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The Whitby Witches (The Whitby Witches #1)

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3.96  ·  Rating Details  ·  485 Ratings  ·  40 Reviews
At first glance, the small seaside town of Whitby seems quiet and charming, but eight year-old Ben and his older sister Jennet soon learn that things are not always as they seem. Moved about from foster home to foster home, Ben and Jennet hope to make a fresh start in Whitby. But Ben sees thingsand peopleothers cannot. There's something unusual about Alice Boston, their ne ...more
Hardcover, 296 pages
Published August 17th 2006 by Chronicle Books (first published 1991)
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(showing 1-30 of 758)
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Laure Eve
It's very hard for me to be objective about Robin Jarvis - he's a childhood author that I think has infiltrated my very consciousness and I love his worlds dearly. But it was interesting to re-read a favourite with the jaded enthusiasm of an adult and find that, actually, this still stood up as a superb piece of children's fiction. Like Pullman, Jarvis is an author that anyone from ages 8 to 80 could read and adore. The Whitby trilogy isn't as JESUSCHRISTDARK as say, The Deptford Mice trilogy, b ...more
Alison
Ben and Jennet are travelling from the North East of England to Whitby, North Yorkshire to a new adoptive home. Since the death of their parents they have moved from foster home to foster home: Ben's ability to see dead people tends to put off foster families. On arrival at Whitby they meet their new adoptive mother- the eccentric elderly Alice Boston. The children settle in quickly, enjoying getting to know Miss Boston and explore Whitby, getting to know the local legends, including the story o ...more
Grace Harwood
Apr 18, 2015 Grace Harwood rated it it was amazing
I love this book which will appeal to children and adults alike. It's a tale set in Whitby and it incorporates many of the traditional legends of the town including the Barguest (the supernatural fierce black dog, which is a Yorkshire legend), the white lady alleged to haunt the Abbey, myths surrounding St Hilda, and some of the Dracula myths too (the witch crawling down the cliff is very redolent of this); but what I loved most about this book is the way it captures the quintessential essence o ...more
LH Johnson
I've written about The Whitby Witches before but never quite in the guise of a formal review. Upon the decision that I wanted to use this book in my PhD (and how, oh how could I not...), I knew it was time to fix that. And so: a review. But how to review this dark and powerful and wildly fantastic book, oh where to begin with such a book that is the first in a trilogy but not, somehow. The Whitby Witches is of Whitby and responsive to Whitby and in dialogue with the story of Whitby and all of th ...more
Rae Phillips
Sep 17, 2015 Rae Phillips rated it it was amazing
Fantastic, we enjoyed every single page!

I came across The Whitby Witches whilst looking for a new book to share with my children aged eleven and twelve. I cannot tell you how much we all enjoyed reading this book together. We visited Whitby last year and they loved the fact that they could spot the places we had visited during our stay. Anyone who has been to Whitby will tell you that there is something magical about this little seaside town and Robin Jarvis has been able to capture a little bit
...more
Rebecca
Oct 14, 2011 Rebecca rated it liked it  ·  review of another edition
Recommends it for: children/young teens
Shelves: younger-ya
I read this in second year at secondary school (about 13 year old year age). I'd recommend it to younger children. It will widen their imaginations, as it did to mine.
Bethnoir
Jun 08, 2014 Bethnoir rated it really liked it
I'm sure I must have read this as a child, but I didn't remember what was going to happen, so if I did I'd forgotten it. I can't think where else my desire to visit Whitby came from though.

The book is really quite dark and scary, the book uses the setting of the town of Whitby brilliantly to add atmosphere and interest. The characters have depth and I was rooting for them, I had quite different ideas about how the story was going to develop, but I enjoyed the supernatural elements, if not the p
...more
Mel
Mar 05, 2014 Mel rated it it was amazing
This was one of my favourite books when I was younger so I thought it was fitting to read it again as I was traveling to Whitby to visit family.

Despite being a children's book, there were aspects of this that I didn't feel were suitable for children.

