I could only praise this book is the way I would a bowl of Kraft dinner (or boxed mac and cheese for anyone that didn’t grow up with Canadians). If I really want cheesy noodles and Kraft is available, I’ll eat it. If the other options for a meal were meatloaf or fruitcake I would choose Kraft dinner, just like how I would definitely re-read The Okay Witch over other particular books. But here’s the deal:
Do I actively crave or recommend Kraft dinner?
Does eating funny, Scooby-doo themed noodles help the experience?
NOPE; and that’s not as much of a non-sequitur as you may think.
The Okay Witch has a cute sense of humor and an endearingly awkward protagonist named Moth Hush. Cool. But that doesn’t change the fact that this novel falls flat because it doesn’t have its priorities straight. The readers wake up and go to school with Moth. they witness her getting bullied but also witness her becoming friends with Charlie. You’d think the story would be about her. Then she gets magic powers that allow her to fiddle with life, just as her friend is trying to reignite a relationship with somebody she doesn’t trust, so you’d think you’d want the story to be about her. But it’s not. Instead, for most of the book she’s wandering through the enchanted flashbacks of her mother, so mommy’s issues with grandma can invade Moth’s story, and eventually conquer it when grandma physically shows up.
I was excited for a coming-of-age story about a quirky girl who not only is rejected by her peers, but doesn’t fit into the entire world because she’s a witch. It’s melodramatic, but also true to the feelings of being a teenager (at least for me). But instead we get, “Mom, why you no listen to me and my needs?” from Moth’s mom to grandma, and then from Moth as she rehashes that instead of living her own story. Sure, family drama can transcend time but the act of that is not a story in itself. That’s disregarding the fact that a repeating story with no twists is incredibly boring to read.
As for the rest of the plot, the climax and the predictable villain come in fast. The danger he represents is snuffed out quickly and the graphic novel ends where I wanted it to begin. Moth hops on a broom and launches into her magical life, which I have no idea of what it will look like or how she will grow from it. Super satisfying.
I’d be writing a different review if this story was about Moth’s mother. With some adjustments, this could be a great story about a mom wanting to protect her child while not turning into her own mother. But I didn’t wake up with mom, so this book is just Kraft dinner.
If you’re hungry, go for it, I guess.