Review: Witchlings (Witchlings #1) by Claribel A Ortega

Title: Witchlings
Series: Witchlings #1
Author: Claribel A Ortega
Publisher: Scholastic Press
Release Date: April 5th, 2022
Page Length: 334
Genre: Fantasy
Age Range: Middle Grade
Rep: LGBTQIA+, Queer
Rating: 4⭐

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Goodreads Synopsis:

A magical adventure for fans of Amari and the Night Brothers and Nevermoor, about three witchlings who must work together to do the impossible if they have any hope of earning their full powers.

Every year, in the magical town of Ravenskill, Witchlings who participate in the Black Moon Ceremony are placed into covens and come into their powers as full-fledged witches.

And twelve-year-old Seven Salazar can’t wait to be placed in the most powerful coven with her best friend! But on the night of the ceremony, in front of the entire town, Seven isn’t placed in one of the five covens. She’s a Spare!

Spare covens have fewer witches, are less powerful, and are looked down on by everyone. Even worse, when Seven and the other two Spares perform the magic circle to seal their coven and cement themselves as sisters, it doesn’t work! They’re stuck as Witchlings—and will never be able to perform powerful magic.

Seven invokes her only option: the impossible task. The three Spares will be assigned an impossible task: If they work together and succeed at it, their coven will be sealed and they’ll gain their full powers. If they fail… Well, the last coven to make the attempt ended up being turned into toads. Forever.

But maybe friendship can be the most powerful magic of all…

With action-packed adventure, a coven of quirky witchlings, Claribel A. Ortega’s signature humor and girl-power vibes, this middle grade Latine witch story is truly a modern classic.

Thoughts

Thanks to Edelweiss and Scholastic Press for providing me with an eARC in exchange for an honest review.

I read this as part of a group read with TBR and Beyond Book Club and I ever glad that I did. As it was I had already sat too long on it.

Ortega does an amazing job at creating this magical world with Witch houses (I pictured them like sorority houses lol), politics, and impossible tasks! Ravenskill, the town, sounds like such a whimsical, magical place that anyone who’d love to be a witch would be happy to visit. The magical rules that Ortega created, although sometimes unfair, left enough of a challenge for the Spares, our main characters. Speaking of, the main characters were adorable, both individually and as a group! Seven wasn’t my favourite character at first, but as we got further into the book and learned more about her, I found myself becoming found and protective of her. Thorn and Valley were polar opposites: Valley was so sweet and I just wanted to wrap my arms around her and protect her forever; Thorn would be the character I would WANT to be, although not as how we are presented with her at the beginning, but how we grew to know and love her!

I enjoyed the ending and found the message overall sweet. I enjoyed Ortego’s first book, Ghost Squad, but absolutely loved this one! The friendship group was to die for. If you’re wanting a book this spooky season, but wanting not wanting to be scared, then I highly recommend this one! Actually if you enjoyed Ghost Squad, Nevermoor, or Amari and the Night Brothers.

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