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The Witch Boy

(The Witch Boy #1)

4.15  ·  Rating details ·  5,677 ratings  ·  987 reviews
In thirteen-year-old Aster's family, all the girls are raised to be witches, while boys grow up to be shapeshifters. Anyone who dares cross those lines is exiled. Unfortunately for Aster, he still hasn't shifted . . . and he's still fascinated by witchery, no matter how forbidden it might be.

When a mysterious danger threatens the other boys, Aster knows he can help -- as a
224 pages
Published November 2017 by Scholastic, Inc. (first published October 28th 2017)
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Emma There’s nothing in the story about his sexuality. The book is more about the dangers of gender stereotypes and toxic masculinity.
Rachel Adventure, yes. But no one falls in love. Kind of refreshing, really.

Community Reviews

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4.15  · 
Rating details
 ·  5,677 ratings  ·  987 reviews

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Adam Silvera
Dec 10, 2017 rated it really liked it
Shelves: 2017-reads
I've been wanting to read this MG graphic novel since I saw the book deal announcement and I'm so happy I got to read it on my flight today. The basic premise is that a boy wants to learn spells and other magic but witchery is reserved for girls and boys are expected to become shapeshifting demon hunters. I was OBSESSED with witches as a kid/teen (still am as an adult) and this would've really spoken to me. Overall, THE WITCH BOY is a super fast and super charming read. So excited to discover th ...more
May 19, 2017 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
This works very well as a standalone. I don’t feel as if there are unanswered questions or elements missing. Still, I wish to read more books about Aster and his magical community.

The characters are strong. They all play a certain role in the story. It’s when you can’t imagine a book without its different characters that you realize they’ve left an impression on you and are worthy of being in the story.

Aster is so relatable. In his world, women are witches who manipulate magic and men are shap
Raeleen Lemay
This was fantastic! Magic + diverse characters + beautiful art = my kind of graphic novel
Korrina  (OwlCrate)
Oct 18, 2017 rated it really liked it
Such a cute little graphic novel that challenges gender constructs in a unique way. Plus it's just a fun spooky magical story! My only complaint was that I wish it was a bit longer and more fleshed out. But I really enjoyed reading it.
This book has killed me and I am dead, typing out reviews from beyond the grave because I know how to live the best afterlife.

Originally, this piqued my interest because of the title and cover. Witches? Yes, please. Boy witches? Interesting! Cute kid + monster shadow? I'm in!
And if you like reading on the surface, that's exactly what this story is about - witches and shapeshifters, fitting in (or not), family, friendship, and terrible monsters.
If you're more of a Find the Symbolism/Read Deeper/A
Oh sweet Billy Elliot! How could I not love this book about witches, breaking gender stereotypes and magic? Pure Pleasure to read. Such a great read. In this world, women are witches and do magic while men are shapeshifters and they protect. Aster is a lovely boy who keeps trying to overhear the secret women's teaching. He is drawn to it and not to the shapeshifting side. He keeps being pushed to connect with shapeshifting and he tries and tries and he can't.

I started reading this and I could n
Julie Zantopoulos
Feb 03, 2019 rated it it was amazing
What a great graphic novel that discusses gender roles and stereotypes, that can be used as a metaphor for sexual orientation, and is a fun and beautifully drawn journey for kids to go on. Legit, I really enjoyed this story about our MC Aster, a boy who wants to do magic but isn't supposed to. So thankful to Chelsea from Chelseadolling Reads for gifting this to me, I loved it.
Vitor Martins
Nov 29, 2017 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
(Esse sou eu lendo quadrinhos para tentar bater a meta de leitura de 2017 hehe)

