THE WITCH BOY by Molly Knox Ostertag

The Witch Boy by Molly Knox Ostertag

You can tell from the title that this graphic novel is set in a world of magic, in this case with shape-shifters and witches.  But gender rules what particular kind of magic boys and girls are culturally expected to follow.  Aster’s family is of the traditional sort:  his mother Holly is a witch, his father Tohor is a shapeshifter, and his older sister Juniper is a witch.  But Aster is drawn to spells and chants and incantations, which are forbidden to him.  He tries to learn the shapeshifting skills he is supposed to master, but struggles, and has to hide his passion for “women’s work” (read “witchery”).  Then, his cousin Sedge disappears–and soon after, more of his male cousins go missing.  Aster is the only one who is able “scry,” or see the missing boys.  Will he be able to use his magic to save his family?

Lots of interesting dialogue about gendered roles, as well as interesting and unique characters .  A fitting book to for middle school class discussions.  Recommended!

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