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Witch Week

(Chrestomanci #3)

3.92  ·  Rating details ·  12,952 ratings  ·  556 reviews
There are good witches and bad witches, but the law says that all witches must be burned at the stake. So when an anonymous note warns, "someone in this class is a witch," the students in 6B are nervous — especially the boy who's just discovered that he can cast spells and the girl who was named after the most famous witch of all.

Witch Week features the debonair enchanter
Paperback, 304 pages
Published February 4th 2008 by HarperCollinsChildren’sBooks (first published 1982)
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Rachel Definitely not - you can read the 'Chrestomanci' series in pretty much any order! The books have a chronological order, a publishing order, and an ord…moreDefinitely not - you can read the 'Chrestomanci' series in pretty much any order! The books have a chronological order, a publishing order, and an order preferred by DWJ herself, none of which are the same. It really just goes to show that you can proceed with the series however you like (less)

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Average rating 3.92  · 
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 ·  12,952 ratings  ·  556 reviews

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Spencer Orey
Aug 26, 2020 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: mg-fantasy
This book starts slow and then just builds and builds with magic and antics, getting better with every page.

It's set in a horrid little British boarding school, in the best of ways, that's full of rough kids just trying to get through the day. And also one of them might be a witch.

Absolutely my new favorite of the Chrestomanci series.
mark monday
Jones continues her delightfully nonchalant Chrestomanci series with Witch Week, set in a boarding school in a dimension very much like our own - except one with magic galore. magic that can get you burned alive. hide, little witches, hide! no one wants to see a child on a pyre.

for a children's book, this is surprisingly grim and tense. the tone is still light, dry, and rather deadpan, but the potential outcome for many of the young characters - and the flashbacks to a particular witch dying by
First Second Books
This is the book that made me suspect that English boarding schools are secretly terrible and horrible! Even if they don’t (always) have people doing malicious magic in them. But then Year of the Griffin always dissuades me of this opinion.
Rachel (Kalanadi)
3.5 stars. I think younger me was better able to understand what was going on in the kids' minds, and as an adult I couldn't help but be horrified by the bullying and threat of burning witches. There are some great hilarious moments though. ...more
Mar 02, 2018 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
This is the best of the Chrestomanci books. Anyone who says different can FIGHT ME.
Melissa McShane
Witch Week, while not my favorite Chrestomanci novel (I think I've said before that I don't like them as much as other books by Diana Wynne Jones), still charms me in its depiction of a boarding school in alternate-universe England, an England in which witchcraft is illegal and punished by being burned at the stake.

DWJ's fourteenth published novel begins with a typical classroom and a note to the teacher that reads "Someone in this class is a witch." Somewhat atypically, DWJ introduces many cha
Katie Lumsden
May 11, 2020 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
This was great fun - an enjoyable and thoroughly charming read.
This was my first DWJ book. I read it because I really liked Harry Potter and was searching for something in a similar vein. I had to be younger than ten at the time. My sister Erin pointed it out to me in the library because the cover of this book had kids riding brooms (or mops, etc.) and I immediately became invested in it. This one is compared to the Potter series the most, because hey, witches in boarding school? But there are a few notable differences.

1) All the kids hate each other. There
Apr 23, 2020 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: audiobook
Somehow, of all the Chrestomanci books, this is the one I "never read" (meaning I didn't own a copy, and therefore only read maybe three times instead of 20, when I was much younger, so the story never stuck). Finding this excellent, albeit abridged audiobook edition was very fun indeed. ...more
Jun 23, 2016 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Having re-read this (I picked up a volume of all four Chrestomanci books at Cupboard Maker Books recently, and now feel compelled to read all of them), I actually like it better now. Despite there being NO dragons in this book, the premise is fun -- and the pacing is a lot better than Charmed Life, in my opinion.

I've always liked Jones' wit, and I even found myself laughing aloud in the section where Simon is struck dumb by his own words after he falls under an ill-placed spell. The writing was
Bryan Summers
Sep 07, 2016 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
My friends, you should have been much more evangelical about Diana Wynne Jones. I could have been reading her for the past thirty years. Shame on all of you. I feel like I've wasted half my life. ...more
Sep 12, 2020 rated it it was ok  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: fatphobic
Rep: Indian MC


This one is among my least favorite in the series, I get the purpose but I found it uninteresting.
Witch Week is perhaps my least favorite book in the Chronicles of Chrestomanci. That being said, I love Chrestomanci’s appearance in this book. His reprimands to the students who sought him out, and in fact, his entire dealings with them were spot-on and satisfying, if only because here, at last, is someone who can handle them. I love this passage: “[Chrestomanci] seemed astounded, and not vague at all. The room seemed to go very quiet and sinister and unloving” (Jones 480). When Chrestomanci is ...more
Dec 24, 2007 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
(2020 re-read)

Everything I wrote in my reviews of my re-reads of i>Charmed Life and The Lives of Christopher Chant applies again here, in spades. Again I see DWJ being unflinching about people: of course a British boarding school is a good setting to show teenagers showing their best and their worst sides. There isn't really a villain as such in this novel, unless you count the Inquisitor at the end, but he's nasty because (again) he can't or won't doesn't see people as people but as things. Wha
Sheila Beaumont
I had a wonderful time rereading this old favorite. This tale is set in one of Diana Wynne Jones' alternate worlds, an anomalous modern-day one in which witchcraft is real and witches are burned at the stake, though the world is otherwise civilized. It seems that at least one of the children in a government boarding school for the orphans of witches is secretly a witch. It will be up to the enchanter Chrestomanci, with the help of some of the students, to put things to rights. Great fun, like al ...more
Nov 23, 2015 rated it liked it
This book was quite an adventure, in the most positive sense of the word. It had quite a number of moments that had me outright giggling, and an eclectic cast of characters that you alternated between rooting for one moment and cursing the next. Which I greatly appreciated. Also, I found Chrestomanci to be at his absolute best. So, really liked this one.
J.Aleksandr Wootton
Another page-turner in the Chrestomanci series! Difficult to put down when the plot complications for our characters come piling on almost as fast as the moral quandaries, in a world where the one thing you must not do, on penalty of death, is magic... and yet you keep doing it accidentally because you're under stress and have tremendous needs and you don't actually know how to do it or, indeed, how not do it.

