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Once a Witch Hardcover – September 14, 2009
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From School Library Journal
Grade 9 Up—It's hard to be the only normal one in a family in which everyone has a Talent that allows them to do such things as disappear, control the weather, read the future, or turn people to stone. Tamsin is bitter that she does not have a magical gift and dreams of the day she can move far away. So when a mysterious Scottish stranger, Alistair, shows up at her family's bookstore and assumes that the 17-year-old is her very Talented sister, Rowena, Tamsin jumps at the chance to help him find the family heirloom for which he is searching. She enlists the help of her childhood friend, Gabriel, who has recently reappeared in her life. Tamsin and Gabriel travel through time to find what sinister Alistair wants, and in doing so they will set in motion a chain of events that could mean the destruction of her family. Although Tamsin is a well-rounded character, the other people in the book are fairly one-dimensional. What is lacking in character development, though, is made up for in plot. This is an exciting book, and readers will be captivated until the very end. With a fairly easy reading level, an exciting story, and an edgier heroine (Tamsin drinks and smokes), this book is a good choice to hand to older reluctant readers.—Heather M. Campbell, formerly at Philip S. Miller Library, Castle Rock, CO END
Top customer reviews
While working in her grandmother's bookstore, a customer comes in and mistakes Tamsin for her Talented older sister, Rowena. Not only is the beautiful Rowena Talented, but she is expected to be even more powerful than their grandmother. So when Professor Allistair Callum comes to the store, looking for help tracking down an old family heirloom, Tamsin decides to take on this project. But Tamsin ends up very much over her head and needs her family to help her out. Along the way, Tamsion discovers some long-hidden family secrets and a few surprises she never could have guessed. And maybe Tamsin's family needs her help for a change.
This was a really well-written, fun read. Tamsin is fun and adventurous and her family of witches are very eccentric. Gabriel, a childhood friend and Talented one, has just moved back to New York and is very interested in Tamsin. I loved all the magic and even time travel in this book. It was a great mystery and I can't wait for the next book about Tamsin and her family.
my rating 4.5/5
Tamsin was easy to relate to from the get-go. Most everyone has felt like an outsider at some point or had sibling issues (although not me, as I'm an only child) or wished desperately for some special talent. She has a bit of an edge to her, which I appreciate for the most part. She sneaks out to bars to drink beer and watch bands with her roommate Agatha. She's sarcastic with her family. In addition, she adapts well to all crisis situations, trying desperately to make things work out; even though she doesn't always succeed, it's awesome that she tries, rather than sitting idly by waiting for a savior.
My one big complaint about Tamsin is the scene where she smokes a cigarette in her room. Blah blah rebellion blah blah badass. I really hate smoking, because, well, it's awful. However, what really bugs me about this scene is that it has so little bearing on the rest of the book. It seems so out of place. Tamsin never smokes again, nor does anyone else mention her doing so. I can't help wondering if she was a smoker originally and most of it got edited out. Either way, it struck me as clunky and gross.
Gabriel was totally awesome. His talent (finding things) rocks. I seriously want one of him for my own, so he can keep me from having to turn my house upside down trying to locate my missing remote. (This happened this evening and the remote was, of course, in the first place I looked. Why I didn't see it, I don't know, but that's always how it goes.
Once a Witch was such a fun read and I am eagerly anticipating starting the sequel. If you're looking for an awesome summer read, definitely pick this up!
Friedman performs Carolyn MacCullough's Once a Witch and its follow-up book Always a Witch nicely. The well written stories are performed with good quality ranges for the female characters and an adequate range for the male characters. The performance of Once a Witch is 8 1/2 hours long, Always a Witch is 7 1/2 hours. Both will entertain anyone that was a fan of Harry Potter, A Wrinkle in Time, or perhaps the Eragon series. While this series is not as complex as those, it is an enjoyable, engaging story. I do recommend reading or listening to both books.
Though the story was well written, it took me a little while to rely get engaged with the story and even then it didn't have me enthralled. I feel like I was waiting for the hook and it never came.
I feel like this is a beginner's novel for young readers that are advancing onto longer stories. Because of this, I'm not that interested in reading the second one and I definitely don't want to buy it fit $8. The story was good, just not that good.