The Midwinter Witch
Aster, the boy witch, and Ariel, his new friend (who’s a bit undisciplined in her abilities), are attempting to catch up on their magic training. The family is preparing for the Festival, a gathering of all the extended relatives that also features a magical competition to crown the Midwinter Witch. Aster wants to compete, for the first time, but there are concerns that the rest of the family might not be ready to be reminded that he’s a boy that does magic, when boys are supposed to be shapeshifters.
Sending the characters to the equivalent of a winter holiday with family members, where they’re not sure how much they’re accepted, mimics something many non-traditional kids go through, and it’s reassuring to see them gain strength and support from their friends. Ariel, meanwhile, is trying to decide between a blood family that didn’t treat her well and an adopted one who wants to support her choices.
I wish we’d seen more with Charlie, the non-magical girl who hangs with these kids, but she does get a couple of key reassurance scenes. There aren’t a lot of surprises in this final volume, but it’s an encouraging read with the important message that your true family is the one that accepts who you are.
The publisher has posted preview pages. (The publisher provided an advance digital review copy.)