Title: The Witches of Willow Cove | Author: Josh Roberts | Publisher: Owl Hollow Press | Genre: Middlegrade | 260 pages
This book was the very very first I ever downloaded from Netgalley, so it’s special in a way. Thank you to Netgalley for providing me with this copy in exchange for an honest review.
It’s not easy being a teenage witch. Seventh grader Abby Shepherd is just getting the hang of it when weird stuff starts happening all around her hometown of Willow Cove. Green slime bubbling to life in science class. Giant snakes slithering around the middle school gym. Her best friend suddenly keeping secrets and telling lies.
Things only begin to make sense when a stranger named Miss Winters reveals that Abby isn’t the only young witch in town—and that Willow Cove is home to a secret past that connects them all. Miss Winters, herself a witch, even offers to teach Abby and the others everything she knows about witchcraft.
But as Abby learns more about Miss Winters’ past, she begins to suspect her new mentor is keeping secrets of her own. Can Abby trust her, or does Miss Winters have something wicked planned for the young witches of Willow Cove?
I was so happy to have found this book. I have read books by the Owl Hollow Press before and loved them and was adamant to love this book too. Now I’m not quite sure what to say about “The Witches of Willow Cove”. I liked and didn’t like this book in a way, so it’s hard to know where to start.
Good things first: first of all, I am in awe of Josh Roberts writing style. It is atmospheric and engaging and it made me feel at home. I definitely felt like I was right there and that’s not always an easy thing to do. I applaud you, sir.
Furthermore, the overall story of Abby who discovers she is a witch and has to learn to control those powers all while navigating school, home life and friendship, is engaging and fun. Some scenes have a more grey-ish, darker tone to them, but that is definitely what you would expect from a story about witches.
The book has two main characters who are best friends – Abby and Robbie. The chapters are alternating between their points of view. While at first I was a little surprised, I was soon also engaged with Robbie’s storyline.
But I think that was also where the crux lies with the story for me. While the story lines where interesting and fun on their own, I always felt a little like they didn’t quite fit together. Some things didn’t quite make sense, like the secrets Robbie is keeping from Abby. Since we know everything Robbie is doing, there are no secrets for the reader to uncover, nothing to wonder about what Robbie is up to. Sure there is a third party that has the most secrets of all, but in a way it felt like two different stories in one, each with their own friends and sidekicks.
I liked the characters as a whole, although some could have been a little more fleshed-out. I especially liked the new teacher Miss Winters who teaches Abby and her coven witchcraft. There was always an air of danger and mystery around her and it was fun to discover what she was up to.
All in all it was a good story with atmosphere and a great plot. The characters were a little on the weaker side and some question were left unanswered which I found rather unfortunate. But it’s a great start and if the author continues this series or writes something else I will gladly read it.