“Moth is starting to settle into her newfound witch heritage and powers, but life at school continues to be rough. Even her best friend, Charlie, doesn’t entirely understand what it’s like for her to always be the one who gets mocked, and things only get worse when Moth’s mom starts dating one of the dorkiest teachers in the school! Then Moth gets hold of a mysterious charm that can unleash another version of herself – one who is confident, cool, and extremely popular. What could possibly go wrong?
-Synopsis from inside front cover
I always look forward to reading seasonal graphic novels this time of year, and this month I’ll be reviewing witchy ones in particular. I’ll be posting one each week for the month of October.
*light spoilers below*
The Okay Witch and the Hungry Shadow by Emma Steinkellner is the sequel to The Okay Witch, a delightful graphic novel that I read back in 2019. You can take a look at that review here for a quick recap, if you’d like.
The last time we saw Moth Hush, she had decided to stay in the mortal world with her mom, rather than live in the magical world of Hecate which her grandma Sarah created three hundred years ago. Moth was struggling with bullies at school and feeling like she didn’t belong in her town of Founder’s Bluff, but knowing she was a witch and could learn more about magic left the story on a promising ending.
This time around, Moth’s issues at school have only gotten worse. Not only does she still feel like an outsider, but she is regularly treated as the butt of the joke by the popular kids, and openly mocked on a daily basis. Moth believes deep down that if she were different, she would be able to fit in and then she would be happy.
As the synopsis alludes, Moth ends up using magic to help build up her confidence. Not only is she able to stand up to the bullies, but she finally becomes part of the popular crowd at school. She only uses the magic when she really needs it, so what could go wrong?
Familiar faces from the last book, including grandma Sarah and Peter, travel to Founder’s Bluff to warn Moth about the evil that lives inside the magic she has used. Moth knows she is stronger than it, but it might be too late for her to save herself from turning into a completely different person.
This was a very fun read and a great follow-up to the first book. The characters, both old and new, continue to be a delight. The story moves at a pretty fast pace, and I was pleasantly surprised by how easily topics of bullying, racism, and misogyny are discussed in ways that younger readers will be able to comprehend.
I would recommend reading the first book in this series in order to fully appreciate the characters and backstory, including the history of witches in Founder’s Bluff, which is a significant part of both books.
Having gained confidence and learning about her self-worth, I would be very interested to see where a third book finds Moth Hush!