The Witch Boy é uma história mágica sobre uma família de mulheres bruxas e homens metamorfos. Aster é um menino que quer aprender bruxaria mas ninguém na família quer ensiná-lo porque ele não deveria ser tão interessado em "coisas de menina". O roteiro é bem simples e tudo acontece dentro do esperado mas é muito bonito ver o arco de desenvolvimento do Asper. A mensagem de "seja quem você quer ser" que a história passa
Skye Kilaen
Fairly straightforward but heartfelt tale about the toxicity of rigid gender roles, with lovely art because Molly Knox Ostertag is amazing. It's the story of Aster, a boy growing up in a society where women do magic and men shapeshift, and that's that. Except it isn't, because Aster does magic and doesn't shapeshift. What I particularly appreciated: (a) Aster's confidence-building friendship with a girl outside his community who also doesn't follow gender norms, (b) The diversity of skin color a ...more
Bogi Takács
This was nice, the kind of gender representation that might even fly with right-wing parents just because it's mostly super-not-declaredly but-still-quite-clearly trans. (I live in Kansas. These books are needed.) Probably not going to review it at length for now, because I have a lot of other things to review, but it might go into my SFF comics highlights of 2017 (I'm still working on that one).

Thank you Nino for recommending it :)

Source of the book: Lawrence Public Library
Jul 29, 2018 rated it really liked it
I had wanted to read this after seeing so much excitement. To me, this book is about gender essentialism and the way it harms the people you're trying to force it on.

I liked the art, and was glad to see lots of brown skinned (though I think they're black people) in the book.

It's a MG graphic novel, which I didn't know going in. So if you're into that demographic, check this out.
Feb 20, 2019 rated it really liked it
Really enjoyed the story. Very well drawn, cute middle grade art style and the characters were wonderfully distinctive. I thought it dealt with the issue of enforced gender roles/stereotypes in a natural way, that wasn't pushy. Overall a cute graphic novel for tweens or teens. I'll be continuing with the series.
Nov 17, 2017 rated it really liked it
A delightful coming of age tale about the son of magic users who's grown up in a world where women do magic and men shape shift. Neither must ever meddle in the other's affairs but of course our hero, Aster knows its his destiny to be a witch like his mother and sister. When the boys in his family begin to disappear its clear that something dark and powerful is preying upon them and Aster, with the help of his new human friend Charlie, is the only one who can save them.

This was wonderful. Molly
This was sweet and beautifully drawn, and it may hit the sweet spot for a lot of young readers, but it left something to be desired. Everything felt a little shallow and not fully fleshed out, and there's no real "twist" -- even though I think one was slightly intended -- as it couldn't be more obvious what's going on. And it has a nice message, which it presents without the least bit of subtlety.
I think its strengths are in the relationships, which I wish had been explored even more. As a long
Jackson Bird
Jul 04, 2018 rated it it was amazing
Shelves: trans-recs
This was everything I’ve ever wanted in a story. Big magical family living in a giant house in the woods. Kids who don’t conform to gender roles. Realistic, loveable characters. Tons of diversity. I’m so happy there’s a second installment coming, but how will I wait until October??
4 to 4.5 stars. A gentle but exciting exploration of gender stereotypes and belonging, all wrapped up in the trappings of magic, shapeshifters, and burgeoning friendship. Lovely art is the icing on the cake.
Krista Regester
Dec 10, 2017 rated it really liked it
This was great - I would describe it as a mixture of Lumberjanes and Nimona.
Apr 24, 2017 rated it really liked it
(The bookstore where I work received an ARC of this today from Scholastic and, as it was a particularly slow day, I read it all in one go while standing behind the cash register.)

I loved it. I loved the world right away--in fact, I wished it were longer (or perhaps the beginning of a series) just because the magic was so interesting. I really dug the artwork, too, of course. It felt very organic. But also magical. And I liked the character designs.

But mostly it was just such a compelling metaph
Mar 20, 2018 rated it really liked it
Shelves: favorites-books
I absolutely and thoroughly loved and enjoyed The Witch Boy! I don't remember where I came across seeing this graphic novel at. I don't know if I saw it on a book blog or I saw it on a booktube channel all I know when I first lay eyes on it piqued my interest and when I read the synopsis I was sold and very intrigued on checking this book out from the library. And when I finally got my hands on it from the library I was so glad and happy that I check it out because this graphic novel was a lot o ...more
Jan 05, 2018 rated it it was ok
This one is a miss for me. I love Molly Ostertag's work generally and I very much want to see her succeed in everything she does, but I found this book seriously lacking. The worldbuilding is thin at best, and the whole "boys like fighing and girls like gardening" schtick is ridiculously heavy-handed. I know she set up that dynamic in order to dismantle it, but the needlessly and tiresomely over-gendered characters don't make her point so much as clumsily march through a forest of predictable cl ...more
Rachael Hobson
Jul 29, 2017 rated it liked it
Shelves: 2017-reads
Actual rating: 3.5 stars

This is a really lovely story. It's a morality story with a magical twist. Let people be who they truly are!

