“In thirteen-year-old Aster’s family, all the girls are raised to be witches, while boys grow up to be shapeshifters. Anyone who dares cross those lines is exiled. Unfortunately for Aster, he still hasn’t shifted . . . and he’s still fascinated by witchery, no matter how forbidden it might be.
When a mysterious danger threatens the other boys, Aster knows he can help — as a witch. It will take the encouragement of a new friend, the non-magical and non-conforming Charlie, to convince Aster to try practicing his skills. And it will require even more courage to save his family . . . and be truly himself.”
-Synopsis from Goodreads
The Witch Boy is a fun middle grade graphic novel about a young boy who comes from a magical family, where the men are shapeshifters and the women are witches. The only problem is, he is far more interested in being a witch than being a shapeshifter, which is completely forbidden. He must keep his secret of studying witchery and spells from his family, especially his dad and the other boys his age.
It’s clear from the beginning that this story is going to center around themes of being yourself, trusting your gut instincts, and doing what’s right. At first, I was taken aback by how vehemently Aster’s family was opposed to his learning witchcraft, because the underlying message is that he cannot associate with women whatsoever and to do so would be wrong on many levels. He is made to feel that who he is, and what he wants, is wrong and that he is destined to be an outcast. It was pretty intense. Too intense? Maybe, but other readers might feel differently.
When a boy goes missing, Aster steps up to help find him. With the support of his new friend from a neighboring town, who accepts him for exactly what he is, he manages to face the evil force that’s threatening his family. What unravels from there is a story that no one, not Aster or any of the elders in his family, was expecting to hear. Aster’s choosing to be himself opens doors for others in the family to do the same.
This was a great graphic novel and I look forward to reading the rest of the series!