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Young Adult Fiction 350
riveting and enchanting YA fantasy
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WILD IS THE WITCH is a sweeping and riveting YA fantasy. In a world where everyone knows witches exist, Iris is keeping the fact that she is a witch a secret. After her best friend tried to turn a boy into a mage and he died, Iris has felt the cruelty of people who rejected her, particularly her father who refused to come with them when they were pushed out of town. Two years later, Iris and her mother own a wildlife refuge, which is perfect for her affinity for animals. It is the perfect job for Iris, if only she did not have to work alongside Pike, who pushes all her buttons and hates witches.

After a particularly rough comment, Iris decides to perform a ritual to create a curse for Pike and then burn it without having it activate. Before she is able to complete the process of burning it, a northern spotted owl swoops down and takes the curse before flying away into the mountains. Knowing that the owl is powerful multiplier of magic and fearing the consequences, Iris knows she must go after the owl and transfer the curse to something she can destroy before it activates and destroys the Pacific Northwest.

However, her mother will not allow her to go alone, and she must take Pike with her into the mountains. As she begins to search for the owl, she begins to learn more about Pike and realizes things may not have been so simple.

What I loved: This is such a beautifully written story about anxiety, understanding, and mistakes. Iris has been struggling with her worries and her anger. She feels the weight of the world on her shoulders after her friend's decision and consequences as well as her father's abandonment. Her journey here fields her secrets with fears for the bird and for all the people who might be impacted if the curse is released. The camping trip with Pike is anything but easy, not only because of their animosity but also due to encounters with wildlife and nature.

Iris is a really compelling character. The reader is pulled into her life and fears quickly, and it was easy to want what is best for her. Her rivalry with Pike is a driving force for her to place a lot of her energy, and as they journey together, she begins to understand more about who he is and why he pushes her buttons so much. Seen through Iris's eyes, the reader feels the way she feels, irritated with Pike and then beginning to see him differently through key conversations. As the relationship evolves, it feels really natural, and they became really easy to cheer for. This felt like a really fantastic enemies-to-lovers story with a genuine arc.

The plot is perfectly paced, and I was riveted from start to finish. The world and characters really come to life through the story, and this alternate reality with witches in the open felt so believable. Thought-provoking themes around understanding, trust, secrets, family, power, and fate really elevated the story. Lush writing complements the story in a way that helps bring it all to life.

Final verdict: With lyrical prose and lush world-building, WILD IS THE WITCH is a riveting and lovely story about a young woman's adventure to fix her mistakes and find love in the process. Highly recommend picking up this thought-provoking and enchanting read!
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