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The Unwilling Witch
by David Lubar
Starscape/Tom Doherty, $15.99 (hardcover), 149pp
Release Date: September 17, 2013
This is a kid’s book although I was unable to discover what is the recommended age range. (The author isn’t current on his website.) I’m not sure but my best guess would be about 3rd or 4th grade based on my 1st grader granddaughter’s progress. It is part of a series but it stood alone quite well.

This was a delightful book for me. Hard to tell sometimes what kids will like but it looks like a winner. The young girl in the book, Angie, is unexpectedly given witchy power by a dying old woman in a park. But without any instruction or guidance, it’s up to Angie to figure out what she can do. And, in typical young-girl fashion, she experiments at school with her best friend, Jan. An unfortunate love-spell directed at the cutest boy in school backfires with two of the worst boys now in love with Angie. Unfortunate accidents also happen to her poor brother who gets turned into a tree and later, into oatmeal.

Meanwhile, Angie is menaced by two older women. One kindly looking grandmother-type runs a local magic store and gave Angie a book to study. The other, younger and very beautiful, is a substitute teacher and warns Angie that the other woman is trying to take her power. Who is Angie to believe? And does Angie even want the power? It hasn’t done that much good for her so far.

But relief comes when Angie reads in the book that she can give away the power. There is a formula for doing so and now Angie needs to decide who to give it to: the kindly store owner, the shy sweet girl in her class, Katrina, or even her best friend, Jan. But then comes the hook: if she gives away the power she might not be able to save her father from dying, and if she doesn’t give away the power right then, she’ll have it forever while nasty witches like her teacher continue to try killing her to take it.

This story starts with a fantasy-come-true for Angie – the power to fix mean girls, help the helpless, tease her brother, and make chocolate sundaes when she pleases. But then she’s faced with tough decisions like how to know which adult to trust. And nothing felt out of place to me, all the people, events and even the locations were true to the story. I thought it fun while maybe encouraging a young girl to question things and make her own decisions. ~~ Catherine Book

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