The Hidden Witch GN
Publisher: Scholastic/Graphix
Release Date: October 30, 2018
Price: $12.99 (TP) / $24.99 (HC)
Creator: Molly Ostertag
Format: 208 pgs., Full-Color, 6"x9", Trade Paperback/Hardcover
ISBN: 978-1-3380-8951-6 (TP) / 978-1-3380-8952-3 (HC)
Age Rating: 8-12
ICv2 Rating: 4.5 Stars out of 5

Molly Ostertag has actually surpassed her first book in this series, as she becomes more comfortable with the world and the characters.  The only weakness of the volume is that readers really need to have read the first volume in order to understand a lot of what is going on in this book.

In The Hidden Witch, the central character from the first volume, Witch Boy, has become more comfortable and a bit more accepted, and is called upon to help another young mage.  In the world of the story, the teaching of magic is passed down through a family, but what happens when a mage is orphaned too young for that to have happened?  The horrors of a foster family system are nothing compared to the horrors of family magic gone wrong, as happens in this story.

Healing magic, harmful magic, basketball and a host of other stories interweave in this tale, and it’s a marvelous story.  There is still the leftover evil dragonish thing from the first story as well, and even he becomes part of this emotional tale, as the good side of him tries to do something not evil, for once.

The publisher’s suggested age range is appropriate, although older readers of graphic works will also enjoy it.  The central character, a boy who has taken on "girl magic," and his tomboy school friend are showing how gender roles don’t have to be brick walls, without any sexual content in the story.

This book belongs on a lot of bookshelves, in private homes and in both public and school libraries, along with Witch Boy.

--Nick Smith: Library Technician, Community Services, for the Pasadena Public Library in California.