- Age Range: 12 and up
- Grade Level: 7 and up
- Lexile Measure: 790 (What's this?)
- Paperback: 312 pages
- Publisher: HMH Books for Young Readers (September 6, 2010)
- Language: English
- ISBN-10: 0547417306
- ISBN-13: 978-0547417301
- Product Dimensions: 5.5 x 0.8 x 8.2 inches
- Shipping Weight: 11.2 ounces (View shipping rates and policies)
- Average Customer Review: 4.2 out of 5 stars See all reviews (147 customer reviews)
- Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #978,815 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)
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Once a Witch Paperback – September 6, 2010
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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 --This text refers to an out of print or unavailable edition of this title.
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Top Customer Reviews
The story mainly consist of Tamsin trying to help a Professor find a missing heirloom (so he claims). The only problem is she lied to him. She wasn't the person whom he wanted the help from it was Tamsin's sister, Rowena. Not knowing what Rowena looked like he assumed that Tamsin was her. Tamsin wanting to prove to her Talented Family that she could do something was on a mission to find this artifact, and be someone. From there on the lies grew and with that so did problems. I liked that one of the talents was time traveling because from that you not only got to see what the present day lives of the families were like, but also the past lives of their family members.
I loved this book just as much as I loved the second one even though I knew what was gonna happen. (that was a my bad for reading it out of order) I adore the characters in this book.
Tamsin (The MC) kind of the odd-ball out in a family of Talented Witches. She was suppose to be the beacon of light for the family, but by the age of eight no talent had shown up. Poor Tam. :(
Gabriel (Tams childhood friend) His family had moved away because of his mortal dad I believe, and Tamsin had promised to write to him everyday, but never did. Now he's back with his momma, and his eyes are all on Tamsin. :) Humm could this mean something?
Agatha (Tam BFF) Okay, I love Agatha as a BF. I would have liked to see her more in the story,but since she's just a bestie. I understand there's not to much of a need for her.
Just all the characters in the book are fun and enjoyable to read about. Tamsin's family is a pretty big one, but you still get the feel for each of the ones mentioned. Her mom who seems like a complete wreck, Rowena who's pretty much self-obsessed, the wise grandmother, and the uncles and aunts, and a few cousins. The talents range from fire to freezing, to traveling to reading the future, to changn g the state of things.
The book had quite a few witty, funny remarks.
I wouldn't say the end left a huge cliffhanger like some books do, but it does make you wonder what's in store for the future of this family, and others.
All in all if your looking for a witchy story that has a bit of a different take on witches this is definitely one of those.
-Not a drop, not half of a drop, not even a quarter of a half of a half of magic runs through my apprently very pedestrian veins. (Tam)
-Don't you know how damaging that is to your health? (Ro)
Really I wish they printed warning or something on the package. So irresponsible of them. (Tam at smoking Cigs)
-Just being here, a this is all that's expected, this is all I can be. Okay, now I'm starting to sound like an army slogan. (Tam)
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.