The Near Witch

The Near Witch
By Victoria Schwab
Published by Hyperion
Published on August 2011
Source: Library

Summary Taken from Goodreads:

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.

And 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. Still, he insists on helping Lexi search for them. Something tells her she can trust him.
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.
Part fairy tale, part love story, Victoria Schwab’s debut novel is entirely original yet achingly familiar: a song you heard long ago, a whisper carried by the wind, and a dream you won’t soon forget.

This book felt like a fairy tale.  It was set in a small village and the setting really only took place in the village and the moors surrounding it.  Other than a brief story, you are given no account of the "outside world".  There is no outside beyond Near according to the villagers.  When a stranger shows up, it throws the town into a tizzy.  The immediately want him sent away.  
When children start going missing "ala the Pied Piper", the residents immediately put the blame on the stranger.  Lexi feels that she can trust the stranger and defends him to the community and secretly works to solve the mystery on her own.

This book didn't really live up to the expectations I had for it.  It fell a little flat. The fairy tale became very dark and became a story about witches.  That wasn't a bad thing, but simply just not what I expected.  I do not like stories about harming young children- and this had that element.  I liked how Lexi and the strangers relationship played out, but I felt it was a bit too "insta- love" for me.

This book really needed another 100 pages.  I felt like I got to know everyone too fast, and I also felt like the ending was dragged out a bit too long.  Once Lexi finds the children, she essentially leaves them there.  I had a big problem with that- but then again, I don't like young children being harmed in the first place. I really think that if the book would have been longer- some of those issues I described could have been worked out.

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