Any Witch Way
Paperback: 188 pages
Publisher: JournalStone (April 8, 2011)
Source: e-book copy from publisher
Sadie has spent the three years since her mother’s death moving from one foster home to another. She is labeled crazy by her peers and the adults in her community because she refuses to believe her mother is truly dead. After all, there was no body found at the scene of the car accident and one never showed up afterwards. But for Sadie, believing that her mother is alive somewhere isn’t enough. She wants a normal life, and she can’t have “normal” when her mother is missing.
As if her life isn’t complicated enough, Sadie learns she has magical powers on the night of her thirteenth birthday. When she finds herself riding to safety on the back of a centaur, Sadie realizes that “normal” is no longer an option for her life. Now she is faced with the daunting task of saving both the human and magical realms, learning how to use her new powers, and finding her place in the world.
I really liked Sadie in this book. She was a charming girl that struggled with issues that most young adults have: she was too trusting, too hard on herself, etc. Sadie was way too trusting. If she were real, I would have slapped her at least twice during the book. However, she is just like most twelve and thirteen year olds I know, which makes her a believable character (magical abilities aside). I think her doubting nature makes her more believable because she is not full of confidence. (Who is full of confidence at thirteen?) I also liked the addition of the ornery gnomes as Sadie’s companions throughout her adventure. They were a pleasant, humorous addition to the story.
I have mixed feelings about the plot of this book. If I were twelve or thirteen, I would probably be okay with the pacing. However, as an adult I felt it lagged at times. It took me forever to read this book, which is uncommon for me. I had a hard time getting into it. On a positive note, however, the detail given to building the characters and setting were phenomenal. I could picture the scenes I read in my mind with vivid detail—even the disgusting details of exploding trolls dripping with snot that smelled of rotten eggs. The amount of detail that went into building the characters and setting really ended up being a saving grace. I felt like I was so invested in the characters that I needed to finish the book to see what would happen. There were several plot twists that were surprising, which I enjoyed discovering as I read. The ending left the book open for another book in a possible new series. So, I’m fairly certain we will see more of Sadie.
Overall, this was a decent read. It’s a little different from the books I typically read, but I enjoyed it all the same. I would say that Annastaysia Savage's Any Witch Way is geared towards the tween set more than a typical YA reader. I’m sure my students would enjoy reading this, and I wouldn’t mind offering it to them. It was a clean, well-written piece of fiction.