Release Date: September 14th, 2009
Format: Paperback and Audiobook
Publisher: Houghton Mifflin Harcourt
Source: Publisher and Personal Shelf
Narrator: Hannah Friedman
Buy It: Book Depository
Tamsin Greene comes from a long line of witches, and she was supposed to be one of the most Talented among them. But Tamsin's magic never showed up. Now seventeen, Tamsin attends boarding school in Manhattan, far from her family. But when a handsome young professor mistakes her for her very Talented sister, Tamsin agrees to find a lost family heirloom for him. The search—and the stranger—will prove to be more sinister than they first appeared.At its core, Once A Witch is a charming, light-hearted story about a girl who just doesn't belong. On one hand she has to deal with the fact that all of her family has Talent except her, but even when she is away at school the truth about her family remains a secret making it difficult for her to connect with others. Although MacCullough uses a paranormal vehicle to tell her story, I think that Tamsin's struggles would be easy for many teenagers to relate to. Most of us have to deal with parental expectations and the plans they may have for us even before we are born, for Tamsin those feelings are only intensified. That's what I enjoyed about Once A Witch, how authentic Tamsin was.
Although the plot of Once A Witch didn't completely blow me away, I did enjoy the MacCullough's storytelling and found her writing easy to read (or listen to, as I listened to this book on audio), smooth and clear. Tamsin's desire to prove herself is tangible, and she was definitely the character that stood out for me in the novel. There were some interesting and quirky secondary characters, Tamsin's room-mate at boarding school and family members in particular, that added dimension to the story. The love interest was okay, but to be honest the whole related aspect- even if it is quite distant- still made me a little uncomfortable! Personally, the entire marrying within the "Family" seemed a bit medieval for a contemporary novel.
Overall, I enjoyed Once A Witch and although the storyline itself didn't completely shock me, the characterization and relatable twist on the paranormal was certainly refreshing and I am definitely interested in picking up the second book in this series, Always A Witch.