Nerdy high school outcast, CLARISSA LAWRENCE, has always felt like she didn't belong in this world. More than anything, she wants magic to be real--and not just because she's obsessed with Harry Potter and tries to go to Narnia by reading fantasy novels in her wardrobe. Yet, when she stumbles upon real magic, and fairy tales come true, she doesn't expect to be the evil villain in her own story. Clarissa learns she's descended from an evil witch and is destined to kill her older sister. When she meets a cute boy who offers to train her in magic, she must make a choice. She can have a safe, normal life and no harm will come to anyone. Or she can choose magic and risk everything and everyone she loves in order to be what she's always known she was meant to be . . . a wicked witch.
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This book takes place in Oregon City, Oregon. It’s clear the author is familiar with this area of the country, as she provides specific details about the environment and surrounding cities. I really appreciated the authority the author’s attention to details provided. Due to the large population of wiccans and pagans in the Pacific Northwest, it was also a great backdrop to a story of a girl trying to learn about magic. With the title of the series being WOMBY'S SCHOOL FOR WAYWARD WITCHES and many mentioned of a magical realm, I was disappointed that we only got to see the mortal realm, and none of the magical.
The main character of the book, Clarissa, was a very relatable protagonist for me, as she reminded me a lot of myself when I was young. I’m guessing, for many book lovers, she’s be similarly relatable. However, sometimes struggled to find it believable that she was a teenager. She alternated between acting too childish for a 14-15 year old and using slang terms that made her seem much older. Clarissa’s parents were fun to get to know, as they had the most amount of secrets. Her sister, Missy, and her friends, including her love interest, felt much flatter than I would have liked for secondary characters.
This book was a fast and fun read. The book starts with Clarissa sitting in a psychologist’s office, battling her guilt of killing her big sister and boyfriend, the two people she loves most. The reader is then pushed back in time and spends the whole book wondering when the murders will happen in. The constant tension pulled me through the book. However, the plot itself felt more like a prologue to the real book, rather than the first book in the series. The information revealed in the summary for the book, above, doesn’t actually come to fruition in the novel until the very end. So I struggled to feel compelled by Clarissa’s plight to learn who she is, when I was already told on the back of the book who she is. Regardless, I am very interested to read the next books in the series.
Tardy Bells and Witches’ Spells is the first book in the WOMBY'S SCHOOL FOR WAYWARD WITCHES Series, but the first three books can be read in any order. The book is a fun and quick read, with a relatable protagonist. The setting of Oregon City, Oregon, was perfect for the plot, but I would have liked to see more of the magical realm. I’m excited to read the next books in the series soon.