Title: The Near Witch
Author: Victoria Schwab
Release Date: August 2, 2011
Publisher: Hyperion Books
Lexi knows certain truths about the town she lives in: the Near Witch is just a story, the wind is lonely and looking for company, and there are no strangers in the town of Near. But a stranger appears out of the mist, and children start disappearing. Lexi knows he isn't to blame, that she can trust him, and as they search for the missing, Lexi discovers she needs to know more, more about the Near Witch might not just be a story, more about the calling wind, and more about the stranger without a name.
A soft and mysterious debut, Victoria Schwab gives readers part love story, part fairy tale, part historical novel, and part familiar sweet story that won't let you put it down.
Lexi is strong-willed and intelligent, her father's daughter through and through, and struggles to prove herself as a tracker. She doesn't fit in, not in the role her uncle and others try to put her in, and so she wanders and tries to figure things out. She feels she knows what to do better than others do. It's not necessarily cockiness, but the fact that she thinks outside the box and others like her don't. Sometimes, with all the evidence given, the most obvious solution is not always the correct one.
Like in any mystery, it's difficult to put down a book when you don't know the answers, and I struggled to put this book down and go about the rest of my life. I needed to know where the children had gone, who the stranger was, what Lexi discovered whenever she stole away to do her own investigating.
Victoria does such a wonderful job creating the town of Near, close to the moors. Sometimes I thought I could hear the wind, knocking on my window, calling my name because it was lonely. Sometimes I thought I could smell the dirt and the rain and the trees, feel the coolness of the mists. Such gorgeous world-building was done. It almost felt like a dream.
Sweetly mysterious and romantic all at once, The Near Witch was both an expected and unexpected delight. I was willingly swept away by the wind, for I was lonely as well.