Well Witched Well Witched by Frances Hardinge

My rating: 4 of 5 stars
Surprisingly creepy, with fantastic imagery. I loved the juxtaposition of ancient well spirits, possessed shopping carts, nightmares about such innocent things as fogged-over glass, and the trials of adolescence. The relationships – between the three children, in their families, and with various other adults – were just as compelling as the fantasy plotline, where the task of granting wishing-well wishes is forced upon modern kids. The way Ryan and Chelle interact with the more controlling Josh rang so true as to middle school behavior, and Hardinge makes the resolution work. But don’t forget the creepy – I won’t be forgetting the eyes on Ryan’s hands anytime soon. So while I love this cover, I wish it had something that said less “fun fantasy!” and more “creepy but still funny fantasy.” Recommended for less easily-frightened readers, 4th-middle school.

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Hardinge has a new one coming out September 1st – The Lost Conspiracy, which I look forward to snagging when my order comes in at work.  Fuse #8 has a nice long review, which of course makes me want it NOW.  As is often the case with her reviews.  Oh, and here’s her review of Well Witched from last year, which makes me wish I’d noted down some of my favorite lines, and she mentions a line that made me laugh aloud when I first read it:

“Ryan had always thought that carts had far too much body language for objects with no heads or limbs.”

Yeah, it still makes me laugh.