There are no strangers in Near. So when one appears in the dark of night, everyone in town is on edge as to who this strange man could be. Then a child goes missing. Then another child goes missing. The town is convinced that this stranger has something to do with it. Lexi, though, isn't so sure. She's entranced by this stranger, certainly, but isn't ready to believe that he could be behind something so terrible. In order to find out the truth, she must break away from the safety and support of her town and turn towards the magic that happens out on the Moors. The Near Witch was just a story that people told to children...but now it looks like the story might have come true.
The undercurrents of fear and uncertainty drive this story and keep it clipping along at a good pace. There were elements of the story and of Lexi that reminded me a bit of The Hunger Games's Katniss (a strong teen in a family with a single mother who looks after her younger sister and has abilities in tracking that help her out), but Lexi is still her own character and this story builds its own world. As the layers of mythology were pulled back, information came out organically and Lexi and the stranger developed a very believable bond. A solid choice for fans of supernatural suspense stories. I am really excited to read more from Victoria Schwab.
See more at Victoria Schwab's blog. She also has a website.
Find it at IndieBound.
Read it with:
The Hunger Games by Suzanne Collins
The Pied Piper's Magic by Steven Kellogg
Sweetly by Jackson Pearce
The Doll in the Garden by Mary Downing Hahn