Once a Witch
By Debra Bogart,
Common Sense Media Reviewer
Common Sense Media Reviewers
Mildly bewitching with strong female characters.
A Lot or a Little?
What you will—and won't—find in this book.
Families stick together; girls are smart and strong; it's OK to be different even if you're a witch.
Positive Role Models
Tamsin pretends to be her older sister but gets into trouble doing it. She lies by omission and breaks some family rules while she is trying to save her family from rival witches who are evil. Her grandmother is the head of the family; all the females seem to have more powers and more intelligence.
Violence & Scariness
Some danger, implied violence. Fireballs burn a character's hands, a witch under a spell is compelled to cut herself and fill a cup with blood.
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Sex, Romance & Nudity
Some kissing; mild flirtation
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Mild usage of the words "hell" and "s--t."
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Drinking, Drugs & Smoking
Tamsin smokes cigarettes; her roommate drinks alcohol heavily.
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Parents Need to Know
Parents need to know this book is a fairly conventional portrayal of witches -- they fled Europe because of persecution, they observe Samhain and practice ancient rituals under the moon. The teen smoking and drinking is gratuitous, and the romance is gentle. This is a slight fantasy with strong female characters.
Where to Read
Based on 2 parent reviews
Fun read for tweens, watch for bad examples
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What's the Story?
Tamsin is a 17-year-old witch who has grown up in the shadow of her talented older sister. She believes she has no magical talents at all until a handsome young professor convinces her to try harder to develop her powers. But her attempts put her and her family in danger. With the help of time travel Tamsin's family works together to rescue each other and Tamsin discovers just how powerful a witch she really is.
Is It Any Good?
Despite gratuitous drinking and smoking, this is an amusing coming-of-age story with some traditional witchcraft thrown in. Stock characters are made more agreeable by the humorous banter between Tamsin and her childhood friend and love interest Gabriel. Tamsin's self-doubts will ring true with teens, especially those with older siblings.
Talk to Your Kids About ...
Families can talk about whether witches exist (ed) and why they were persecuted?
Should Tamsin's family have hidden the truth from Tamsin?
Why did Tamsin pretend to be her older sister?
- Author: Carolyn MacCullough
- Genre: Coming of Age
- Topics: Magic and Fantasy
- Book type: Fiction
- Publisher: Clarion Books
- Publication date: September 14, 2009
- Publisher's recommended age(s): 12 - 17
- Number of pages: 304
- Last updated: November 15, 2019
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Where to Read
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