Published by Scholastic
Summary: Aster lives in a magical community where boys are expected to become shapeshifters, and girls, witches. He is fascinated with witchcraft and has no interest or ability in shapeshifting, much to his family’s chagrin. Spying on the witches’ classes, he learns as much as he can, practicing spells on Charlie, a non-magical girl who lives nearby. When a monster begins stealing kids from Aster’s community, he realizes he is the only one who can help rescue them. Assisted by Charlie, he makes a daring journey, and is able to reveal to his community the monster’s true–and surprising–identity. This revelation uncovers some family secrets about some who have also not always conformed to the gender roles of magic, and gives Aster the permission to be himself and explore the magical powers he possesses. 224 pages; grades 4-7.
Pros: This highly engaging graphic novel creates a magical world that will draw readers in immediately, and conveys messages about gender roles and being yourself that will resonate with kids.
Cons: The messages about gender were a little heavy-handed.