Review: The Near Witch

Title: The Near Witch
Author: V.E. Schwab
Genre: Young Adult, Fantasy
Publisher: Titan Books
Source: Purchased
Format: Hardcover
Release Date: March 12, 2019 (originally August 2, 2011)
Rating: ★★★★★


Goodreads Synopsis:

Brand new edition of Victoria Schwab’s long out-of-print, stunning debut

The Near Witch is only an old story told to frighten children. 

If the wind calls at night, you must not listen. The wind is lonely, and always looking for company. 

There are no strangers in the town of Near. 

These are the truths that Lexi has heard all her life. 

But when an actual stranger, a boy who seems to fade like smoke, appears outside her home on the moor at night, she knows that at least one of these sayings is no longer true. 

The next night, the children of Near start disappearing from their beds, and the mysterious boy falls under suspicion. 

As the hunt for the children intensifies, so does Lexi’s need to know about the witch that just might be more than a bedtime story, about the wind that seems to speak through the walls at night, and about the history of this nameless boy.


A stranger comes to the town of Near one night. Lexi saw him before he disappeared. The night after he appears, a child goes missing. Everyone in town thinks the stranger must have stolen the child. Then more children disappear. A group of men start tracking the stranger to find the missing children. Lexi keeps thinking about the bedtime story of The Near Witch. She’s sure that the Near Witch is responsible for the missing children. Lexi meets the mysterious stranger, who helps her search for the Near Witch and the missing children.

This story reminded me of a children’s fairytale. Lexi was told the story of The Near Witch when she was a child. It was about a witch in their small town who was banished. The townspeople are divided on whether it was a true story or not. There was some mysterious magic in the town, which made Lexi believe the Near Witch story could be real. Both the Near Witch story and Lexi’s story had fairytale qualities.

This story had the beautiful poetic language of V.E. Schwab. The sentences read like a poem. There was a nursery rhyme that the children would sing about the Near Witch which was a poem. This was V.E. Schwab’s first novel, but it has her voice woven throughout it.

I really enjoyed this fantasy story!

What to read next:

Winterwood by Shea Ernshaw

The Bone Houses by Emily Lloyd-Jones

Have you read The Near Witch? What did you think of it?


Author: jilljemmett

Jill lives in Toronto, Canada. She has studied English, Creative Writing, and Publishing. Jill is the creator and content producer of Jill’s Book Blog, where she has published a blog post every day for the last four years, including 5-7 book reviews a week. She can usually be found with her nose in a book.

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