by Lara Chapman
272 pages – ages 9+
Published by Aladdin on July 22, 2014
Kid witch Hallie Simon was very excited when she got accepted into the Dowling Academy School of Witchcraft. After all, her great-grandmother was a very famous hedge-witch! Hallie is determined to be as friendly as possible to the other students at the academy (Hallie didn’t have much luck being friends with “normal” kids). Hallie’s excitement gets ruined when she gets her roommate – Kendall Scott. Kendall used to be Hallie’s best friend, until Kendall turned on a sour note, and started tormenting Hallie. Now Hallie is roommates with her! Between Kendall and some weird things going on with Hailey’s powers, can life at Dowling get any worse? Um… Well, yeah they can.
This was a great book. The cover really drew me in. Hallie is such a great main character. I like how she perseveres through it all, and even makes a wonderful friend in the process. The use of magic is very cool, although I’m not sure if I like or don’t like the fact that in the story, magic doesn’t exhaust you (take all your strength to use it). I think I’d like a little more about the magic and history of the witches in the story, but that’s just my taste. You may think this book is like Harry Potter plot, but it’s not. First off, Dowling is a school for girls (they have a brother school for boys), and there is no monster fighting, evil ghosts/spirits, etc. It’s actually pretty cool plot idea and very different from other magic type stories I’ve been reading lately. There is a lot of “girl drama” in the story – being popular – the “in” crowd etc, but the characters are middle-school-aged and (trust me) the stuff goes on so I think it makes the characters more real (if witches can be real ;) ). Overall it is a very fun read.