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The Witch Boy

(The Witch Boy #1)

4.22  ·  Rating details ·  14,621 ratings  ·  2,036 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.
Evelyn I'm pretty sure it's about gender roles and sterotypes, but you can percive it any way you want.…moreI'm pretty sure it's about gender roles and sterotypes, but you can percive it any way you want.(less)

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Average rating 4.22  · 
Rating details
 ·  14,621 ratings  ·  2,036 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
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. ...more
This review has been hidden because it contains spoilers. To view it, click here.
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
April (Aprilius Maximus)
May 11, 2020 rated it really liked it
Shelves: 2020

representation: characters of colour, characters with varying body types, queer characters (a character has 2 dads).

[trigger warnings are listed at the bottom of this review and may contain spoilers]


This was so great. Great discussion on gender stereotypes and how harmful they can be. I also loved the illustration style!

trigger warnings: dead animals, bullying.
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
At 13-ish, Aster has reached the age when boys in his magical family begin to shapeshift into fierce animals who can protect their clans. Aster hasn't shifted yet -- and what's more, he doesn't really want to. He's drawn to the witchcraft his sister and female cousins are being taught. His family is rigidly devoted to their gender divide, and he's both discouraged and mocked at his every attempt to learn spells. But when a monster threatens his family, Aster is determined to help keep everyon
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. ...more
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
Jun 06, 2020 rated it really liked it
This was such a nice first volume in this magical series about Aster, a boy who wants to be a witch even though it's considered something that only women can be. The family relationships were nice and I also liked the friendship that Aster developed. I believe this volume sets a lot in motion for the next installments in the series and I'm curious to see how it will all planned out. ...more
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
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??
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
Erica ♋️✨
Mar 03, 2020 rated it it was amazing
This graphic novel was so good omg. I have been wanting to read this graphic novel for so long and i finally got it from the library and i absolutely loved it. The characters were all so unique and so adorable. I loved the Witch and shapeshifter aspect of it. I can’t wait to continue on with this 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
Dave 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
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.
Anna Kay
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. ...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.
Prabhjot Kaur
Aster, a thirteen year old boy is expected to be a shapeshifter as all the other men in the family but Aster likes the witchcraft. But Aster can't be a witch as only the women can be witches. Aster runs into Charlie who is a non-magic human and Aster and Charlie become friends. They both end up helping each other.

Aster's male cousins start to get kidnapped one by one but no one knows why until Aster finds out the reason and helps free his cousins using witchcraft that he learnt by watching his f
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
Feb 22, 2020 rated it liked it
Shelves: graphic-novels
This is what I mean when I say I want more witch stories. Plus, the art is beautifully aligned to the storyline.

Check it out through my Amazon affiliate link:

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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.
Krista Regester
Dec 10, 2017 rated it really liked it
This was great - I would describe it as a mixture of Lumberjanes and Nimona.
4.5 stars. Nicely upending tradition and convention, Aster proves that being a witch isn’t just for girls. And being a shifter isn’t his destined role.
I love the artwork, and the gentle message that roles aren’t cast in stone, whether in Aster’s, or athletic, open and open-hearted Charlie’s case.
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
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.
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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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  • The Midwinter Witch (The Witch Boy, #3)

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