I enjoyed the incorporation of Whitby's history and myths.
Susan
Aug 31, 2009 Susan rated it did not like it
Shelves: abandoned
This review has been hidden because it contains spoilers. To view it, click here.
Toni
Aug 21, 2014 Toni rated it really liked it
Whitby is one of my favourite places in the world! The whole story was completely knew to me. Yea I read fantasy genre books all the time but the characters were just so different! And, the story was different. Its was just AWESOME, everyone needs to read.
Margaret Pitcher
Oct 20, 2013 Margaret Pitcher rated it really liked it
I bought this for a young friend, who actually didn't like it and didn't get very far. I was somewhat relieved about that when I re-read it because I had forgotten how many rather cruel deaths there are in it. Putting an age group on the book is a little tricky. 13ish maybe. Much younger and it's a bit scary, much older and a modern teenager may find it a bit twee. Mrs Cooper is a great baddy, deliciously wicked. Aunt Alice is potentially a great foil but isn't drawn in quite clearly enough. She ...more
Isabel Tomlinson
Dec 19, 2013 Isabel Tomlinson rated it really liked it
I read this series as a child but hardly remember it and as Whitby is possibly my favourite place in the world I wanted to read them again.

It is a bit fantasy/horror - I'm not sure what age group this is recommended for but a particularly sensitive child might not get on with it very well - the title says it all really. There's a real historical feel to it as well, with lots of mythology and the like.

My only criticism was the ending which I felt was a little rushed, but I don't know if that was
...more
Alastair
Apr 24, 2014 Alastair rated it it was amazing
Shockingly not a modern horror classic! No idea why, this is one of the scariest books I've ever read, beating anything Stephen King has written by a mile. Needs a blockbuster Hollywood adaptation, ASAP.
Jeffrey Brett
Nov 04, 2015 Jeffrey Brett rated it it was amazing
I first came across Robin Jarvis when my daughter was reading his books. I couldn't put them down once you started reading. Robin Jarvis has a special talent which puts you in the story.
Elizabeth
This was kind of an odd book. I picked it up on a whim wanting to read more mystery and supernatural kind of middle grade books. It has a fun, creepy mystery but isn't too scary. The strangest part is a race of fisher-folk that only some people can see. Ultimately, they play into the murder mystery, but it doesn't really detract from their weirdness. I guess I would say the book was a fun, relatively quick read but I'm not sure I would read more in a series. It's for the kid who likes mystery wi ...more
Nola
Aug 28, 2014 Nola added it
Pretty damn creepy
P.C. Dettman
Jul 30, 2013 P.C. Dettman rated it really liked it
Shelves: young-adult
An enjoyable book: I definitely want to read the other two in this series, and other titles by Jarvis. It captures the mood and spirit of the town well, has some memorable characters and a number of mysteries which the young protagonists (Ben and Jenet) solve, with the help of their witchy guardian, Alice Boston. I particularly liked the inclusion of a number of famous Whitby legends such as the black dog (it's the cover image of my paperback edition) and disembodied hands. Recommend.
Skye
Aug 21, 2011 Skye rated it really liked it
In the tradition of Alan Garner and Susan Cooper, British 'rural fantasy' is my weakness so I couldn't help but like this. I loved the use of local legends (dying to go to Whitby now) and Alice Boston is my sort of Heroine (92 and rides a bicycle.) Impressively plotted, not a paragraph of filler, even if it seems like it at first, every detail becomes relevant to the story. My only disappointment was Jennet, perhaps she will come in to her own in the sequels.
Inge
Jan 23, 2009 Inge rated it did not like it
What a hot mess.
I am trying to learn my new collection at work and I picked this up.
If an author is going to incorporate werewolves with pseudo-witches with boys who have the ability to see ghosts AND sea creature people AND sea serpents AND Nazi fighter planes AND breaks in the space time continuum, than it better look seamless.
The old lady characters were, for the most part, stale stereotypes and the dialogue was stilted and unoriginal.
Skip it.
Julie
Aug 08, 2008 Julie rated it did not like it
Recommended to Julie by: Alex
I only read about 50 pages before deciding that I really wasn't enjoying this at all. Two orphans go to live with an old woman who is the leader of a local coven; the little boy can see ghosts, and runs into one of the fisher-folk that are invisible to most humans. It seems like a rehash of a number of other stories, and I have a lot of other books that I actually WANT to read.
Saoirse T. E. Sterling
[Quick review from memory before I re-read and re-review at a later date]

