The Hidden Witch

The Hidden Witch

Aster and his family are adjusting to his unconventional talent for witchery; unlike the other boys in his family, he isn't a shapeshifter. He's taking classes with his grandmother and helping to keep an eye on his great-uncle whose corrupted magic wreaked havoc on the family.Meanwhile, Aster's friend from the non-magical part of town, Charlie, is having problems of her ow...

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Title:The Hidden Witch
Author:Molly Ostertag
Rating:
Edition Language:English

The Hidden Witch Reviews

  • Jenna

    Wonderfully done and just as good, if not better than the first! It did seem like a smaller plot than book one, but Hidden Witch tied up all the little loose ends while bringing in a new character and new troubles. Lovely drawing style again and the atmospheric color palette and border panels worked well together.

    Now t

    Wonderfully done and just as good, if not better than the first! It did seem like a smaller plot than book one, but Hidden Witch tied up all the little loose ends while bringing in a new character and new troubles. Lovely drawing style again and the atmospheric color palette and border panels worked well together.

    Now the hard question. Do I book-talk Hidden Witch or Crush at my class visits...??

  • Sara

    Is there anything more marvelous when the second book in a series delivers on all the promise of the first? If you read my reviews you'll know I live in almost perpetual fear of what I call second novel syndrome. You read a terrific first book in a trilogy or new series and then BOOM everything goes to hell in a handbasket in book two. The fun, quirky sidekick with one or two clever bon mots in book one is now front and center spouting wisecracks every two minutes till you want to puke. The magi

    Is there anything more marvelous when the second book in a series delivers on all the promise of the first? If you read my reviews you'll know I live in almost perpetual fear of what I call second novel syndrome. You read a terrific first book in a trilogy or new series and then BOOM everything goes to hell in a handbasket in book two. The fun, quirky sidekick with one or two clever bon mots in book one is now front and center spouting wisecracks every two minutes till you want to puke. The magic/sci fi badassery/ghostly hijinks are ten times as elaborate and a billion times as bright and also substituting for anything resembling a plot. Instead of one bad guy now there's ten! That hero you loved so much? Oh well now he's a total dickhead because of some brand new backstory you knew nothing about.

    Blessedly Ms. Molly Ostertag clearly took her vaccinations against second novel syndrome because she delivers nothing but delights in the second in her "Witch Boy" series. We begin some time after the events in the first book with young Aster, the first (acknowledged) male witch in his families history, frustrated in his magic lessons. Though accepting on the surface his family still seems reluctant to actually train him. Everyone is also still dealing with the fallout from the attacks of his great uncle (a male witch like Aster who was ostracized by the family as a boy and subsequently became an evil shape shifter trapped in his beast form) that occurred in book one.

    Meanwhile Aster's human friend Charlie has started school again after a summer apart from her friends. She's feeling out of sync with almost everyone until she meets the new girl, Ariel who moves to the beat of her own drum just like Charlie. The trouble starts when a mysterious dark spirit being controlled by an unknown witch begins attacking Charlie and people around her. Now Aster and Charlie are going to have to confront their fears about moving forward and test their friendships to find out who the dark witch is and whether they can be saved or must instead be stopped forever.

    Everything about this series just works beautifully. Charlie and Aster continue to be wonderful compliments to each other. Charlie is wise beyond her years and stunningly confidant and I love it. She never, ever doubts herself and she trusts her own judgement. If Charlie likes you she will move heaven and earth to help you. But she's a realist too and she still gets scared and confused about what the right thing to do is. That's where Aster is such a great balance for her. He's the magic and fancifulness to her practical problem solver. The total lack of a romantic angle also couldn't be more important. Their friendship is so solid and so routed in mutual respect and admiration you never question whether they have feelings for each other.

    I also just love this world. Despite its fanciful setting there's something very grounded about Aster's family and their lives. I love the sense of ancient tradition that permeates everything and how that makes change so difficult. There's a gravity to Aster's family and their history. But as with Aster and Charlie is wonderfully balanced by Charlie's world where things move at a much faster pace and more easily.

    Of course I'd be remiss to just leave out how well Ostertag incorporates social issues into her narrative because its so often done but so often done badly. What she does so brilliantly is simply set her stage and then move the story right along. She takes traditional fantasy tropes and quietly turns them on their head without saying a word. Its our heroine who is logic and reason and our hero who's free wheeling and spell casting. Sure the idea of magic versus shape shifting as a metaphor to the myriad identity issues real life teens face is obvious but the issues that Aster and his family deal with feel like their own thing. You don't read this and immediately go "oh "magic" just means "gay" in this world." There's other little touches too that just feel normal and right. Charlie has two dads, the waitress who serves the kids in a diner scene is wearing a hijab, tiny bits of character and seemingly unimportant moments that become important because they're so normal.

    I love how Ostertag is expanding her universe slowly so you have time to take everything in. Her artwork continues to be out of sight with hints of old school superhero styles and just a touch of fairy tale mystique. She loves bright, rich colors (Aster's world being more brown and red while Charlie's leans more toward blues and blacks) and there's a wonderful wild energy to her scenes no matter what is happening. Even her tableau's give off this sense of strong, pulsing life.

