Witchlings by Claribel A. Ortega

Witchlings by Claribel A. Ortega

Publisher: Scholastic Press

Publication date: April 5, 2022

My rating: 5 out of 5 stars

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Publisher's description

A magical adventure for fans of Amari and the Night Brothers and Nevermoor, about three witchlings who must work together to do the impossible if they have any hope of earning their full powers.

Every year, in the magical town of Ravenskill, Witchlings who participate in the Black Moon Ceremony are placed into covens and come into their powers as full-fledged witches.

And twelve-year-old Seven Salazar can't wait to be placed in the most powerful coven with her best friend! But on the night of the ceremony, in front of the entire town, Seven isn't placed in one of the five covens. She's a Spare!

Spare covens have fewer witches, are less powerful, and are looked down on by everyone. Even worse, when Seven and the other two Spares perform the magic circle to seal their coven and cement themselves as sisters, it doesn't work! They're stuck as Witchlings—and will never be able to perform powerful magic.

Seven invokes her only option: the impossible task. The three Spares will be assigned an impossible task: If they work together and succeed at it, their coven will be sealed and they'll gain their full powers. If they fail... Well, the last coven to make the attempt ended up being turned into toads. Forever.

But maybe friendship can be the most powerful magic of all…

With action-packed adventure, a coven of quirky witchlings, Claribel A. Ortega's signature humor and girl-power vibes, this middle grade Latine witch story is truly a modern classic.

My review

So much fun! This is a witchy world I can get behind. Claribel Ortega has really started something magical in her new book, Witchlings. There’s justice to be sought, wrongs to be righted, bad guys to be vanquished, and a twist on the monster coming to eat their children.

Seven, Valley, and Thorn are thrust together as the unenviable “Spares”, witches basically destined to be powerless slaves. Fortunately, Seven knows that their only chance to avoid this fate is to complete an Impossible Task so she invokes this loophole in an effort to not be a “Spare”. But can she count on the shy Thorn and her schoolyard bully, Valley, to band together with her to solve this big task? A dark and dangerous monstruo is about to awaken and it’s coming for their children, especially Seven’s very magical baby brother. Their impossible task is to take on and defeat a Nightbeast. It will take all their knowledge and cunning to track down and defeat this legendary beast.

As the girls work to complete the task, they also have to navigate their relationships. The story is told from Seven’s perspective. She’s a hardworking, straight-A student who feared the very thing that has happened. Thorn is a very shy, new girl in town with a complicated past, directly related to the monstruo attacks. Valley is, at least according to what Seven first thinks, a spoiled “Hill” girl from a rich family who has liked nothing better than to bully Seven. Ah, how wrong Seven is about them. The relationship building and growth of Seven, Thorn, and Valley is wonderful.

Does the idea of Spares sound as monstrous as the Nightbeast? Why, yes. It is. And the good people of the Twelve Towns are actually trying to do away with this cruel and archaic practice, but the monstruo crisis affecting the cities is distracting from the work to amend the laws. As the witchlings work on their Impossible Task, it becomes clear that the Nightbeast isn’t the only monster they need to vanquish.

A great start to what I hear is going to be a series! Yay! When is the next one out? Because I am ready. I loved it. This is the second book I’ve read by Claribel Ortega… be sure to check out Ghost Squad too! The author is a delight and I recommend following her on Instagram.

Author’s site


Want to know what house you would be sorted into if you were a witch in Ravenskill? Check out the sorting quiz on her website at the link below. I’m Frog House. SHOCKING! Or not.