Publication Date: April 5, 2022
Age Category: Middle Grade (MG), roughly for kids between 10 to 14 years old
Publisher: Scholastic Inc.
Every year, in the magical town of Ravenskill, Witchlings who participate in the Black Moon Ceremony are placed into covens and come into their powers as full-fledged witches.
And twelve-year-old Seven Salazar can’t wait to be placed in the most powerful coven with her best friend! But on the night of the ceremony, in front of the entire town, Seven isn’t placed in one of the five covens. She’s a Spare!
Spare covens have fewer witches, are less powerful, and are looked down on by everyone. Even worse, when Seven and the other two Spares perform the magic circle to seal their coven and cement themselves as sisters, it doesn’t work! They’re stuck as Witchlings―and will lose their magic.
Seven invokes her only option: the impossible task. The three Spares will be assigned an impossible task: If they work together and succeed at it, their coven will be sealed and they’ll gain their full powers. If they fail… Well, the last coven to make the attempt ended up being turned into toads. Forever.
But maybe friendship can be the most powerful magic of all…
The purchase of this middle grade novel during a long-awaited visit to my favorite book store (see that post HERE) was very impulsive and based on three factors; I loved the cover art, I loved the synopsis, and I saw the stellar reviews. But it was a quick decision that I’m very grateful I made.
I honestly loved Witchlings a lot more than I expected to. A story filled with important lessons, tons of funny moments to keep readers laughing, and wholesome, well-developed characters, I think many more bookworms of all ages will find this a very rewarding read.
While I loved so much about this book, I have to admit that after the character introduction and Seven, Thorn, and Valley (the Spare coven) were assigned with their impossible task, the plot was a little uneventful and flat for a while–maybe the first 100 pages or so. Even so, I really wanted to keep going to see if the plot would enfold. And I wasn’t disappointed, as the fantasy adventure soon got off the ground.
There are a few epic magic duels, but I like how the author kept them family appropriate and fairly brief—even while using them to keep the novel action-packed and exciting.
After Seven and Valley–who was once her bully–decided to put their differences aside and work together, the entire story seemed to take flight through its many surprises, cliffhangers, and plot twists that kept me at the edge of my seat. Literally though, I was unable to put it down towards the end and read the final 150 pages—if not a little more—in one sitting. At this point in the journey I really came to an understanding of the meaning of each noted character and event–everything begins to click to create an impactful (yet heartfelt) ending.
The amount of character development among each of the main characters was a really great element of the story. As Seven’s bond with Thorn and Valley gets stronger, she seems to drift away from her former best friend Poppy, who stopped talking to her since she got into House Hyacinth, the coven of Seven’s dreams. It really proved that we can form the strongest bonds with the most unlikely (or different) people, and other times, friends go onto different paths. And that’s okay! If and when that happens, we should move on in love.
Me and the characters alike learned the importance of selflessness, never giving up (even through fear), facing intolerance head-on, forgiving and learning to love those who have hurt you, speaking up when you see someone you love being mistreated, and to cherish every moment as if its your last. I would agree that the protagonist, her friends, and her family serve as great role models to kids.
As my conclusion, Witchlings by Claribel A. Ortega is a humorous, exciting, and magical adventure that kids and adults alike can enjoy. I thoroughly enjoyed it and am praying that a sequel will come out in the next couple years. If you are a fan of the show The Owl House, the Harry Potter series or other teen prodigy magic-filled adventures, this one is for you.
Rating: ★★★★☆ (4/5, 5 being the best of the best)
Recommended Age: for readers 10 or 11+
Thank you so much for reading, my fellow bookish friends! God bless you all, and peace in! ♡