THE WITCHING OF BEN WAGNER by Mary Jane Auch

THE WITCHING OF BEN WAGNER

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KIRKUS REVIEW

Is the girl with the strange eyes a witch, or is it only Ben's overactive imagination? Ben's family is new in town, and his seventh-grade awkwardness is exacerbated by an ex-Marine father and a bitchy older sister. But Ben meets Regina by the shores of Lake Ontario, and is charmed at her skill in skipping stones across the water. He is chilled, however, by the way her eyes seem to take on the color of the water, and by the way she seems to disappear and reappear. When a local tells Ben that witches have always lived along the lake shore, Ben becomes frightened of his new friend and convinces himself that she has mysterious powers over him. Regina's imagined power gives Ben the strength to overcome his paralyzing shyness at school, to rescue his beloved younger sister from drowning, and finally to confront his father and Regina--is she really a witch? The charm of the story's central idea is marred by cardboard characterization: adults too obtuse to be believed, and a pathologically nasty older sister. A lovely story, not quite carried through.

Pub Date: Oct. 1st, 1987
Page count: 132pp
Publisher: Houghton Mifflin