Thematically excellent as well, exploring whether our abilities or our choices make us
Aug 07, 2017 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: childrens-books
A brilliant classic book. Diana Wynne Jones was a masterful writer - and a lot of fun, too!
Uudenkuun Emilia
I don't know how many times I've read this book. It's one of my favourite DWJ books, and I reread it a lot even as a child. Have kept rereading it as an adult because it's an amazing book. Hilariously, this latest reread was prompted by me getting a burn blister on my finger...

Witch Week is funny even while the threats are very real, the prose is effortlessly good, the world where witches are persecuted is terrifying, and the characters all feel authentic. Also, Chrestomanci is great.

The older
A boarding school class falls into chaos when a student is accused of being a witch. Wynne has a great eye for small details and large consequences. The characterization is humane, critical, and innately humorous; the interaction between magics and the mundane is creative and, again, quite funny--a necessary balance against the darker setting and social dynamics. It's the end with which I argue. The meta-narrative concept remains compelling, and the climax has good logic and scale, but the trend ...more
Shawn Thrasher
Mar 18, 2011 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Witch Week is probably one of my favorite books of all time - I think it's perfectly written. The characters are really, really well drawn and fleshed out. And there is many of them, so that makes DWJ's writing skills even more amazing. She doesn't ever mince words; adults are always bumblers or fools (except for the good ones, and even they are often oblivious). Which, maybe, is how children really see adults to some extent. Characters have layers, even the evil ones (although their layers aren ...more
Cat M
So, imagine it is the mid-80s, and you are an eight year-old American kid in a small town who has no idea who the fuck Guy Fawkes is? And you pick up this book where the entire plot hinges on the assumption that everyone knows about Guy Fawkes. I was SO CONFUSED.

I remember I got this book and Charmed Life from one of those Scholastic book sale forms they distributed in elementary school classes. And I remember loving it and rereading it repeatedly. But I also remember being spectacularly confuse
Oct 07, 2011 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
It all started when I tried to read a book about Palestine and it was entirely too dry for the exhausted state I'm in (I teach - nuff said) so I pulled this from my shelf. Diana Wynne Jones is 'that' author for me. She's the one I crawl to whenever I need a comfort read and Witch Week was no different. She throws you right into the action in class 6B where someone is accused of being a witch.. a dangerous accusation in a world where they burn witches and those suspected of being a witch. All the ...more
Nov 15, 2007 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
This was the first Diana Wynne Jones book I read, borrowed on impulse from a friend's house when I was ten. There was no indication on the cover that it was part of a series. And I loved it, loved it, loved it—right up until the moment halfway through when Chrestomanci appeared, and the story suddenly didn't make any sense to me whatever.

I've now read most of the other Chrestomanci books, and while I still prefer the first half the second half now makes sense to me as well and is much more enjoy
G.L. Jackson
Jan 02, 2016 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: reviewed
Diana Wynne Jones has an uncanny ability to make me feel as uncomfortable as the unloved kids in the classrooms in her books. This book is no different. I spent the first 2/3 kind of writhing in agony on behalf of all the kids suspected of being witches, and the last third laughing at how clever it was once the story came together. Although this is #3 in the Chrestomanci series, you can read it without knowing anything at all about the first two books.

DWJ is my writing hero. This is who I want
(First of all this is #3 in a series that I haven't read the first two of but I've been assured that you can read this one out of order?)

idk I think I just wasn't in the mood for the oppressively terrible British boarding school experience? I probably would have enjoyed this more when I was in my peak Roald Dahl years but as it was I was like ughhh please no

Also the fat-shaming and casual racism that sadly wouldn't have raised an eyebrow for me as a kid def jumped out.

Still the magical world-bu
Nov 08, 2012 rated it it was ok  ·  review of another edition
Recommends it for: diehard Jones fans
This is the weakest Jones book I have read. All of the children have problems and are not really likeable. A treatise against boarding schools? May be a 3, but I was quite disappointed. I expect better from Jones.
Clever, but boring: an odd combination.
Nov 28, 2011 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: kidz, here-be-magic, odd
why can girls never be the really powerful enchanters (I love this book, but seriously)
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Diana was born in London, the daughter of Marjorie (née Jackson) and Richard Aneurin Jones, both of whom were teachers. When war was announced, shortly after her fifth birthday, she was evacuated to Wales, and thereafter moved several times, including periods in Coniston Water, in York, and back in London. In 1943 her family finally settled in Thaxted, Essex, where her parents worked running an ed ...more

Other books in the series

Chrestomanci (6 books)
  • Charmed Life (Chrestomanci, #1)
  • The Lives of Christopher Chant (Chrestomanci, #2)
  • The Magicians of Caprona (Chrestomanci, #4)
  • Conrad's Fate (Chrestomanci, #5)
  • The Pinhoe Egg  (Chrestomanci, #6)

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