“WITCH TO BOY, WITCH TO BOY—CAN YOU HEAR ME? IF YOU CAN HEAR ME START WORK IN ONE HOUR. MEET AT THE FISHING DOCK. WEAR PURPLE. IF YOU CAN'T HEAR ME THEN MEET ME AT MAIN BEACH IN TWO HOURS, AND WEAR ORANGE."
~Witchling Two, THE ONLY THING WORSE THAN WITCHES
The answer is this: You read THE ONLY THING WORSE THAN WITCHES by Lauren Magaziner. Witches are, after all, one of the staple symbols of our spooky holiday, and this amazing middle grade book will leave children and adults alike laughing till their sides hurt instead of trembling under the covers and reaching for their night lights. It is, in my opinion, an amazing book to read out loud, and I will admit to reading several parts out loud to myself just so I could hear how hilarious things sounded rolling off the tongue.
Rupert is an average boy, experiencing a semi average life in one of the few towns left that is home to witches. While he hears about interactions between his friends and other townspeople with the witches, his mother is completely against Rupert ever being near them. His curiosity has therefore always been twitching at the back of his mind, and when he finds an advertisement for a witch's apprentice he simply can't say no. Witchling Two is...well...quite possibly the most adorable witch I've ever had the pleasure of meeting. Her character is so vibrant that she flies off the page and you find yourself almost sick with the desire to dive into the book and converse with her yourself. Her pathological fear of bunnies is hysterically dramatic, and the fact that her spells always go topsy turvy...that just adds a lot of fun. As a main character, Rupert is charming. He's a quiet, sweet, slightly meek boy who has been terrorized by an oddly insane teacher. Yet he finds that in Witchling Two's company he his brave, smart, inventive, and capable of so much more than he ever thought. The friendship that plays out here had such a visceral effect on me. When I finished reading I had to call my best friend and relive all of our quirkiest adventures because I felt like my heart was going to pop out of my chest if I didn't.
AND THE STORYLINE, YOU GUYS. Charming, magical, words like these don't even begin to cover it. Lauren Magaziner embodies everything I have ever loved about a Roald Dahl book, but then she takes it the extra mile. The twists in the plot are insanely creative, and yet they flow together so perfectly that you don't feel like you just hit a drop on a roller coaster. You'll find yourself wanting to take a class in witch math, so that you too know that two plus three is honeybee! And the terrible Mrs. Frabbleknacker is a villain that embodies every not so good teacher you've ever had. She's so intense that I think she'd scare Miss Trunchbull from Matilda.
If you're in the mood for a witchy tale that will get you ready for halloween, but also leave you cracking up so hard you think you might have damaged internal organs, then THE ONLY THING WORSE THAN WITCHES is a book you need in your life. Let the sweet, heartwarming, giggle inducing, humor that sticks to the ribs storyline color your life, and remind you what two friends can do when they stick together.