Title: Small Town Witch
Author: Kristen S. Walker
Source: from author for review
Review Summary: This book exceeded all my expectations with natural-sounding dialogue, perfect pacing, fascinating world-building, and a main character who doesn’t create her own drama.
“Teen witch Rosamunde thinks she has it all: friends, parties, a happy family, and magic at her fingertips. But something dark lurks underneath the surface. When Rosa uncovers strange spells in her house, the illusion of the perfect life begins to crack, hinting at family secrets she never imagined. With the help of her friends and the handsome kitsune Kai, Rosa peels back the layers of lies. Her search for the truth will take her far from home, into the dangerous Land of Faerie . . . but if the truth threatens her family’s apparent happiness, will she choose to live with the lie or break the enchantment that binds them all?” (Source)
Very few books sway my opinion after my first impression as much as this book did. There were two large-ish typos in the first few chapters, which always makes me grumpy, and the writing seemed pretty standard. It’s clearly geared towards a YA or middle grade audience, so it was well done but didn’t blow me away with beautiful prose. However, the biggest strengths of this book were the world-building and the plot, which it’s hard to get a feel for in the first few pages. I’m also happy to report that after those first two typos, the rest of the book was impeccably edited and was one of the best formatted ebooks I’ve had the pleasure to read.
As I got into the book, I completely revised my opinion. The dialogue was well above average authenticity and the author avoided info dumps by sharing information in completely natural conversations. I love when authors pull that off! The world-building got better and better as we went. Another thing I love is when an author casually shares the awesome magic or technology which is part of daily life in their imagined world. Kristen Walker pulled that off spectacularly too. She also wrote some fantastic, climactic encounters mixed with highschool drama in a balance that suited me perfectly. The main character, Rosa, is another strong point of this book. She’s always very straightforward with her friends. This avoids drama caused by silly misunderstandings, which is one of my least favorite plot devices. I also thought Rosa’s sexuality was handled perfectly, illustrating some of the issues an LGBT teen might face while not making it a big deal.
Discovering gems like this is the reason I love to pick up the occasional self-published book. If you love good world-building, if you hate characters who create their own problems, or if you’re looking for a great LGBT read, this is the book for you.