Monday, June 8, 2020

Review: The Wtiches of Willow Cove by Josh Roberts

The Witches of Willow Cove
by Josh Roberts
Release Date: May 26th 2020
2020 Owl Hollow Press
ARC Kindle Edition; 260 Pages
ISBN: 978-1945654497
Genre: Fiction / Paranormal / Juvenile
Source: Review copy from publisher

5 / 5 Stars

It’s not easy being a teenage witch. Seventh grader Abby Shepherd is just getting the hang of it when weird stuff starts happening all around her hometown of Willow Cove. Green slime bubbling to life in science class. Giant snakes slithering around the middle school gym. Her best friend suddenly keeping secrets and telling lies.

Things only begin to make sense when a stranger named Miss Winters reveals that Abby isn’t the only young witch in town—and that Willow Cove is home to a secret past that connects them all. Miss Winters, herself a witch, even offers to teach Abby and the others everything she knows about witchcraft.

But as Abby learns more about Miss Winters’ past, she begins to suspect her new mentor is keeping secrets of her own. Can Abby trust her, or does Miss Winters have something wicked planned for the young witches of Willow Cove?

My Thoughts
The Witches of Willow Cove was such a fun book that I had a hard time putting it down.   Six teenage girls find out they have magical, witchy powers on their thirteenth birthdays and all sorts of fun, interesting things start to happen.  It would have been exactly the type of book I would have read over and over again at ten years old, wishing I was was one of those girls, preferably Abby.  

One of the things that I feel adults tend to forget is kids LIKE spooky stories, even really scary ones.  I loved really scary stories as a kid and didn't really find them scary enough which is why I tended to read more adult novels even as a young kid, drifting towards authors like Stephen King at quite the young age. I don't believe in those criticisms as I think kids can think for themselves and just close the book if they are too scared to read further, and for those kids, like myself, who want scary stories, they can still find them.  The one is a nice blend of spooky, creepy, and normal.  There is a lot of mystery in it, tunnels for kids to creep through, old spooky houses that have been abandoned, and oh yes, don't forget the fog and strange lights.  All balanced nicely between every day things like school and getting grounded.  Throw in old secrets, centuries-old journals, and other things like this, you have the makings of a book that will just draw kids in, never mind adults like myself who couldn't put down the book.

The characters were quirky and worked well together.  I liked all of them, even the ones who were more on the meaner side as there were reasons for their behaviour that were explained rather well in the book.  I really liked that the story didn't necessarily revolve around the 'witches', but included another threesome who did some investigating on their own and helped the girls discover the truth to what was happening.  It was nice to see the kids work together, even if they didn't realize it until the end, using different means to get there.  So, while the story was about the witches, there was so much more to it and the non-magical kids got their chance to prove that they could discover important information and help despite the fact they were not witches.  I think that is really important for kids to see.  

The plot was fun, interesting, and literally took off from the first page of the book.  I have a hard time putting it down and got invested in Abby and her friends quite quickly.  However, this does not blind me to the fact that the story, while fascinating, was somewhat predictable and the conflicts were easy to spot a mile away.  This did not take away from the enjoyment of the book though as I didn't really care.  

The Witches of Willow Cove, so far, is my favourite juvenile fiction book this year by far.  I loved the atmospheric setting, and truly appreciated the equal balance of magical and non-magical kids to have their moment in the sun, so to speak.  The characters were intriguing, and the plot was fun and action-packed.  I liked the parent involvement and was glad to see the kids get in trouble, even get grounded, for some of the things they did.  And boy, was I happy to learn the author was currently working on a sequel to this book as he definitely left it wide open for some more amazing adventures to happen next.  I highly recommend this book to anyone who loves magic.


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