Tag Archives: gender norms

Review: Witch Boy

Title: The Witch Boy
Author: Molly Knox Ostertag
Illustrator: ‚ÄéMolly Knox Ostertag
Publisher: Scholastic
Date Published: October 31, 2017
Audience level: Grades 3-7
Plot Synopses (provided by publisher): In thirteen-year-old Aster’s family, all the girls are raised to be witches, while boys grow up to be shapeshifters. Anyone who dares cross those lines is exiled. Unfortunately for Aster, he still hasn’t shifted . . . and he’s still fascinated by witchery, no matter how forbidden it might be.

When a mysterious danger threatens the other boys, Aster knows he can help — as a witch. It will take the encouragement of a new friend, the non-magical and non-conforming Charlie, to convince Aster to try practicing his skills. And it will require even more courage to save his family . . . and be truly himself.

Overall rating: 4/5

Spoilers below

Overall:This was ridiculously cute. I really liked the world that was created, the way that magic works, though we aren’t shown much of how many magic users there are, how they have gone totally undetected, etc. (Okay, that is probably not a fair nitpick for this story, which is very self-contained.)

Main themes/tropes: magic, gender norms, never fitting in, friendship

Plot: There have been hundreds of years of no one questioning the gender roles involved with magic? Or are all of the questioners erased/demonized like Mikasi? I was left with a lot of questions after reading this, but considering the age range the books is for I can see why the rules of the world weren’t explained more and can forgive them.

Characters: Charlie was the most interesting character for me, with everyone else, including Aster, seeming a little flat. The boys are especially one-dimensional, and it’s hard to feel sorry for them even after what Mikasi puts them through.

Art: Full color vibrant art.