    The Witch Boy books explore the traditional themes of friendship and growing up that YA books have been telling for years but Ostertag's voice is wonderfully fresh and fun. I love that she celebrates the strength and spirit of young adulthood even while she highlights the insecurity and fear that comes with it. Too often we tend to zero in on the dark stuff and the bad feelings and the pain of being a teen. Ostertag provides a beautiful, funny, and exciting reminder that its a time of wonder and magic as well.

    Highly, highly recommended.

  • Maia

    This is a really nice follow up to the previous book. The story is less focused on Aster and spreads out into a group of teens, some magic, some not, all trying to figure out which direction they want to go in life. The story takes place over about one week, and in this one the big battle is not against a cursed dragon, but against the bruises and wounds life deals to every misfit teen. The art is clear and effective. I want to use this book as a model for my own next comic, keeping in mind that

    This is a really nice follow up to the previous book. The story is less focused on Aster and spreads out into a group of teens, some magic, some not, all trying to figure out which direction they want to go in life. The story takes place over about one week, and in this one the big battle is not against a cursed dragon, but against the bruises and wounds life deals to every misfit teen. The art is clear and effective. I want to use this book as a model for my own next comic, keeping in mind that an all ages comic does not have to be complex to be good: sometimes a sweet small story about feelings hits exactly right.

  • Jordan Berube

    This is an unbelievably good sequel. It's not often that I can say I potentially loved the sequel more than the original but Molly has created a world that I can't help but get lost in. Her characters are instantly relatable, whether they're meant to be role models or whether they're meant to teach us a lesson. To continue to read about Aster's journey is perhaps the most relatable of all for many of us, to follow a kid who is just trying to find their place in their family when they don't belon

    This is an unbelievably good sequel. It's not often that I can say I potentially loved the sequel more than the original but Molly has created a world that I can't help but get lost in. Her characters are instantly relatable, whether they're meant to be role models or whether they're meant to teach us a lesson. To continue to read about Aster's journey is perhaps the most relatable of all for many of us, to follow a kid who is just trying to find their place in their family when they don't belong, when they want to follow a path that their family doesn't agree with. Suffice it to say that Molly's writing is incredible and I can't wait to see what she releases next.

  • Laura

    Real cute. Great story, great messages, adventurous and exciting. Art is cute and expressive. Colors are warm and enveloping.

  • David Schaafsma

    A solid and perhaps even better entry into the series about Aster, a boy who doesn't want to do what boys are raised to do, which is become shape-shifters. He wants to be a witch, which (!) requires some adjustment by his family and friends and society in general. His friend is Charlie, a girl who is neither a witch nor a shape-shifter, but is what J.K. Rowling would call a muggle (i.e., us). Charlie has a new friend, Ariel, a foster child, that seems to coincide with her being bothered by what

    A solid and perhaps even better entry into the series about Aster, a boy who doesn't want to do what boys are raised to do, which is become shape-shifters. He wants to be a witch, which (!) requires some adjustment by his family and friends and society in general. His friend is Charlie, a girl who is neither a witch nor a shape-shifter, but is what J.K. Rowling would call a muggle (i.e., us). Charlie has a new friend, Ariel, a foster child, that seems to coincide with her being bothered by what Aster names as a Fetch, a spirit that would seem to resemble a Dementor (but you can see my frame of reference may be limited here, not being a total fantasy geek here).

    Making a commitment to friending Ariel proves difficult, and takes up the bulk of the volume, though we also another friend doesn't want to be a shape-shifter. He wants to go to a human school with Charlie and study math and science. A dramatic event happens involving Charlie's once possessed grandfather, but overall good things happen, kids are becoming who they wanna be, friendships are forming. 3.5 stars, rounded up because actual middle grade readers in my house urge me to round up.

  • laurel [suspected bibliophile]

    I wasn't as bowled over by this one as I was by the first one, but that's because it feels like this plot was less original. As soon as you see Ariel, you kinda know what's going to happen.

    But that's okay.

    It's enjoyable, and the illustrations are a gorgeous riot of color and emotion. I love the quiet yet overt LGBTQIA+ representation, along with diverse POC, and the idea that people can change for the better. That no one is irredeemable, even if they did horrible things in the past.

  • Rod Brown

    While falling a little short of the first book, this is a pretty strong follow-up that establishes an appealing Scooby gang for ongoing adventures, which I will gladly read.

  • Bookish

    Halloween may be long over, but I like to keep things witchy throughout the entire fall season. Last year I read and loved Molly Knox Ostertag’s The Witch Boy, so I was thrilled to pick up a copy of the sequel The Hidden Witch. This book picks up shortly after the last left off with Aster beginning to learn the art of witchcraft and struggling to prove himself. When a new witch comes to town and her powers threaten his friend Charlie, Aster must use all of his newfound knowledge to save her. Bot

    Halloween may be long over, but I like to keep things witchy throughout the entire fall season. Last year I read and loved Molly Knox Ostertag’s The Witch Boy, so I was thrilled to pick up a copy of the sequel The Hidden Witch. This book picks up shortly after the last left off with Aster beginning to learn the art of witchcraft and struggling to prove himself. When a new witch comes to town and her powers threaten his friend Charlie, Aster must use all of his newfound knowledge to save her. Both books in this series focus on the idea that people who are hurting often lash out and hurt others. Their behavior is never excused: They’re held accountable for their actions, but they’re never treated as irredeemable villains. They’re given support and understanding and second chances—something this new witch desperately needs. I love the way Ostertag handles this theme, and I can’t wait to see where the next book in this series leads! —Kelly (excerpted from

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