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Beyond the Wicked Willow: Chronicles of a Teenage Witchslayer

4.25  ·  Rating details ·  51 ratings  ·  43 reviews
FRANKIE FRETINI has had a horrible year. And, just when he thinks things are looking up, well…all heck breaks loose. It happens in home-ec class just moments after the girl of his dreams, Jenny Moran, invites him to the annual town carnival. Still dazed from the unexpected invite, Frankie accidentally plasters the face of school bully, Brick McDuddy, with a giant scoop of ...more
Paperback, 342 pages
Published September 7th 2017 by Pandosia Entertainment
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Average rating 4.25  · 
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Steven Brown
Jul 21, 2018 rated it really liked it
3.5 stars, rounding up to four!

“In 2012 two things changed the life of fourteen-year-old Frankie Fretini forever. The first was the death of his father—we’ll talk more about that later. The second thing was the malocchio. What’s the malocchio, you ask? The Italian evil eye. A curse, jinx, hex, hoodoo. A whammy.”

So begins the story of Frankie Fretini, whose ancestors encountered a witch almost eight hundred years ago, leaving behind a paranormal mess he’s about to inherit. Frankie and his friends
Leonard Tillerman
What do you get when you mix a group of young, misfit adolescents with a cantankerous one-eyed man, a scrappy orphan girl and a cowardly knight?  Give up?  You get one whale of an imaginative and wickedly good story…that’s what!  Beyond the Wicked Willow by M.J. Rocissono is a tale which will aptly capture the reader’s imagination and magically enchant fantasy lovers everywhere!

The story begins with our hero, 14 year-old Frankie Fretini, trying to escape the grasp of the notorious school bully. 
Neil Roche
May 04, 2019 rated it really liked it
"Beyond the Wicked Willow: Chronicles of a Teenage Witchslayer" by M.J. Rocissono is one of the best fantastical books that I have read. As a history major, I enjoy reading books about history. I like reading factual books about wars, articles about foreign protests, newspaper articles on the latest bill to be proposed in Congress. This novel finds a way to capture the part of me that loves history and then puts a fantastical twist on it, all while relating to modern-life for me.

"Beyond the Wic
Iestyn Long
Apr 16, 2019 rated it really liked it
Two things stood out from the crowd when I chose this book to read. Firstly, I love the title ― a wicked willow and a witch-slayer all sound very good to me. Secondly, the artwork ― anything that has a scary looking tree on the front cover and I’m sold!

The story begins with the main character, Frankie Fretini, desperately trying to evade the school bully, Brick McDuddy, during the local carnival. Here we are introduced to Frankie’s friends: Beef, Bookworm and Sam. And it’s here their adventure
May 05, 2019 rated it really liked it
Beyond the Wicked Willow: Chronicles of a Teenage Witchslayer by M.J. Rocissono
is a fun, interesting read and can really take your mind to a different world. The best part about this book is its characterization and the believability of these characters. Frankie seems like a real person and you can connect with him through medieval Italy on his journey. This journey that Frankie takes is mixed with many different historical fiction/ sic-fi themes and really brings together a lot of ideas that ha
Apr 28, 2019 rated it really liked it
This review has been hidden because it contains spoilers. To view it, click here.
Kevin Dorsey
Mar 31, 2019 rated it liked it
Beyond the Wicked Willow was in some ways a bit of fresh air after reading several novels of most post-modern sentiment. The novel, unlike Holes, is explicitly fantastical. The novel has an explicitly evil, not ambiguous, villain, Strega Il Diavolo. The novel’s themes are rather clear. In some ways, I have missed these types of narratives. Reading this novel and feeling refreshed by its clearer elements really helped me empathize with those that were upset with the Last Jedi’s tendency to subver ...more
Mervat Elnagy
Mar 23, 2019 rated it it was amazing
Beyond the Wicked Willow: Chronicles of a Teenage Witch Slayer is fantasy fiction novel that has been written by author M.J. Rocissono. The novel depicts some characters and events that do not exist in our world. The author was very brainy to connect two eras in series of exciting adventures. He focuses on developing the story characters and plots.
The hero of this novel is Frankie Fretini, 14 years-old-boy, who feels like a wuss. The death of his father and the malocchia, Italian evil eye, infl
Frank DeRose
Mar 24, 2019 rated it really liked it
Rocissono's Beyond the Wicked Willow: Chronicles of a Teenage Witchslayer was an absolutely enthralling read. Rocissono does an excellent job of developing believable characters and building a credible setting with an engaging plot. The novel tells the tale of Frankie Fretini and his friends, who wind up in medieval Italy after making a rushed pact with a fortune teller in order to escape a bully. What ensues is a fantastical escapade filled with all the typical peaks and vales of any good adven ...more
Mar 25, 2019 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
This review has been hidden because it contains spoilers. To view it, click here.
Mar 25, 2019 rated it liked it
Recommends it for: middle school students
This review has been hidden because it contains spoilers. To view it, click here.
Mar 25, 2019 rated it it was amazing
Beyond the Wicked Willow is an enticing story full of fantastical adventure and inspirational characters. Although events take place in modern times, most of the adventure occurs in Medieval Italy, and as a “history nerd,” I was amazed by the way Medieval Europe sprung up around me. With such detail, I was able to see the world through the eyes of Frankie and revel in every moment of it.

