"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.
(Summary from GoodReads)
I heard the title and premise of The Near Witch months before it came out, and knew right away that I’d be purchasing a copy. My desire for this book only became greater when I heard that it was a Gaiman-esque fairy tale with lyrical writing. Those reviews were spot on. Schwab’s debut is haunting and lovely, and the type of story I didn’t know was missing from young adult literature until I read it myself.
The Near Witch has an incredible atmosphere. Schwab’s writing is gorgeous, and I could feel my feet walking over English, misty moors as I read. I expected all of this based on summary and other reviews.
However, Schwab also caught me by surprise. I expected the plot of this book to be similar to that of The Night Circus by Erin Morgenstern—slow and sweet, like syrup. Yet as I read, I could not stop turning the pages. The events of this story will leave chills running up and down your spine. I had to know what twists Schwab was going to unfold and how it would all tie together.
As debuts go, The Near Witch is simply exceptional. Schwab managed to write a great story at a pace that I wanted to follow, which can be a tough balance to find. If you haven’t picked this one up yet, do so. If you have, allow me to assure that The Archived is also exceptional, and that I’ll be reading everything Schwab publishes in the future.
Disclosure: I purchased a copy of this book.