This is a middle grade novel, which is probably why the story moved as fast as it did. I personally wish there was more detail in regards to both the build up and climax of the story.
Nov 29, 2017 rated it it was amazing
OH MY LITTLE GENDER NONCONFORMING HEART. audible gasp from me when I realized the truth a few pages ahead of aster. the resolution was a little too snappy for my taste but the denouement was ace. keep an eye out for a cameo by a couple other magical cartoon favorites.
David Schaafsma
A pretty sweet and colorful and lively middle grades graphic novel to help kids question gender roles. A boy wants to be a witch, as the girls in his society will become, instead of what all the boys will become, which is a shapeshifter. He has to perform spells (against the rules in his society) to save a friend. When he does this he discovers his desire to be a witch is connected like someone else's in his family history.

Reminded me a bit of Billy Elliot, whom, you may recall, wanted to dance
Tori (alwaysbookphoenix) Kisamore
This was so good and cute! I loved it!
Nov 28, 2017 rated it it was amazing
In Aster’s family, boys are to learn the power of shapeshifting, while girls are to develop their skills in witchcraft. This is how it has always been, and it is how they think it is meant to be. The young Aster though, feels in his heart that shapeshifting isn’t meant for him, and he already knows that he is fairly adept at the teachings of the witches. From the bits and pieces of secret knowledge he gleans, he is able to do very helpful things. Aster lacks the confidence to defy his family out ...more
Okay, this was fricken amazing in so many ways.

To start with, the art is so gorgeous. I wish this was the chosen style for the illustrated editions of Harry Potter or that if they make an animated film or show, they contact Molly Ostertag. Like, 150% I need this.

The world-building is richly depicted, while still nailing a cozy and small-town vibe. Each character (and there are a lot) is original and multi-dimensional.

Especially with current events nowadays, the story and plot were particularly
Pablo G.
Jan 11, 2019 rated it really liked it
The book was about a boy (Aster) who was different from the other boys, not because of his personality, but because he wanted to be a witch and not a shapeshifter. This came really useful for him because an evil monster was coming around the village and taking boys away. Soon Aster realizes how much similarities he has in common with this monster, but when the monster attacks Aster caught him with his friend that he met from outside the village. I really enjoyed this book as it was very engaging ...more
Liza Wiemer
Thank you, Scholastic, for the review copy of The Witch Boy. A positive message of crossing the lines between girls' roles and boys' roles. Girls are witches and boys are shapeshifters. But not Aster. He wants to be a witch.

Beautiful drawings, captivating story that breaks out of family expectations. Facing fears, embracing identity. This is a world of magic middle graders will want to explore.

Definitely recommend. Perfect for reluctant readers!
Jasmine Skye
Jun 28, 2018 rated it really liked it
Shelves: graphic-novel
Recommended for readers who love well-done magic systems, complicated family dynamics, and discussions of gender politics.

I would recommend this to any pre-teen who's questioning their gender, or who has a friend who is, or anyone interested in a different perspective of what it means to enforce gender roles. This is fantasy and it's a fun adventure, but at the core its message is about learning to love yourself regardless of what everyone might try to prescribe onto you.
Dec 23, 2017 rated it it was amazing
One of my favorite graphic novels by one of my favorite authors, an awesome and beautiful story about toxic masculinity, gender roles, and of course, lots and lots of magic.
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Spring 2019, Wild...: Kathryn Flink: Review 3 1 4 Feb 22, 2019 05:57PM  
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I grew up in the forests of upstate New York, where I spent the first half of my childhood reading about fantastical adventures and the second half acting them out with foam swords at a live action roleplaying camp . I graduated in 2014 from the School of Visual Arts, where I studied cartooning and illustration, and I currently live in Los Angeles. My artistic interests include women in fiction, f ...more

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The Witch Boy (3 books)
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