Before reading the novel, I had heard that many compared the novel to The Goonies and labeled it “The Goonies
Mar 25, 2019 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
M.J. Rocissono, author of “Beyond the Wicked Willow: Chronicles of a Witch Slayer", is a delightful storyteller who had me smiling from ear to ear with his turn of a phrase as he weaved the story of Frankie Fretini. Frankie, is not having a great time lately but things are looking up when the girl Frankie likes invites him to the carnival. Unfortunately, the night of the carnival takes another turn when Frankie’s nemesis Brick McDuddy, shows up to exact his revenge for an accidental mousse incid ...more
Erica Mullikin
Mar 26, 2019 rated it it was amazing
Beyond the Wicked Willow by Rocissono was a fantastic book! The journey that the main character Frankie takes is full of hardship, new enemies, and challenges unlike any other. Frankie does not know it yet, but he is a witch slayer. All he wanted to do was escape from the bullies that plagued him, and when he runs into Mala, the fortune teller, his entire life changes. Mala understands that Frankie is full of power that he himself cannot yet see. Her crystal ball traps him and his friends and th ...more
Michael Fairley
Mar 22, 2019 rated it really liked it
This review has been hidden because it contains spoilers. To view it, click here.
Billy Endres
Mar 25, 2019 rated it liked it
Challenges for a typical teenager: making friends, trying a new sport, picking classes in high school. Challenges for Frankie Fretini: traveling through 14th century Italy to kill the Strega. Frankie doesn’t have the normal challenges of a typical teenager. Frankie gets sucked into this witch-hunt as he is being hunted by the school bully. Frankie, Sam, Bookworm, and Beef start out on their journey disoriented but eventually fall under the guidance of Ambroggio. Slowly and cautiously, the group ...more
Mar 24, 2019 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
I believe that this story if a great YA novel where both adolescents and adults can enjoy. I thoroughly enjoyed this novel as Rocissono was able to tell a story that featured endearing elements of friendship while weaving in thoughtfully developed characters from the past and present.

