I picked up my latest read, Once a Witch by Carolyn MacCullough, primarily because it is a 2011-12 South Carolina Young Adult Book Award nominee. I served on the Young Adult Book Award committee for three years, and, even though I work with much smaller mammals now, I still like to keep up with what teens in my state are reading, and I think they will really enjoy Once a Witch (especially girls who are fans of the Twilight saga and similar books). Once a Witch is the first book in a tantalizing new series, and I think it takes readers to places that they never expected to go…
Tamsin Greene is an oddball in her family, and that is definitely saying something. You see, Tamsin comes from a family of witches, all of whom have special Talents…except Tamsin. She’s ordinary. No Talent, no special powers, no hint of anything magical about her. So, when a mysterious man comes into her family’s bookshop and mistakes Tamsin for her older, extremely gifted sister Rowena, Tamsin plays along and agrees to help him find a lost family heirloom. If she can find what this man is searching for, maybe she won’t feel so much like an outsider in her own family.
What Tamsin didn’t count on, however, were the strange man’s intentions when he asked her to look for his lost heirloom. It seems both he and the object of his desire are far more dangerous than Tamsin could have possibly known, and the search for the heirloom will take Tamsin and everyone close to her down a path fraught with peril at every turn.
What will happen when Tamsin locates this mysterious object? What is the strange man really after? Can Tamsin stop the storm that is brewing before it is too late? And, most importantly, is she really as Talentless as everyone has always led her to believe? Join Tamsin on her quest for answers when you read Once a Witch by Carolyn MacCullough.
I, for one, really related to the character of Tamsin. No, I don’t come from a family of witches (that I know of), but I have felt like an outsider in my own family. (Mom, if you’re reading this, try to chill. You know exactly what I mean.) I’m not loud, I don’t really like to talk all that much (and trust me when I say that is odd in my family), and I’d rather escape into the pages of a book than deal with people. I’m just not like most of the other people in my family, so I found it very easy to sympathize with Tamsin, and I think many teen readers will as well.
I highly recommend this book to young adult readers. (It may be a little much for the middle grades, though.) Once a Witch is a wonderful first book in what promises to be a captivating series. The sequel, Always a Witch, will be out on August 1, 2011. I look forward to seeing what trouble Tamsin will get into this time. For more information on this series, author Carolyn MacCullough, quizzes, and facts about witches, visit http://onceawitch.com/.