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The Near Witch

(The Near Witch #1)

3.74  ·  Rating details ·  6,291 ratings  ·  1,066 reviews
The Near Witch’ is only an old story told to frighten children. If the wind calls at night, you must not listen. The wind is lonely, and always looking for company. There are no strangers in the town of Near. These are the truths that Lexi has heard all her life. But when an actual stranger, a boy who seems to fade like smoke, appears outside her home on the moor at night, ...more
Hardcover, 320 pages
Expected publication: March 12th 2019 by Titan Books (first published August 2nd 2011)
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3.74  · 
Rating details
 ·  6,291 ratings  ·  1,066 reviews

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Jan 18, 2016 rated it really liked it
Shelves: 2016, underrated, to-buy
Daaaaaaaamn I'm running out of excuses to keep buying all the Schwab editions ever but I have no time for criticism anyway.

“Funny how when we start to tell a secret, we can’t stop. Something falls open in us, and the sheer momentum of letting go pushes us on.”

A dark and magical tale, that reminded me of The Woman in Black.
I'm a huge fan of Victoria Schwab because her writing and her stories are amazing and unique. An expert in world-building, character-depth and originality, all set in a thrilli
C.G. Drews
This book is so so atmospherically CHILLING. Also super slow and like, woah hello to the instalove, mate, but this is also by one of my favourite ever authors so I'm a bit biased to love it despite it being the forgotten middle child who only gets given socks for christmas. Also how weird is to read older books by famous authors?!?? Schwab's stye has improved 100 x and like WOW.


+ So the setting, OK???? THE SETTING.
Insert heart eyes here. It's all moors and witches and this like Puritan-li
Apr 10, 2011 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Recommends it for: Every Single Person on my friends list. You better run for cover, now!!!
"Of every aspect of the moor, the earth and stone and rain and fire, the wind is the strongest one in Near. Here on the outskirts of the village, the wind is always pressing close, making windows groan. It whispers and it howls and it sings. It can bend its voice and cast into any shape, long and thin enough to slide beneath the door, stout enough to seem a thing of weight and breath and bone." *

There are books I like that most people hate. There are books everyone loved, which never appealed t
prag ♻
Jan 06, 2017 marked it as on-hold  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: fav-author

Remember when I said I'd read all her books? Well, I'm finally doing it. Fingers crossed it's good.


1. The Archived: Read
2. This Savage Song: Read
3. The Unbound: Read
4. Leave the Window Open: Read
5. A Darker Shade of Magic: Read
6. A Gathering of Shadows: Read
7. A Conjuring of Light: Read
8. Vicious: Read

9. The Near Witch: Currently Reading

10. New Beginnings: To Read
11. Second Chances: To Read
12. Last Wishes: To Read
13. The Ash-Born Boy: To Rea
Sep 29, 2011 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
This is so underrated I want to punch someone.

The Near Witch was Victoria Schwab's debut novel, yes, the same author of Shades of Magic series. It's actually one of the first yafs I've ever read and loved. I had the pleasure of reading this right after it was released 5 years ago and I still read it from time to time. I read it whenever I feel a slump looming in the background. I reach for it whenever I want something ya but not romance-centered. It's like my go-to book to be honest.

It reads li
It's really easy to see how much time and thought debut author Victoria Schwab has successfully invested into the wording of her witchy kidnapping tale. Each sentence has been set carefully into the mosaic of legends, winds that have a soul and everyday life inside of the small town of Near, which is located within an endless stretch of moor and forest, far away from the rest of the pre-industrial civilization.

Although the description did not interest me at all, when I first encountered an ann
Trina (Between Chapters)
DNFing this at page 77. I hope to come back to this at a later time because I want to read as many of Schwab's books as I can, but I am not in the mood for this at the moment. I have skimmed the past few chapters and still find myself incredibly bored. It's very slow paced and has not built a connection to the characters or setting for me. If I power through now, I will rate it low, so I'd rather try to see if it fits my reading mood better at another time.
Jan 05, 2012 rated it did not like it  ·  review of another edition
Recommends it for: no one
Recommended to Katie by: amazon
I stopped at page 82, roughly one-third of the way through.

I am at a loss when it comes to all of the rabid fans of this novel. I found it as dull and drab as the grey skies of moor country.

The writing is stilted. The narrator is boringly typical. The author named the little sister "Wren", which is so nauseatingly whimsical and twee, in the YA world of, missing a parent, girls.

It did, indeed, feel familiar, as the jacket promised, but not in a comfortable, favorite hoodie, kind of way - more lik
WOW! I cannot believe this is Schwab’s debut! This was, in my opinion, one of her strongest works! I mean, maybe not *quite* Monsters of Verity or Shades of Magic good, but close! It was a stronger book than The Archived, and I liked it better than Vicious.

