10-year-old Sophie is an absolute bookworm but she also still likes me to read to her at bedtime, so that we can share a moment of "me and you time" at the end of the day. The Witch of Turlingham Academy is the absolutely perfect book for mums and tweens to read together.
Firstly, mums will get all nostalgic at the mention of girls' boarding schools and midnight feasts, harking back to Enid Blyton's Malory Towers books that they read in their own youth. Secondly, the themes that the book investigates - friendship, jealousy, getting into trouble at school, growing up, becoming interested in boys - can lead on to some very illuminating mum and tween daughter chats too.
The central character, Sophie, already feels like the odd one out because, as the headmistress's daughter, she is the only day pupil at her school. When new girl Katy arrives and starts muscling in on her group of friends, she feels even more left out. Throw into the mix some unsettling letters addressed to her that she discovers in her mum's office and her whole sense of identity is fractured - something that most tweens and teens will relate to as they approach adulthood.
The whole witch/witchfinder aspect adds a bit of fun and excitement to the mix and will appeal to the Harry Potter generation of readers. But the real magic doesn't come from witchy powers, it comes from the heart as true friendship can overcome all.
Sophie loved the story - not least because the main character shares her name ! - and said that she'd like to find out more about the girls and their adventures at school. She was therefore over the moon to learn that this is the first in a series and the book ends with a teaser, giving you the opening chapter of the sequel, which Sophie has already asked me to buy for her !
star rating : 4.5/5
RRP : £5.99
Disclosure : I received a review copy from The Book Club. They actually currently have a competition running to win ten copies of the book, closing at midnight on Monday 30th April at http://www.thebookclub.co.uk/blog/witchcomp
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