(Oh my, this book. My mother's favourite and I think it might be one of mine, though I'm slightly confused at the lower rating. Vague snatches of scenes though no memory of characters. A definite re-read, sooner rather than later. Perhaps not written terribly well, despite the story?)
Edward Davies
Jan 29, 2015 Edward Davies rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: 5-star-reads
The Whitby Witches was possibly my favourite series as a teenager, as the subject matter was something not often present in books for young kids. With parallels to The Sixth Sense (this book was published 8 years before that movie), this is an action filled, sometimes frightening childrens book that is filled with imaginative scenarios and belieavable characters.
Emma
Aug 08, 2011 Emma rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
I read the author's Deptford Mice trilogy when I was younger which I think inspired this as a Christmas present choice for me. A really well written story, clearly aimed at children but a fun read nevertheless and has a tighter plot than can be found in a lot of novels for adults. I'm now looking forward to reading the next one in the trilogy!
Helen
Oct 06, 2014 Helen rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: re-reading
I loved these books - my Aunty bought them for me as a kid and I've read them about 5/6 times over the years. They even inspired me to go to Whitby a few years ago and I just love it. Even though they are childrens books they are so thrilling that they definitely have an adult appeal as well and I cannot recommend them enough!
Heather
Just reread this one in preparation for reading A Warlock in Whitby. I still like it, but I think I liked it better the first time. Also, I got really frustrated with the quantity of typos that made it through to the printed edition.
Auralia
Jul 09, 2007 Auralia rated it it was ok
Recommends it for: Not a Soul
Shelves: childrenslit
The writing left something to be desired, about nine people died, I felt like I had missed something, like not everything was explained like it should be. I felt kind of cheated after I was done reading this book, it had such promise.
Lori
Nov 03, 2007 Lori rated it it was amazing
Shelves: childrens, fantasy
This is a great children/early teen fantasy adventure book. Shares a lot with Cooper's Dark is Rising series. Good to recommend to younger Harry Potter readers looking for more.
Can't wait for the rest of the trilogy to make it to the US!
Livinginthecastle
Read this as a child on holiday in Whitby, it was lots of fun spotting the items from the book in the Whitby Museum, and it's one of my favourite books. Scared to re-read it as an adult, I'm afraid it may lose its power.
Magda
Feb 25, 2011 Magda rated it liked it
I did like all the references to St. Hilda, and it seemed to be a younger version of Susan Cooper's "The Dark is Rising" series, but ... there was something lacking, somehow. I'm still going to get the next book in the series.
Windy
Sep 12, 2012 Windy rated it really liked it
A children's book about a brother and sister who are fostered by Miss Boston who could best be described as Miss Marple with magical powers. Good fun and a thrilling ride through an investigation against Dark Powers.
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review 1 11 Jul 29, 2007 09:37PM  
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Robin Jarvis (born May 8, 1963) is a British children's novelist, who writes fantasy novels, often about anthropomorphic rodents and small mammals – especially mice – and Tudor times. A lot of his works are based in London, in and around Deptford and Greenwich where he used to live, or in Whitby.

His first novel – The Dark Portal, featuring the popular Deptford Mice – was the runner up for the Smar
...more
More about Robin Jarvis...

Other Books in the Series

The Whitby Witches (3 books)
  • A Warlock in Whitby (The Whitby Witches, #2)
  • The Whitby Child (The Whitby Witches, #3)

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