Book Review: The Witch’s Boy

The Witch’s Boy by Kelly Barnhill

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Published in 2014 by Algonquin Young Readers

Thing haven’t been right for Ned….not since his twin brother died when they were 7. Tam and Ned built a raft, Tam drowned, and Ned had to listen to everyone say that the wrong boy survived. His mother is a witch who has control of an ancient power, but each time she uses her magic, it comes at a cost.

Áine is the daughter of a bandit king. She lives in the forest with twisting, changing paths. These two are brought together. Will Ned learn to have faith in himself? Will they keep the magic safe from those who want to use it from evil gains? Can they save themselves from the magic?

Ned is a relatable character for teens, struggling to find his own voice, he spends time observing things that he has no control over.


“A word, after all, is a kind of magic. It locks the substance of a thing in sound or symbol, and affixes it to the ear, or paper, or stone. Words call the world into being. That’s power indeed.” (p. 29)

“You should come. Because the world is wide and nimble and rich. And full or promise. And adventure. And tricks. And Because you are my friend.” (p. 371)


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