Molly Knox Ostertag (Illustrator)
In the magical sequel to Molly Knox Osterag’s THE WITCH BOY, Aster continues his journey to become a great witch, builds on his relationship with his friends and family, and even meets a brand new friend. It is the perfect example of a book series where the second book matches or improves upon the first book.
In THE HIDDEN WITCH, Aster is finally out and open about being a witch, and is even taking witchery classes. However, because he has missed out on so many classes, he struggles to keep up. He turns to his grandmother, who is more than happy to help, but only on one difficult condition. Aster must help his grandmother find a cure for Mikasi’s affliction. It is nice that the main villain of the last book returns in this sequel and continues to be a central part of Aster’s conflict.
Meanwhile, Charlie is back in school and ready to return to her sports and non-magical friends. On the first day, she meets a new student named Ariel. Ariel is visibly shy and a little weird. Charlie, being the kind friend that she is, takes Ariel under her wing. Ariel is the brand new character in this book and adds a whole new magical dynamic to the story. You’ll quickly fall in love with this awkward, somewhat scary character hiding something sinister from everyone.
In addition to Ariel, Aster’s brother, Sedge, takes up a much larger part of the story. He has his own identity crisis during this book and his arc kind of reiterates a lot of the social themes present in the first book.
Just like in the first book, the illustrations are gorgeous. While it’s a very fast read, you’ll spend a lot of time staring in awe at the colorful drawings on each page. The characters’ designs and fashion perfectly fit their personalities. It is really cool how the illustrator finds the perfect balance between the normal clothing of a 2019 teenager and the clothing of an old-timey witch.
THE HIDDEN WITCH is a must read for anyone interested in magic, crushing gender norms, and of course, has read book one. The graphic novel ends on a perfect note and sets up the rest of the series for some really great adventures. You’ll be hungry for more as soon as you finish it!
CRITICS HAVE SAID
- “With charming artwork, interesting supporting characters, natural-feeling diversity, and peeks of a richly developed world, this book leaves readers wishing for more.” – Kirkus Reviews, starred review
- “Ostertag’s bright, gentle, cartoonlike artwork brims with life and adds extra appeal to this fast-moving story. An excellent choice for reluctant readers, fans of fantasy, and those looking for books that explore gender roles.” – School Library Journal, starred review
- “Thrilling and sweet. Ostertag is one of comics’ brightest new voices.” – Hope Larson, author of Compass South
IF YOU LOVE THIS BOOK, THEN TRY:
- The Witch Boy by Molly Knox Ostertag, 2017
- The Prince and the Dressmaker by Jen Wang, 2018
- The Tea Dragon Society by Katie O’Neill, 2020