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Being a Witch and Other Things I Didn't Ask For

Narrated by: Fiona Hardingham
Length: 7 hrs and 40 mins
3 out of 5 stars (1 rating)
Regular price: $19.95
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Publisher's Summary

After a life of hurt and disappointment, Raya, the spiky-haired, Doc Marten-wearing 14-year-old decides it’s time to strike out on her own. She leaves the boring English village and what she's determined will be her last foster placement for the excitement of London. But it turns out she’s a witch, with the annoying habit of time-traveling - by accident. And a sarcastic witch’s cat Oscar tags along for the ride. Why would she fling herself into the midst of the Essex Witch Trials in 1645 England? 

After being arrested by one of history’s most notorious witch hunters, her social worker and witch mentor Bryony goes back to try to save them from the gallows. But returning to present day London remains out of reach when they find themselves in Istanbul in the year 1645. There, life is more amazing than she ever dreamed. Can she stay? And at what cost?

©2015, 2017 Sara Pascoe (P)2019 Sara Pascoe

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Being a Witch and Other Things I Didn't Ask For

What would it take to prove something was real when you absolutely did not believe in it for one minute? Like vampires? Werewolves? Another world? What about magic and witches? If you add that on top of the fact that they can time travel…then you are definitely on the right track. What would make them believable for you though? Say—if you accidentally traveled to an entirely different country and time—and you had to figure out where you were before anything bad happens or anyone notices that you don’t belong? Yep, that would certainly do it! Pascoe engages the reader with a bridge into the young adult and paranormal time travel genres. This story has a lot of interesting concepts of what being a witch might entail.

Raya is a young girl in modern day London. After seemingly failed attempts within the foster care system, she decides that she would be better off on her own. Except—there is this little problem—she is a witch. Not believing a word of it seems to be the easiest way to handle her dilemma; however, her accidental time-travel tendencies seem to think sending her back to the Essex Witch Trials would be a blatant way to prove her wrong. Not only does she accidentally travel back to the time period where witches are tried and persecuted out of fear, all sorts of women and children—who are not witches—are being accused based on circumstantial accidents of their own. Raya and a tag-along cat named Oscar must figure out how to get back home before things go really wrong—like losing her head. As if that wasn’t enough, they are transported to Istanbul with the help of social worker and witch mentor, Bryonny only to find that they’ve left one war zone for another. Picking up a few friends along the way, Raya must race against time to find a way for her and her friends to travel back home—back to safety.

Pascoe has one interesting tale of time travel and fascinating characters; however, there are a couple of flaws with the story-telling. First and foremost, the character development is fascinating and Pascoe spins an original twist on the meaning of time travel. Since the main character is a teenager, the reader would assume that this would be either a middle grade or young adult novel—yet, there is foul language and derogatory language throughout the read—which may not be suitable for this audience. The character differentiation was entertaining and distinct; however, Hardingham was very fast-paced within the first half of the novel which blurred scenes together and fails to deliver any emotion other than urgency. Her pace does even out a little throughout the remainder of the story if the reader sticks it out until then, but the beginning could cause readers to lose interest quickly. This book is recommended for new adult and those who enjoy the time travel or historical fantasy genre.

An audiobook was provided to Turning Another Page by Audiobookworm Promotions and in no way affects the honesty of this review. We provide a three-star rating to Being a Witch and Other Things I Didn’t Ask For by Sara Pascoe.