Staff Picks (August): The Witch Boy GN

 

Girls are always witches and boys are always shape-changers; everyone knows that! Poor Aster is a young man with a magical crisis. Pigeonholed and teased, he just doesn't fit the pattern, and worse, his whole family feels there's something off about him. In a world where magic and gender and abilities and rules are tied in one awful, immobile knot, author Molly Ostertag introduces us to her preteen protagonist, Aster, who's determined to figure it all out for himself.

A family-friendly mystery adventure, The Witch Boy effortlessly pulls young readers into a world of spells and spirits while gracefully demonstrating that no good can come of bullying, that understanding starts with listening, and that sometimes it takes a lot of bravery to be true to yourself. The work is a delight that never preaches--a youth title with a clear moral woven into the narrative, that never lets its themes override the flow of the story.

Gender-based concerns are delicately and beautifully handled within these pages. There are families and readers for whom Aster's troubles will echo very personal struggles. More broadly, though, anyone who has grappled with self-doubt or peer pressures will immediately recognize themselves in Aster. With that in mind, I'm happy to recommend this title to any reader who's ever felt out of step or unsure of themselves. There's always a place for you here.

Sarah Martinez

Publisher: Graphix
Item Code: AUG171754
Release Date: 11/1/17
SRP: $12.99

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Staff Picks (August): Expansion GN

Recommended by Trevor Richardson
Expansion blends the best elements of gritty science fiction with the literary nuances one would expect from an Adhouse book.