Being a Witch, and Other Things I Didn’t Ask For is a delightful book that children will love.
Being a Witch, and Other Things I Didn’t Ask For by Sara Pascoe is a children’s book aimed at the young adult reader (YA) about a teenage girl who is becoming a witch and covers time travel, history and witchcraft.
Rachel (known as Raya) is a 14 year old girl living in foster care and wants nothing more than to be loved in a proper family and doesn’t feel foster care will give her that and decides to run away to London. She is unaware she is witch and when things aren’t as she thought they would be and emotions running high she accidentally travels back in time with her cat Oscar to 1645 Essex and the Essex witch trials. Her social worker and witch mentor, Bryony, is sent back to try and get them home but things go wrong and they are about to be executed as witches. With time running out they manage to escape but to Old Istanbul of 1645 and not home.
In Istanbul Raya’s powers are developing and she becomes a reader of coffee grounds and able to tell people’s fortunes and eventually gets the attention of the Sultan’s wife and is invited to the vast luxurious Palace to read her fortune. Unfortunately the Sultana is power mad and has other ideas for Ratchet’s unique talents which will change the course of history.
Raya has to travel back in time again to try and save the lives of her friends and is faced with some extremely difficult decisions.
Overall I found this book to be an excellent read (especially as Raya grew up around the same area of East London as I did so was familiar with places like Barking).
Raya is desperate for her own independence and soon realises that the fantasy and reality of running away from home are not the same and life is hard. What she really wants is family and love.
This story is very well-written and the different time travel periods seem well researched. It covers themes such as teenage dilemmas, tolerance of different cultures, pain, loss, love, morals and change. It has plenty of action and magic to keep teenagers entertained with witches, talking cats and time travel and beautifully described periods of Olde Worlde England, Istanbul and the Ottoman Empire as seen through the eyes of a 21st Century teenager.
Being a Witch, and Other Things I Didn’t Ask For is a delightful read and one I would recommend for children aged 11 years + and adults that just like a good story.
RRP: £11.99 (paperback) / £3.88 (Kindle Edition)
Available to buy from Amazon here.