Fat Witch Summer
by Lizzy Ives
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Pub Date 13 Jun 2023 | Archive Date 15 Aug 2023
Dumplin’ meets The Craft in this body-positive fantasy novel for fans of summer road trips, female friendship, and magic.
Sixteen-year-old Thrash doesn’t enchant eyeliner over her lids or clear her acne with magic. She is plus-size, but she doesn’t hate what she sees in the mirror—that’s the realm of her mother, Osmarra, a slim and elegant Glamour witch. When Thrash unexpectedly breaks a mirror with her mind, she discovers she has a knack for magic and will receive one of the three sanctioned Gifts: Glamour, Growth, or Sight. The only problem is that mothers choose the Gifts, and Osmarra is convinced that the Gift of Glamour will fix her daughter’s looks.
When Thrash fails to persuade Osmarra to accept her as she is, a trio of cool witches who call themselves The Lunes offer her an out. Their leader, fiery and charismatic Cresca, recruits Thrash for a road trip to New Salem University, where the girls plan to steal their own Gifts. As Thrash crosses the magical Thirteen States of America, Osmarra hot on her heels, she discovers bewitched diners, haunted tourist traps, and a secret about the Gifts that will change the Thirteen States forever.
“A fantasy that offers compelling worldbuilding and rich character arcs… Ives turns the coming-of-age road-trip trope on its magical head.” - Kirkus Reviews
“A fun and magically entertaining journey of self-acceptance, Fat Witch Summer is a feel-good friendship fantasy story that is impossible to put down." - Justine Pucella Winans, author of Bianca Torre is Afraid of Everything
“Everyone can relate to Thrash in some way, all thanks to Ives’ powerful storytelling that explores important topics like body image and mental health, within a detailed and immersive world of fantasy and witches. You will LOVE this book!” - Kim-Joy, author of Turtle Bread and Great British Bake-Off Finalist
“Refreshing, fun, and relatable. A great story about being seen for who you know you are.” - Riley John Gibbs, Nerd Nite LA
Average rating from 153 members
Fat Witch Summer by Lizzy Ives is the fat representation I have been waiting to read in a young adult fantasy book! Thrash is hands down one of my favorite characters ever written. She is confident, outspoken, thoughtful, and a force to be reckoned with. The friendship and connections made between the four main characters are so genuine and powerful. This book is thoughtful, fun, and filled with diverse and joyful characters. The plot is so imaginative- I don’t think I’ve read anything similar. Four witches on a road trip to discover their own unique power- just brilliant! I will be adding this book to my young adult course during speculative fiction week and recommending it to everyone! This book needs to be in school libraries and classrooms. It is such a fantastic fat representation that is needed for all our fat students!
This book is as great as the cover and title suggests its going to be, a body positive book about witches on a roadtrip?? Uhmmm yes please, I adored the character of Thrash, the world building is great too, my only complaint? Its too short, I need it longer..as in it never ends...ever! A fun YA paranormal book about self acceptance, I really enjoyed this and I feel its definitely a cosy comfort read
Thank you, NetGalley and Sword & Rose Press!
I was unbelievably excited to read the premise of this book. Body positivity with witches and friendship? Sign me up! I think this is a fantastic book, especially for young adults who are dealing with body issues and want to see themselves reflected in a fun story. This book focuses on friendships and how making these connections can be such a powerful and amazing thing. Each girl in the story has their own struggles to overcome, and the friendship and kindness that they found within this group is just wonderful.
I received an e-copy of this book for free from NetGalley in exchange for an honest review. All opinions are my own.
Equal parts lighthearted and emotional, Fat Witch Summer is a beautiful story about friendship, figuring out who you are amidst a world that isn’t what you thought it was, and the impact our parents have on us (both positive and negative).
The plot is basically four sort-of friends (well, three of them are best friends - our main character starts off not knowing where she fits with them) going on a roadtrip across the country, getting into scrapes and learning to love each other - and themselves. What’s not to love? The plot was a huge success for me - it didn’t detract from any of the messages or characters and wasn’t too complicated to follow, but the little bits of foreshadowing and worldbuilding and scenery were excellent, not to mention the fact that I could follow along without being confused OR bored.
Speaking of the worldbuilding, can I just give the author a round of applause? It’s somewhere between urban fantasy and fantasy, not pretentious but not boring either. Many aspects of the history of the Thirteen States are based off the history of the United States, which… as someone who reads a lot in this genre, sometimes authors can’t execute this well, to put it mildly. Take EK Johnson’s Every Victorian Thing, for example. But this book wasn’t like that at all. Its subtle portrayal of subjects such as genocide and cultural appropriation and differences was evidently something that the author took seriously, despite this being in the background of the story and not a main theme. Which was amazing - it just goes to show that you can provide parallels between your world and the real world without being disrespectful, and do so in a subtle way that leaves the reader more empathetic and informed.
As someone who struggled with fatphobia from my family and friends when I was at about ‘middle school’ age, I would’ve absolutely loved to have a book like this then. And yet it resonated now, too. The main character being fat isn’t portrayed as a negative thing, their thoughts about their appearance are definitely relatable, and I love that they didn’t hate how they looked but hated how people reacted to them sometimes. It wasn’t the focus of the book but it was written about in a way that enhanced the story, unlike some stories that go, here, our main character is different in some way - and then don’t show how that affects them at all. Thrash’s conversation with Em and how empathic she was, because she’s been in similar situations? *Chefs kiss*. I would give this book to any kid I know who feels as if their appearance is inadequate in some way.
I also loved the casual rep - our main character has two mothers, her friend’s sister has a wife, and they run into a nonbinary character at one point too. At first I did think Creaca had a crush on Thrash but preferred that the story remained a narrative about these four girls and their friendship- each character was developed well and their voices all felt distinct. I loved each one of them and seeing their personal growth, which was written realistically and- for teenagers, they actually talked like teenagers. That was awesome.
5/5, 11/10, I absolutely loved this.
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Literary Fiction, Sci Fi & Fantasy, Teens & YA