so, has the tension and intrigue built up so much that I was on the edge of my seat by the climax. There were parts that were peaceful and parts that were horrifying (in that fascinating kind of way, y'know?) and all of them blended together seamlessly.
The cast of unique and memorable characters are the icing on the cake for me. I loved Lexi as a protagonist because she is smart, stubborn, tough and can think for herself when it really matters. Cole AKA 'The Stranger' was a great love interest and I think that he and Lexi make a fantastic team.
So, if you haven't read this one yet, my only question is: Why not?
Cover Comments: I'm not really sure how I feel about this one! It's definitely a lot (A LOT) prettier in person and I like the overall jacket (back and spine) more than the front alone (sorry, couldn't find a picture). Also, when you tilt it in the light, there are these like white swirl things on the cover! That amused me for a while. So, yeah. I like what they were trying to do with the cover. I can see how the unsure-but-reaching-and-almost-touching ties in with the story.