Tamsin comes from a long line of witches with special talents. In her family, some can see the future, some can find lost things, and some have the power of persuasion. Tamsin feels like an outcast though because it seems her talent never materialized. When a stranger mistakes her for her powerful sister Rowena, Tamsin goes along with the ruse because she wants to feel like she belongs. But is helping the stranger in his mission a terrible mistake?
There are quite a few aspects I really liked about this one. First, I found it refreshing to read a YA book where I didn’t have to attend a high school class. Tamsin mentions her school, but fortunately, none of the action happens there. Instead we get a couple of really fun backdrops including a creepy old NYC townhouse in several different time periods. Yep, the main character gets to time travel – and I always love that. In fact, I wish she would have done more of it (or that the author had written the modern scenes to be as evocative as those set in the past).
This was a very quick read for me, and it was entertaining enough. I just never developed a strong emotional connection to any of the characters (with the possible exception of Tamsin’s grandmother, who was stellar in her short yet pivotal scenes). I mean I liked Tamsin (and tolerated Rowena), but I never really feared for her or anything. Perhaps part of that is the fault of the rather anemic antagonist (seriously, the McDonald’s Hamburglar is more menacing). I also found it jarring that Tamsin smoked cigarettes, so despite the low scare factor, I’d be reluctant to recommend this to very young teens.
Still, I thought the mythology and world building were intriguing enough that I’d be willing to check out a sequel. (NOTE: I have no confirmation for this, but I’ve heard there is one due this year called ALWAYS A WITCH.)
ONCE A WITCH is now available in hardcover. Find out more about it at www.onceawitch.com