Because wow, this book was spectacular! Everything about it was just wonderful!

Let’s do a list of things I liked, shall we? Because I like lists, and also because there was literally nothing I disliked! (Except for the fact that it was so so g
Patricia Riley
Dec 28, 2010 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Recommends it for: EVERYONE
Shelves: favorites
I was lucky enough to get a ARC of The Near Witch and it turned out to be, by a mile, my favorite of the (many) books I read in 2010! Within two weeks of getting it, I read it twice! As I read it again today to celebrate it's release it will be the 6th time I've read it! Suffice to say this book managed to do two things that I have not had a book do in a very, very long time:

1) It so completely drew me in and entangled me in the world of the story that if someone had jumped out in front of me w
Aug 09, 2011 rated it it was ok  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: why-the-hype
This book could have been a 5 star read for me. It had a few things going for it: beautiful, poetic writing, an interesting idea revolving around witchcraft, magic and mystery, and raving reviews from fellow Goodread reviewers before the book’s publication date.

But here’s why it ended up a 2 star read instead.

The book is written in the first person, narrated through the protagonist, Lexi. I generally find that first person narration usually works if the voice is witty, engaging and gives the re
Kendare Blake
Nov 04, 2011 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
The Near Witch is...elegantly creepy. The Near Witch is....organically pretty and organically gross. Victoria Schwab's debut is one of lovely, moody, atmospheric writing. You'll smell the fresh baked bread. You'll breathe deep of crisp moor air. And you'll get gritty, loamy, dirt all up in your nose and mouth and eyes. It's quite the experience.

I enjoyed the determined spark in protagonist Lexi. I enjoyed that I wanted to throttle those characters struck with mob-mentality. Or at least I wanted
Hillary Hunt
Victoria Schwab's writing will rope you in with its lyrical loveliness, I will say that. But the actual plot of the Near Witch is rather ho-hum. After all the swooning reviews I read for this one, I was expecting more. Here's why it didn't capture my fancy:

Not much suspense. You pretty much know what's going on the whole time, there are no surprises.

The book is written in first person, from the pov of Lexi. And yet her character came across as very vague and nondescript. I did not understand wh
Jen (The Starry-Eyed Revue)
Well, that was just creepy enough to give me nightmares every night while I was reading it. It's not the jump out and scare the bejeezus out of you,'s the kind of eerie story that sneaks up on you, digs down into your subconscious and makes you start seeing and hearing things when left to your own devices. Or it did me, anyway.

I've had this book on my shelf for ages. I'm a huge fan of Victoria Schwab's work, so I don't know why I resisted picking this novel up until now, except that
Nov 14, 2014 rated it it was ok  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: disappointment
I had hope for this book, witches! Children being kidnapped! Supernatural stuff going on in the background of woodland and small village! What can go wrong?

In the end, I can't believe the author actually can manage to make witches and magic and supernatural threat so damn boring.

In the end, the teenage romance/love triangle makes the book feels like one of those run-of-the-mill YA.

The writing is fine (but not so fine if you compared it to the likes of Neil Gaiman's), and the same can't be said t
Kat (Lost in Neverland)
My library finally got this in! You know, like half a year after it was released?

After I Finished:


There are no strangers in the village of Near, until one night, Lexi sees a mysterious figure on the Moor, disappearing in a single gust of wind.
The next morning, word of the stranger has spread and everyone is curious. But when a child is stolen from his bed, the locals are quick to blame the stranger. Lexi is sure that he is innocent, and with the help of Cole (the name she made up for him when
Sabrina Ye
Jan 20, 2015 rated it it was amazing
*12.12.2018, update:

I'm really glad that this book got repub and a new gorgeous cover 😍 Can't wait to get my hands on the new edition 😆


"Fear is a strange thing,” he used to say. “It has the power to make people close their eyes, turn away. Nothing good grows out of fear.”

This book is like a dark, haunting song that sings through my mind, so magical and beautiful <3

It really pains me that it got a freaking ugly cover arghhhh. THE BOOK DESERVES BETTER.
Wow, what a great book!

The Near Witch is my favorite kind of fairytale. It has all the wonderful elements and moments I look for in an escape.
The setting is rich and luscious with vividness. I can see the town, the children dancing and singing, the cottages nestled on hills, the whispering moors and the forest trails, each having it's own energy.
These characters are all genuinely interesting. A stranger's arrival stirring up commotion in a town where no strangers venture, ever. Missing childre
Zoë Marriott
Mar 26, 2011 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition

"The Near Witch is only an old story told to frighten children.

If the wind calls at night, you must not listen. The wind is lonely, and always looking for company.

