Published by Houghton Mifflin Harcourt on 2000
Number of Pages: 211
Genres: Fantasy, Mystery, Young Adult
Purchase: At Amazon
Nola isn't much of a witch. She can work only a few useless spells, like the one that lets her spy on people by enchanting a bucket of water. But there's no spell for keeping her crazy mother -- who hears voices and is a magnet for witch-hunters -- out of trouble. The two of them evade authorities by traveling from town to town, taking odd jobs and moving on... until the day Nola magically witnesses a murder.
As if that's not bad enough, Nola finds out that the murderer is trying to frame her and her mother for the crime. And then no amount of magic will save them.
I liked Nola, she wasn’t like either of the stereotypical types of witches you usually find in young adult books. She wasn’t the old, ugly crone covered in warts. And she wasn’t a breathtakingly beautiful young girl. She is young, but she’s plain, more ordinary looking. She’s kind, and well-meaning, but always manages to get herself into trouble.
You get a glimpse of this in the beginning of the book. When she was five, she shows a friend the ‘bucket spell’, which is filling a bucket of water, saying some words, and dropping in a single hair. Anyone looking into the water after that, can see what the person who’s hair was used is doing, at least until the hair is removed, or the bucket dumped. She didn’t understand it was witchcraft, she thought everyone could do it. And thus, the first time they had to run from a village is shown to you.
She tells a lot of lies to protect herself and her mother, and she makes a number of seemingly foolish mistakes. But along the way she learns needed lessons, like not everyone who is kind is good, and those that matter won’t care that she’s a witch. Over-all, I liked this book. It made me do the ‘oh please let x-thing happen’ towards the end. (Trying not to do spoilers here, sorry!)
If you like mystery, and magic, and quick fun reads, I would recommend picking up this book.