Kestrel (don't call her Susan) Murphy is angry. Forced to leave her posh San Francisco Bay Area home by her father's illness, she's living in Jurupa (sounds like vomiting), Southern California. It's too hot. The people are stupid. And you have to chew the air to get the oxygen out of it. On the plus side, Kestrel is a witch. Well, a witch-in-training. And she's going acquire the magic she needs to get her life back to normal. At first, she barely notices the people around her-Aunt Ariel, who's taken her in and is herself a well-known white witch; Jose Iturrigaray, the quiet, talented young artist; Blake Cump, troublemaker extraordinaire; Laura Greenwood, who wants to be Kestrel's friend. But life has its own magic, and gradually Kestrel finds that much of one's success as a witch lies in being open to it.
At first I wasn't sure to make of this cover, but I do like the silhouette idea.
Susan...erm...Kestrel that is, is a bit whiny for my taste.
Going into this book I knew that Kestrel (a.k.a Susan) would be one of those characters that tends to see the negative side of things, and therefore ends up sounding whiny. The synopsis showed me this before I even had a chance to open the book. Let it be known that this generally puts me off a book. I know it's awful, but I often can't find the power to see from that person's point of view. In this case, however, I decided to go ahead and give Kestrel a chance. I reminded myself that often when a book starts out this way there tends to be an ending where the character grows and learns.
Lo and behold, I was right! Although I won't spoil the ending for anyone who has this book on their TBR list, I will say that I was pleasantly surprised with it. Once I was able to get past Kestrel's rather bleak outlook on things the book really picked up. Kestrel learns quickly that her negativity won't solve anything in her life. The reader also gets to see more into her past and why she feels the way she does now. Within the pages are lessons about life, about optimism, and about the simple adage that you "reap what you sow".
The characters in this book didn't necessarily fall flat for me, but they didn't really allow me to become invested in them either. I did enjoy reading from Kestrel's point of view after a while, especially once I saw what a wit she actually had. However the other characters were just in existence to revolve around Kestrel. I thought of it as a painting, where everyone else was flattened into the background and Kestrel was the only item in the foreground. Even though they were a central part of her life in Jurupa, there wasn't really too much revealed about Laura, Jose and Blake. I'm sure the length of the story probably contributed to this fact, but it made the reading difficult for me. I am the type of reader that needs to be invested in my characters.
In the end, I did enjoy Majix: Notes from a Serious Teen Witch enough to finish it and actually ended up teary eyed at the ending. The biggest struggle was definitely learning to look at things from Kestrel's point of view. It is a quick read, and I would definitely recommend it as a library book!
Title: Majix: Notes from a Serious Teenage Witch
Author: Douglas Reese
Pages: Paperback; 192
FTC Disclosure: I received a review copy of this book in exchange for a fair and honest review.
Final Rating: 3 Keys to My Heart
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