B*witch: A book that’s just plain cursed.. more than it intended, anyways.

Photograph+by+Erik+Mclean

Audrey Houghton

  It’s no secret that good and bad are subjective terms, especially when it comes to something like books. It’s why movie and book reviews are hailed as largely opinion pieces, and it’s why you’re finding this article in the opinion tab of our newspaper. Sometimes, though, a book can have such basic writing flaws that it’s pretty clear no matter what stance you’re coming from, it’s no good.

        When I first read the book B*witch, I had to stop halfway through and take a break. This book has everything most readers want to see in it; It’s a fantasy/mystery/adventure novel, a combination of three of the most popular book genres according to some of the FCPS students I polled. It has diversity, it has magic, and it has characters that are each unique in some way or another. So how does a book with all the right ingredients go so wrong?

        Let’s start on the characters. According to Piper Kurtz, a Liganore student, “A good book is one that makes the reader feel something, get attached to the characters, feel like they’re experiencing it with the characters. That makes the highs and lows so much more powerful.” So, does this book do that? To put it frankly, no. Without spoiling too much, most of this book relies on shock factor. Characters are introduced quickly, plot is progressed through the events around them, and the only major driving plot point? A character introduced less than 50 pages ago dies. The author relies on the fact that you’ll fall in love with said character yourself and doesn’t do any work to make that happen. Characters feel one dimensional, and the ones that don’t are too confusing to really understand. It also switches POVS nearly every chapter, so the story is incredibly difficult to grasp before you’re pulled into a new character’s viewpoint. Yikes.

     Well then, what about the plot? According to one Walkersville student, a good book is “One that is not predictable, one that has meaning, and one that the story makes some sense”. This, humbly, is where the book has the most flaws. It’s predictable to a fault, right off the bat; so little actually happens that you know there has to be a big “wow” moment at some point in the book. This just happens to be a random crime before we’re thrown back in the the boring monotony of the book’s world. It only gets interesting near the end, and that’s because it’s dreadfully confusing and cliche-ridden. To summarize most of the story, it reminds me of Mean Girls with a sprinkle of Harry Potter.

     To it’s credit, there are one or two things the book does well. It has diversity, more so than most of the other young adult books I see on the shelf. There are multiple POC, LGBT characters, and someone who has a sensory processing disorder.  It’s actually cool to see these represented, but it’s only used to further the plot in opposition to building the characters.

      To wrap it all up, one of our UHS students, Isabella Carrero-Baptista, described perfectly what this book did. “Sometimes authors bite off more than they can chew and try to complicate things when they should just play to their strengths. It doesn’t matter how ‘deep’ your book is if no one wants to read it.”