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Monday, August 10, 2009

Book Review: Once a Witch by Carolyn MacCullough

Young Adult Urban Fantasy - ages 12 and up
Release Date: September 2009
Houghton Mifflin Harcourt

Tamsin Greene comes from a long line of witches, and on the day she was born, her grandmother proclaimed she would be one of the most Talented among them.
But Tamsin's magic never showed up.
Now, seventeen years later, she spends most of her time at boarding school in Manhattan, where she can at least pretend to be normal. But during the summers, she's forced to return home and work at her family's bookstore / magic shop.
One night at the end of the summer, a handsome young professor from New York University arrives at the shop and mistakes Tamsin for her extremely Talented older sister. For once, it's Tamsin who's being looked at with awe and admiration, and before she can stop herself, she agrees to find a family heirloom for him that was lost more than a century ago. But the search - and the stranger - prove to be more sinister than they first appeared, ultimately sending Tamsin on a treasure hunt through time that will unlock the secret of her true identity, unearth the past sins of her family, and unleash a power so strong and so vengeful that it could destroy them all.
In a spellbinding display of storytelling. Carolyn MacCullough interweaves witchcraft, romance, and time travel in a fantasy that will exhilarate, enthrall, and thoroughly enchant.
(back cover of ARC)

Tamsin is a character I immediately felt connected to. She's an ordinary girl with an extraordinary family. I hadn't read a good witch story in a while and this one was defiantly a good choice. Tamsin's family are all witches, she is too technically but she has never felt like she fit in. Her family isn't overbearing about it - they are all very accepting. I loved the cast of characters - from Tamsin's matriarchal grandmother to her annoyingly perfect older sister.
The one thing that stood out for me in this book was how genuine Tamsin's feelings were portrayed. Her family and friends mean everything to her and you can really feel it through MacCullough's writing. There is some romance, but it isn't over done. It's actually very cute and again, genuine.
Another thing I loved about this book - best first line ever:

"I was born on the night of Samhain when the barrier between worlds is whisper thin and when magic, old magic, sings its heavy and sweet song to anyone who cares to hear it."

There is a lot to this book - enough to keep you well entertained and draw into the story and the ending is open to a sequel - I hope!
I highly recommend this book to any YA Urban Fantasy fans.
5 Stars


  1. Ooh nice review! I cannot wait to read this.

  2. Great review! I'm glad that you liked it, I've been eagerly anticipating this book. September seems like so far away...

  3. Sounds great! I am getting this soon.

  4. I really want 2 read this book! It looks really good. Great review :D

  5. I've seen and heard this book mentioned a lot lately. It sounds really good and I'm going to add it to my list. Thanks for the great review. :D


  6. I have heard great things about this book. I am so excited to read it. I also checked out the website, its great too. Love the witchy family.

  7. This sounds like a great book. I can't wait to read it. Thanks for the excellent review!


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