A great MG adventure/fantasy story, full of important lessons
Book CWs: For a list of content/trigger warnings, tropes, and representation found in this book, check out its page on BookTriggerWarnings.com!
Premise (from Goodreads)
A magical adventure for fans of Amari and the Night Brothers and Nevermoor, about three witchlings who must work together to do the impossible if they have any hope of earning their full powers.
Every year, in the magical town of Ravenskill, Witchlings who participate in the Black Moon Ceremony are placed into covens and come into their powers as full-fledged witches.
And twelve-year-old Seven Salazar can’t wait to be placed in the most powerful coven with her best friend! But on the night of the ceremony, in front of the entire town, Seven isn’t placed in one of the five covens. She’s a Spare!
Spare covens have fewer witches, are less powerful, and are looked down on by everyone. Even worse, when Seven and the other two Spares perform the magic circle to seal their coven and cement themselves as sisters, it doesn’t work! They’re stuck as Witchlings—and will never be able to perform powerful magic.
Seven invokes her only option: the impossible task. The three Spares will be assigned an impossible task: If they work together and succeed at it, their coven will be sealed and they’ll gain their full powers. If they fail… Well, the last coven to make the attempt ended up being turned into toads. Forever.
But maybe friendship can be the most powerful magic of all…
With action-packed adventure, a coven of quirky witchlings, Claribel A. Ortega’s signature humor and girl-power vibes, this middle grade Latine witch story is truly a modern classic.
Purchase this book (affiliate link): Amazon
Review (No Spoilers)
I bought Witchlings at a book convention (DivBookFest) in Chicago, where Claribel was one of the featured authors. Prior to attending DivBookFest, I hadn’t heard about this book, so I’m really glad that I attended. Through that event, I was able to discover a lot of new-to-me authors and novels that I might have otherwise missed.
The blurb for Witchlings talks about how it is perfect for fans of Amari, and I couldn’t agree more. This book has the same fun fantasy adventure vibe while delivering hard lessons about what it’s like to be cast out of society and forced to fight for your acceptance.
The plot follows three witches who are in danger of losing their powers, so they embark on a quest to complete an “impossible task” to avoid their fate. As expected of a middle grade novel, all of the characters are tweens with no shortage of spunk and snark. I had a lot of fun with these characters. I think there’s something marvelously powerful about children who are unapologetically confident in who they are and are willing to fight for themselves if anyone challenges them.
One of the things that I felt Witchlings really excelled at was teaching readers the importance of empathy, communication, and acceptance. The three main characters start off on rocky grounds, but persevere through adversity to not only become strong individuals, but also strong friends. On top of that, there is a nice “speak truth to power” and “fight oppressive systems” tone that pervades throughout the story. This novel has many lessons and morals that are perfect for the MG audience that it’s aimed at. I would highly suggest giving this a try if it strikes your interest!
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I’m hoping to read this one for middle grade May this year!
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I hope you enjoy it!