Thursday, September 4, 2014

The Witch's Boy by Kelly Barnhill

The Witch's Boy by Kelly Barnhill

Ned and his twin brother live by the river and they decide to build a raft to take them to the sea.  When the raft sinks, the father of the boys races into the river to rescue them, but he can only save one child and he saves the wrong boy.  His mother is a witch and she uses magic to save Ned's life.  Magic always comes with a price and Ned pays for it by losing his ability to communicate well.

Aine's mother has recently died.  Her final words were "the wrong boy will save you".  After they have lost everything, Aine's father moves them into the forest, a place of mystery and intrigue.  Her father begins to wear a magic eye around his neck and it changes him. He becomes the Bandit King and raids villages and steals from others as Aine struggles to keep her family and life as she knows it intact.  One thing Aine knows for sure is that magic is evil and she wants nothing to do with it.

When Ned and Aine meet, sparks fly.  Ned has magic written all over his body and Aine wants to lead him far away so her father can't find him.  The two become fast friends and embark on a life altering journey.

Barnhill has written a magical story about grief, friendship, adventure and survival that every kid (and kids at heart) will enjoy.  I was enchanted by Ned and his story and when he met the wolf in the woods, I knew that this story was special.  I love wolves.  The characters are well developed, the plot is layered and the story is wonderfully told.

I love the images that Barnhill provokes with her writing.  My mind was busy painting with Barnhill's words and my heart was beating in time with the story and it was magic.  Magic for me is when the writer, the story and the reader connect.  Like when the fairy tale world collides with the real world and there is a flash of lightning.  The Witch's Boy will get in your bones and leave its writing on your skin and you will experience how trees move, and stones speak, and you will hear the wolf howl and feel the magic breathe.

The Witch's Boy is creative and endearing and a sweet, wonderful story.   It will make you want to hug your friends and hold onto to your family.

P.S. Can someone call Disney for me?  I have a great idea for a movie.