Author: Douglas Rees
Publication: Harlequin; Original edition (July 1, 2010)
Description: My name is Kestrel.
Never call me Susan.
Who ever heard of a witch named Susan?
A year ago, I was on the white-magic side. Lately, I've been leaning toward the black. I blame the universe. What's the point in being a nice little white witch in the universe I've got? If I could choose my own universe, I'd be a white witch in it. But black makes a lot more sense in this universe.
Not that I'm complaining. A witch never complains. But if I did, I'd have a lot to complain about. For instance: Richard Milhous Nixon High.
What's a teen witch to do when she's stuck in the most unmagical high school in the universe? Create her own "majix." Take notes. And above all, avoid nasty classmates, heartless grown-ups and boys who may prove a little too distracting for a serious teen witch to handle….
My Thoughts: I enjoyed this coming-of-age story as Kestrel learns to survive being fourteen. She calls her parents "the Rentz"; her dad is Big Daddy or BD for short; her mother is Mommy Angel. She has been experimenting to decide who she is by practicing witchcraft, smoking, wearing only black, and being generally difficult to handle. Kestrel is sent to live with her aunt after her father has a heart attack and her mother becomes absorbed in his care.
As she says:
And now he can't have any more ice cream or tobacco or stress. Stress means his company, which he sold for major bucks. And me, who he couldn't sell. So here I am, whooping it up in Jurupa. Mommy Angel says it is just until BD's heart is stronger (meaning: "Until he can stand having you around again."), But I think it's permanent.Kestrel doesn't know her aunt. Her aunt and her brother do not get along. When she arrives, she is surprised to learn that her aunt is also a witch. Wicca is her religion. She has written books on the topic and does public speaking. She is also very good with Kestrel and defends her when she gets in trouble at school. She doesn't conform to the dress code or the social attitude.
Kestrel is bullied by the social cliques at the school but she does manage to make some friends - Jose who is a Mexican-American artist and Laura who is very shy. Kestrel is also tormented by Blake Cump who has problems of his own. As a teacher, I was appalled at the response of the school to the episodes of bullying and harassment that Kestrel encountered. The school principal was evil.
This is a story about adjusting to whatever life throws at you. I thought Kestrel did an excellent job whether magic was involved or not. I recommend this book for Middle Graders and YAs who want a school story with just a hint of the paranormal.
It's sixth period and I'm sitting in class thinking, If I can get through to the end of the week, maybe they'll get distracted over the weekend and go on to somebody else. But I know better. Queens may have the attention span of houseflies for most things, but on some subjects they are like the snow-white, red-eared hounds of the Moon Goddess. One of those subjects: being mean.Challenges: 2010 YA Reading Challenge, RYOB Reading Challenge