The friendship between Frankie, Sam, Beef, and Bookworm reminded me of the friendships readers have seen in stories such as Tolkien's The Lord of the Rings with Frodo, Sam, and the rest of the Fellowship, or J.K. Ro
Gilbert Kim
Mar 24, 2019 rated it really liked it
Beyond the Wicked Willow is a pretty good young adult book. Please note I said pretty good. I wanted to give it a 3.5 but I rounded it up to a 4. I would compare this book to vanilla ice cream. The term "vanilla" get used negatively at time but in this case it is not a bad thing. Vanilla typically means boring or blandish but from someone like who appreciate a good scoop of vanilla scoop of ice cream, I have a bit different description. Every ice cream vendor has their own vanilla flavor, it is ...more
Travis Borne
Apr 22, 2019 rated it it was amazing
Every once in a while comes a storyteller who can take you to a really, and I mean REALLY, swallowed-me-whole—and I didn’t want it to end—special place. Beyond the Wicked Willow was my favorite book. Period. I’ll just bluntly leave it at that—and I read a lot of books.
This is a CLASH of epic TITANS, “Goonies” swallowed by the the rabbit hole. A nonstop ride of ups and downs, word-sculpting genius: one magnificent destination, one trial and tribulation, one adventure after another…until heroes ar
Karley  (Bookish Fawn)
Jun 28, 2018 rated it it was amazing
Shelves: reviewed
Very lovely book! I was hesitant at first because of the age of the characters, but I quickly changed my mind as I read on. Incredibly descriptive and well written overall. I loved the villain and the magical feel of Italy in that time period. I thoroughly enjoyed the magic aspects of this book, such as fortune tellers, dragons, shapeshifters, etc. Absolutely an incredible journey for Frankie and his friends. I think middle schoolers and other teens would love this book. I'd definitely recommend ...more
Amber Cross
Jun 03, 2018 rated it it was amazing
This book has a touch of Narnia & Dorothy. It is a well set out story, highly imaginative with a magical quality. The modern theme will appeal to teenagers. I do not want to say too much in case I give away the basis of the story. I think this would do very well as a long running series.
Feb 24, 2018 rated it really liked it
I received a copy of this book from a Goodreads giveaway. I thought this was a fun story. It would be good for middle school kids and I felt it had a similar vibe to Rick Riordan.
Marie Dickson
Mar 25, 2019 rated it really liked it
This story most definitely incorporated fantasy, magic, and adventure throughout its plot. I am extremely happy I had the opportunity to write to the author of Beyond the Wicked Willow: Chronicles of a Teenage Witchslayer, named M.J. Rocissono, about their book. One of the reasons I was so excited was because I loved the fact that there was a part of this book that took place in Italy. After further reviewing and reading more about this book, I realized that it was based on Italian literature, c ...more
Mar 24, 2019 rated it really liked it
This review has been hidden because it contains spoilers. To view it, click here.
Johan Flock
Feb 23, 2019 rated it really liked it
M.J. Rockissonos Beyond The Wicked Willow: Chronicles of A Teenage Witchslayer is a charming, lighthearted, yet touching adventure I’d recommend to young and old readers alike, set in fascinating world that is both whimsical and grounded in reality.

At first, going into this book, I was afraid it might be too “juvenile” for my personal preferences, as the writing did seem to aim for a younger audience. However, this initial suspicion disappeared, and became irrelevant as I got to know the charact
Samantha Vanderlipp
Mar 25, 2019 rated it it was amazing
The captivating novel leads the reader on a series of suspenseful events, traveling through time, following four teenagers caught up in a century old strife. The main character, Frankie Fretini, is a scrawny high schooler with a socially crippling crush on a classmate named Jenny. The four friends, tangled up in the mess of time, are Bookworm, Sam, and Beef, Frankie’s closest friends. His friend Bookworm is nicknamed after his academic intelligence, and Beef is nicked named for his weight and a ...more
Mar 25, 2019 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
This is a book to me that I felt was very enjoyable. I knew nothing of the author or the book before it being assigned for this class. That being said I thought I was a very unique book, that was also good. Most times, to me, books like this can lose me in their uniqueness. I felt the author did an unbelievable good job of creating the characters: Frankie, Sam, Bookworm, and Beef. The author also impressed me with their back-and-forth dialogue. To me, I felt this book reminded me children's vers ...more
Maria-Giulia Bruni
Beyond the Wicked Willow is a tale about Francis “Frankie” Fretini, a teenage boy who has dealt with a lot within the past year, including the recent loss of his father and the constant taunts of the school bully Brick McDuddy. Things seem to be looking down until one day the girl of Frankie’s dreams, Jenny Moran, surprisingly invites him to the town carnival. In a moment of complete bewilderment Frankie accidentally humiliates Brick during home economics class. Knowing that Frankie will be atte ...more
Rebecca Breiner
Mar 24, 2019 rated it really liked it
Beyond the Wicked Willow by M. J. Rocissono provides a wonderful fantasy filled story about the of young boy, Frankie Fretini, and his friends, Beef, Bookworm, and Sam. The novel, filled with themes of courage, bravery, and friendship, took the foursome from the present time into an adventure in the past full of witchcraft, werewolves, and shapeshifters. Unbeknownst to him at the start of the novel, Frankie is a descendent of a long line of witch slayers. He and his friends meet Mala, who is in ...more
H.M. Holten
Dec 11, 2018 rated it it was amazing
A Rewarding Read

MJ Rocissono knows his myths and uses them deftly in his poignant coming-of-age story. It is a delight to read a well-written saga that weaves in and out of various historical periods in an effortless way. The young adult characters come across believable as well as amiable — their mythical mentors and adversaries are powerful symbols for learning to understand the everyday world they live in. Highly Recommended.
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