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Witch Week

(Chrestomanci #3)

3.92  ·  Rating details ·  12,099 ratings  ·  463 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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3.92  · 
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 ·  12,099 ratings  ·  463 reviews

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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.
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
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.
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
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.
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
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.
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!
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
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
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
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
Olga Godim
I think it is too harsh for its intended readers - middle grade. And too didactic for the adults. The usual author's charm is missing from this book as well. Definitely not my favorite.
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.
Clever, but boring: an odd combination.
Lara Mi

“It never ceases to amaze me the way people always manage to worry about the wrong things.”

Larwood House faces turbulent times when an anonymous note claims there is a witch in class! In a world where magic is forbidden and witches are burnt, no one wants to be found out. Curious things start to happen and students and teachers alike begin to mistrust each other. If things continue to go wrong, the Inquisitor will come and put an end to it and whoever is behind the witchcraft.

I am glad that I
Annette Fuller
Jul 07, 2019 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: cross-posted
I was initially going to write individual book reviews for each novel in the Chronicles of Chrestomanci series. But the way I remember and interact with them is always as a unit, so it makes more sense to do a review of the series itself.

In broad strokes: Diana Wynne Jones crafts a fascinating world just a few steps removed from our own. In fact, our own world is one of the multiple worlds present in this universe, I’m sure, but most of these stories take place in a world very similar to ours, b
Jun 29, 2018 rated it liked it
Shelves: fantasy
RATING: 3.5/5

I got impatient waiting for my copy of Charmed Life to be delivered so I started my re-read of the Chrestomanci series with Witch Week instead. I did have to ransack my brain from my primary school days to remember the foundations of this universe and how it works, but the book did a decent job in reminding me.

The story is set in a universe much like our own, except there are witches aplenty in this world (and a witch just means anyone who can do magic, regardless of gender). And o
Jan 04, 2018 rated it liked it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: audiobooks
It’s been years since I picked up a book by one of my all time authors Diana Wynne Jones. Her dry humor in this novel provided many hearty laughs. I’m sure I looked like a crazy woman cackling to myself as I read it. Looking forward to rereading the rest of this series.
Jan 24, 2018 rated it it was ok  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: fiction, young-adult
Unexpectedly brutal. Two stars seems a bit harsh but I don't think I'm the target audience anymore.
Kiwi Carlisle
Dec 26, 2017 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Only a master writer like Diana Wynn Jones could manage to tackle topics such as bullying by children and persecution of adults by other adults in a book for younger readers without making the book dire, depressing, dull, or slow. This book manages to be a pleasure to read even while addressing painful topics.
Oct 05, 2018 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
a month too early for this really but it's still good
Nov 30, 2017 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
This has to be the right edition, but the cover is wrong. Very irritating.

Reread because there was a scene in a movie featuring a dinner party where a high-ranking person's method of eating dictated that of everyone else present.

This one was my favorite as a child, when I first discovered DWJ. I still appreciate:

a) the prose style. DWJ's prose style may not be "quality," in my definitions, but it is definitely highly "enjoyable" without being "transparent." There's a certain archness to the way
Jan 31, 2013 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
I've often seen people compare Witch Week to Harry Potter, and put Witch Week on lists of recommended books for people that like Harry Potter. After all, they both star kids with magical powers attending a boarding school. However, I don't really think that it's the best comparison. They may both be fantasy novels that have some similarities in setting, but they really aren't the same type of fantasy novel. Harry Potter is more of an epic fantasy with the main conflict focusing on good vs evil. ...more
Julie Davis
Someone in 6B is a witch. And, in the alternate reality described in Diana Wynne Jones's Witch Week, that's not at all a good thing to be. Jones plunks her readers directly into the life of Larwood House, a school in a present-day England that's a lot like the world we know, except for one major difference: witches are everywhere, and they are ruthlessly hunted by inquisitors. With witty, erudite writing, Jones tells of the adventures of the class of 6B as they set about to discover who among th
Aug 20, 2012 rated it liked it  ·  review of another edition
Recommends it for: Jones' fans
I'm reading these in the order Goodreads suggested Jones wanted them to be read which is neither by pub date nor by strict interior chronology. So, for me, this is actually #4. A bunch of kids in a boarding school each do actions that can get them burned as witches in their world. Eventually one of these kids discovers someone who gives them Chrestomanci's name and he arrives to eventually help set things right. Jones was trying perhaps too hard to show that unkind behavior is much more serious ...more
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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)
“What makes you a real girl or boy is that no one laughs at you. If you are imitation or unreal, the rules give you a right to exist provided you do what the real ones or brutes say. What makes you into me or Charles Morgan is that the rules allow all the girls to be better than me and all the boys better than Charles Morgan.” 35 likes
“He started every entry with I got up. It meant, I hate this school. When he wrote I do not like porridge, that was actually true, but porridge was his code-word for Simon Silverson. Simon was porridge at breakfast, potatoes at lunch, and bread at tea. All the other other he hated had code-words too. Dan Smith was cornflakes, cabbage, and butter. Theresa was milk.” 30 likes
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