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Written by Finbar Hawkins

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Witch Review

Debuts of the Month Fantasy / Magical Featured Books for 13+ readers Featured Books for Young Adults Historical Fiction Horror & Ghost Stories

A fierce yet thoughtful historical fantasy based on the witch trials in 17th century England

October 2020 Debut of the Month | Shortlisted for the 2021 Branford Boase Award

A gobble-it-up fiery and intense yet thoughtful debut novel about family, betrayal, and witchcraft. Opening the pathway to a fabulous historical fantasy series this calls out as a must-read for young adults. Set during the civil war in 17th century England, 15 year old Evey has to flee with her little sister Dill when her mother is murdered. As with all good young adult novels, it is perfectly easy to slide into and really enjoy as an adult too, particularly with the wonderful cover drawing you in. Touching history, it flies into fantasy, as author Finbar Hawkins examines the meaning of witch. Evey is a complex character and as she tells her own story she has the ability of self-reflection, even if she doesn’t always like what she sees. Witch is a read that fair on crackles with energy, it also encourages thoughts to both consider and soar and deservedly sits as one of our LoveReading debuts of the month.

Liz Robinson

Other Info

The Branford Boase Award Judges said: ‘I loved the language, the setting, the relationships’; a wonderful sense of foreboding, it’s deliciously dark’; ‘I really enjoyed it, a rollicking good read’.

Find out more about the Branford Boase Awards here.


Witch Synopsis

Set in the 17th century, a breathtaking debut, and a potential prize-winner, about the power of women, witchcraft, fury, revenge and the ties that bind us.

After witnessing the brutal murder of her mother by witch-hunters, Evey vows to avenge her and track down the killers. Fury burns in her bright and strong. But she has promised her mother that she will keep Dill, her little sister, safe.

As the lust for blood and retribution rises to fever pitch, will Evey keep true to the bonds of sisterhood and to the magick that is her destiny?

Witch Press Reviews

'From the first page, my heart was hooked by this dark and twisty tale of old magic, love and revenge. The story thunders like a force of nature' Julie Pike, author of The Last Spell Breather

'I couldn't stop reading this 5-star story for teens, full of witchcraft, revenge and the power of women' Mel Darbon, author of Rosie Loves Jack

'Bold, original, powerful story-telling. This story of fierce love, anger and revenge, war and witch hunts, is tense and bloody and compelling' Julia Green, author of The House of Light

'I loved it. I loved how atmospheric it was, I loved the fierce loyalty of Evey and Dill, I loved how I could smell the weather on every page' Emma Kennedy, author of the Wilma Tenderfoot series

'Witch is a rare thing, a book both brilliant and original, as strange and dark as it is beautiful. A tale of revenge set in war-ravaged landscape, ruled by fear and superstition; of redemption and love between two sisters; of the corrupting power of 'Magick.' All this. And more besides' Chris Vick, author of CILIP Carnegie-shortlisted Girl. Boy. Sea

'Witch grips you in its spell from first page to last. It's a stunningly written story of loss and love, of eerie magic, high adventure, and the ties that keep us strong in darkness and bring us safely home. As fierce, beautiful and thrilling as a bird of prey in flight' Jonathan Stroud, author of the Lockwood & Co. series

'A book filled with enchantment, in every sense. Dark, exciting and pacy, Witch brilliantly balances magic and realism' Anthony McGowan, author of CILIP Carnegie Medal winner Lark

'Raw, mystical and beautifully told, Witch is the story of a young woman's self-discovery in a hostile world. A striking debut' - Kirsty Applebaum, author of The Middler, shortlisted for the Waterstones Children's Book Prize 2020

'An assured debut of sisterhood and fury' - The Bookseller

'I felt its dark jewelled cloak fall about my shoulders and magic me to the time of witch-craft. A story that captures sibling rivalry so perfectly and tells its tale so beautifully I didn't want it to finish' - Jasbinder Bilan, author of the Costa-winning Asha and the Spirit Bird

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All versions of this book

ISBN: 9781838935627
Publication date: 14/10/2021
Publisher: Zephyr an imprint of Head of Zeus
Format: Paperback

ISBN: 9781838935610
Publication date: 01/10/2020
Publisher: Head of Zeus
Format: Hardback

Book Information

ISBN: 9781838935610
Publication date: 1st October 2020
Author: Finbar Hawkins
Publisher: Head of Zeus
Format: Hardback
Pagination: 384 pages
Suitable for: 13+ readers, YA readers
Genres: Fantasy / Magical, Historical Fiction, Horror & Ghost Stories
Recommendations: Debuts of the Month

About Finbar Hawkins

Finbar Hawkins is a graduate of the Bath Spa MA in Writing for Young People. He grew up in Blackheath, London and now lives in Wiltshire with his family, in a landscape steeped in myth and legend. He is a creative director for Aardman Animations in Bristol, where he makes fun interactive things for children of all ages. Photo credit Gavin Strange

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