August 2nd 2011, Hyperion Books
288 pgs, Paperback
From the publisher
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.
Although, it never actually says where or when this book takes place other than in Near in my minds eye I see colonial America throughout the description. I wasn’t actually expecting a historical when I opened this book, but I was pleasantly surprised. It has rich descriptions of the surroundings and how life is ran within the village of Near.
The book opens up to a pleasant little scene between Lexi and her little sister, Wren. We get a wealth of information within a few words, but it never seems overwhelming. We see Lexi’s love for her sister, how the death of her beloved father has impacted the family, the spooky tale of the heritage of the village Near, and the strength that has been cultivated within Lexi. She is a remarkable girl with a kind heart.
At times the story is so eerie that my heart beats faster and other it lies silent hoping all will be well. Honestly, I am like the biggest scardey-cat and it had me a bit on edge.
But at the heart of this story is a message that fear of that which is unknown can bring about real dangers including loosing your own morality. I will likely read this book again and again as it was one of the best books I’ve read in a long while.