cover image The Black Witch

The Black Witch

Laurie Forest. Harlequin Teen, $19.99 (608p) ISBN 978-0-373-21231-6

In this intoxicating tale of rebellion and star-crossed romance, 17-year-old Elloren Gardner enrolls at Verpax University to study healing. Elloren’s grandmother Carnissa was a powerful Mage known as the Black Witch, who led Gardneria to victory in the Realm War. Some think Elloren will fulfill a legendary prophecy and follow in Carnissa’s footsteps, but though Elloren resembles the Black Witch, she possesses no magic. Still, Elloren is hated by those on campus whose people Carnissa helped subjugate. Out of loneliness, Elloren befriends Verpax’s other outcasts, many of whom belong to races she’s been taught to fear or disdain. She begins to question everything she knows about Gardneria’s history and culture, and realizes that there’s good reason for the growing opposition to her country’s new government. Exquisite character work, an elaborate mythology, and a spectacularly rendered universe make this a noteworthy debut, which argues passionately against fascism and xenophobia. Though the worldbuilding is initially dense, the pace and stakes increase exponentially, and the thrilling conclusion will leave readers eager for the next book in this series. Ages 14–up. Agent: Carrie Hannigan, Hannigan Salky Getzler. (May)