And there are no strangers in the town of Near.

These are the truths that Lexi has heard all her life.

But when an actual stranger—a boy who seems to fade like smoke—appears outside her home on the moor at night, she knows that at least one of these sayings is no longer true.

The next night, the children of Near start disappear
Jan 15, 2011 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
The Near Witch left me breathless. Victoria Schwab’s writing is meandering and beautifully descriptive, a style that perfectly matches the breezy moor setting of her story. She expertly spins a bedtime story into something horrific, and turns a close-knit small town into a cocoon of fear.

Lexi, as a character, was fantastic. Her narration was gorgeous; some of the thoughts Victoria Schwab wrote for her were so raw, and real, and just thinkers (pretty much anything that started with “when my fath
Tye Cattanach
Dec 12, 2009 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
I am utterly bewitched. And quite lost for words.
Rating: 2 Stars/DNF

You should know, right off the bat, that I am not a patient person. It's not one of my better traits, which is why I make such a conscious effort to be patient, to give every book an equal chance, to really try and connect with the characters. Yet, although the overwhelming majority of readers have loved this book, including some of my most trusted reviewers whose opinions nearly always match up with mine, I was unable to bring myself to actually finish The Near Witch. As Vict
I'm sorry to say I'm not as enthusiastic about this book as my fellow goodreaders are. The writing was good, but there was this little something missing to make it quite as enchanting as it could have been. I didn't really connect with Lexi and the romance came out of nowhere, which is a huge pet peeve for me. The story line was predictable and a little dull, and I'm just generally disappointed by this book. It had potential, with a very well-set universe and atmosphere, but the execution was la ...more
Kody Keplinger
Mar 28, 2010 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
I got the honor of reading this book early, and OMG< how lucky I feel!!!

This was not a book I expected to like. I don't usually like fairy tales, but I was SHOCKED by how much I loved this book! I loved the characters and the story was just wonderfully weaved and beautiful!

Victoria has an amazing career ahead of her.
Jodi Meadows
I wanted this book in a serious way. I've been following Victoria's publishing journey for years now, and was thrilled when she got her deal. That was nearly two years ago! It's been a long wait for THE NEAR WITCH, but it's finally on its way. I was lucky enough to read the ARC a couple weeks before the book's official release.

"It starts with a crack, a sputter, and a spark."

There are many fine things about THE NEAR WITCH, but the first thing you notice is the prose. Victoria's prose is delici
Danielle Ellison
Things that make me happy: A good song. A fantastic story. Dreams. Romance. Beautiful words. Things that require the suspension of disbelief. Magic. Getting lost in a world that isn't my own. Hope, passion and the possibility that maybe, just maybe, the extraordinary can happen to the most ordinary people.

There are very few places in life these things all come together. The Near Witch by Victoria Schwab is one of them.

I've read a lot of books. A lot of books. I also love a lot of books. If you r
Jun 02, 2010 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
The Near Witch is a deliciously eerie and captivating book that drew me in with the first pages. The book reads like a fairy tale with lush, vivid descriptions. I could visualize the curling wind and tall grasses depicted in the story. The story has a timeless and mysterious quality that is in turn dark, chilling, and romantic. This is the perfect book to curl up and read on a cold winter night.

The protagonist, Lexi, lives with her mother and younger sister in the town of Near. After her father'
Myra McEntire
Apr 26, 2010 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
As V's critique partner, I was also lucky enough to get an early read of THE NEAR WITCH. I'm so glad I didn't have to wait until WINTER 2011 for the ARC to come out!

Victoria's writing style is lyrical, poetic, and elegant. Even though Lexi's world is that of a fairy tale, her voice translates. Teens today will find her relatable and brave.

Readers will love falling into the world of THE NEAR WITCH, and will be hungry for a sequel the second they finish!

Congratulations, Victoria, on a stunning de
Jul 20, 2010 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: 2010
Classic and original, enchanting and haunting, timeless and current.

The plot of THE NEAR WITCH echoes the best of Grimm's Fairy Tales and the gorgeous, flawless writing echoes the best YA authors of today and of centuries past. I was enthralled from start to finish- this is one you will NOT want to miss.
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Victoria is the product of a British mother, a Beverly Hills father, and a southern upbringing. Because of this, she has been known to say "tom-ah-toes," "like," and "y'all."

She also tells stories.

She loves fairy tales, and folklore, and stories that make her wonder if the world is really as it seems.
“Maybe one day the words will pour out like so many others, easy and smooth and on their own. Right now they take pieces of me with them.” 52 likes
“Magda looks at me as if I've gone mad. Or I've grown up. It's kind of the same thing.” 22 likes
More quotes…