Thursday, September 18, 2014

Only Gingers can be Witches by JA Trevor

Genre:  Middle Grade Urban Fantasy

Description (taken from Goodreads):
Two weeks ago, thirteen year-old Ally would have laughed at the thought of running around in the middle of the night, waving bundles of herbs at imaginary ghosts. But the new girl in town, Hanna, is into that sort of thing.

When the two girls become unlikely friends, Hanna's world of witchery invades Ally's own and turns decidedly dangerous. Flocks of crows descend on the streets, shadow-men stalk Ally's front yard, and a ghoul nests like a spider in the local library's basement. Together, the girls set out to quickly uncover the sinister culprit behind it all--before someone gets hurt.

But then a mysterious stranger emerges from the shadows to snatch Hanna off the streets for use in a nefarious plan. Ally has never had to save anyone before, and isn't sure she's up to the task. In fact, magic in general is out of her experience entirely; because as everyone knows, only gingers can be witches... or can they?

Ally lives in a small town where new things like recycling and the internet are barely beginning.  Yes, we're moving back in time a bit before phones and mp3 players became a thing.  Ally is one of those do-gooders that's trying to do well in school and get her parents to go a little green by recycling.  Basically, she's the girl that's going to make things happen when she grows up.  But our story happens now, and someone new is going to push her to be amazing.

Hanna is that one who dresses a little differently, acts a little strangely, and couldn't care less about what anyone think.  But as all newcomers going to school know, she's still looking for a friend.  So when she meets Ally who's willing to go with her 'only gingers can be witches,' attitude, it's a match made in heaven.  The only problem is Ally will soon realize Hanna's not just imagining things, she's actually a witch.  And something wicked in town is brewing.

Ally and Hanna's personalities compliment each other really well in this story.  I loved watching their friendship grow and the witch history/teaching was all intermingled into the story.  And there was magic, rune stones, ghouls, and talk of other nefarious creatures.  I had fun with it.  When the supernatural occurrences happened, I loved seeing Hanna's can-fix-it attitude come out.  But we also got to watch Ally shine when she was faced with a sinister plot.  My only drawback was I felt like the characters behaved a little younger than their age (13), but I'm used to stories regarding older characters (so what do I know?).

This is definitely a story for middle grade students that shows two very strong female characters.  We don't get too many stories like that, do we?  In my opinion, we need more.  A fun one I would hand to kids ready for big-kid chapter books.

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