The Midwinter Witch

Graphix/Scholastic/. (Witch Boy: Bk. 3). Nov. 2019. 208p. Tr $24.99. ISBN 9781338540567; pap. $12.99. ISBN 9781338540550.
Gr 3-6–In this conclusion to Aster’s journey, things seem to have settled down for the witch boy and his friends. While friend Charlie and cousin Sedge attend regular nonmagic school, orphaned witch Ariel attends magic lessons with the Vanissens and is learning to control her power—somewhat. Just as she’s getting used to the idea of a newfound magical family, Ariel starts having dreams: realistic visions of a long-lost aunt who is searching for her and who claims that magic is to be stolen, not shared. These dreams follow her to the Midwinter Festival, a Vanissen family reunion that includes notable magic competition the Jolrun. Aster dreams of competing as a witch, but some of his family members still don’t approve. As the festival continues, friendships are strained, secrets are kept, and a surprise appearance by a villainous figure puts everyone in danger. But Aster and his friends show up for one another when it counts, embodying the possibilities of young friendship and found family through tough times and misunderstandings. Though more subdued than its counterparts, this graphic novel is a strong cap to a delightful series. A folksy palette of forest greens and browns interspersed with bursts of warmth captures the frosty outdoors and the group’s cozy cabin evenings. Though newcomers will enjoy this title, those familiar with the first two entries will most appreciate the plot references and the development of each character’s arc.
VERDICT A heartwarming, wintry adventure that series fans will love.

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