Twelve-year-old Willa Birdwhistle lives in the Wild, a place that is home to the Ordinary Folk of the non-magical kind and one that is sandwiched between two covens of warring witches. Whilst the locals have little to do with the witches they regularly spend their days avoiding misfiring spells that cause frogs to rain down and chickens to dance.
Like everyone in the Wild, Willa is not fond of magic, especially after her parents were magicked away by a wayward curse, and she definitely does not want to be a witch. When she receives the most unwanted news…she is a witch, she is sure that there must be a mistake. But it’s not and now she must choose which of the two covens to join by her next birthday, and if she doesn’t, she’ll explode.
With Willa trying to master her magic, strange things are happening in town. A rogue witch is stealing the voices of the Ordinary Folk and when her new best friend becomes a victim, Willa knows the madness must end. Can she unravel a witch mystery to save not only herself but also her friends and the whole of the town…
Magic, mayhem and mystery provide the backdrop for a fast-paced adventure as young Willa tries to alter her destiny and avoid an explosive ending. Danger, intrigue and heart-stopping moments are never far away as Willa and her new friends find themselves battling a dangerous witch, avoiding malevolent spells and trying to solve a mystery that is plaguing the entire town.
Laced with humour and heart, Shivaun Plozza is onto a winner with the perfect potion of silly spells, likeable young characters and an edge of the seat adventure that keeps you guessing whether Willa will choose a coven, find a way out of her predicament or simply explode. With strong messages about being true to yourself and controlling your own destiny, and themes of friendship, perseverance, bravery and belonging, A Reluctant Witch’s Guide to Magic makes for a fun and light-hearted read with some important lessons.
A delightfully quirky middle-grade fantasy that leaves scope for plenty more to come.
With huge thanks to Penguin for the copy I received in exchange for an honest review.
Recommended for 8+.