The Near Witch Book Summary and Study Guide

Detailed plot synopsis reviews of The Near Witch

Lexi finds the witch who is stealing children from her village and with the help of a young man who can control the wind, she battles the witch to break the enchantment on the children. Lexi is a stubborn young girl who refuses to behave like a refined young lady, preferring to play an active role in village matters. One day, a stranger arrives in her little village of Near and Lexi wants to hunt for him, herself. Her Uncle won't allow her to because he doesn't think it's a fitting job for a young girl of marriageable age. Everyone goes to the village center to discuss what to do about the potential stranger lurking nearby. Some of Lexi's friends, including a girl named Helena, claim to have seen the boy. The council of Near confer on what to do but they are frustratingly slow to act so Lexi decides to take it upon herself to find the stranger.
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She disobeys her Uncle and uses her tracking skills to follow a path she thinks the stranger took through her village. She ends up at the home of two old ladies, Magda and Dreska. The two old ladies claim that they don't know of any young boy hanging around the village but Lexi knows they are hiding something. That night, Lexi awakens to hear a strange keening note on the wind. She sees her younger sister open the door and go outside. Lexi grabs her sister before any harm is done, thinking her sister must just be sleep-walking.

The next day, there is word that a young boy in the village has disappeared. Everyone thinks the boy's disappearance has to do with the stranger because the timing is too coincidental. Lexi's Uncle Otto takes it upon himself to lead the search party for both the stranger and the missing boy. Lexi sneaks out of her house to visit the two old women again, and this time, she catches sight of the stranger, a young man who she names Cole, because he refuses to tell her his true name. The young boy is distracted and mysterious and Lexi is sure that the boy is not involved in the disappearance of the children.

One night, Lexi goes out to search for the missing boy again and this time, she encounters Cole. Cole proves to be an excellent tracker, himself, and he points out a faint path that might lead to the missing boy. Aside from wanting to help Lexi find the child, he's also very curious about the Near witch, a famous witch that used to live in their village, whose story has become a legend. Lexi tells him that their village used to think witches were a blessing because they were close to nature, but now, people are hostile and suspicious of witches. Lexi herself doesn't know why the villagers became this way.

Over the next few days, more children disappear. One night, her Uncle Otto launches another search effort. This time, he asks Tyler to stay behind and watch Lexi because he suspects Lexi might be meeting up with the elusive stranger. Lexi manages to escape nonetheless and she visits Magda and Dreska. They tell her that the Near Witch is real and that there is something supernatural luring the children out into the night. When she returns, she learns that her Uncle has finally found out that Cole is being protected by the old women so she runs off to warn him.

When she finds Cole he finally tells her the reason why he's wandering by himself on the moors. He explains that he has the power to summon the wind but once he summons it, he cannot control it. Because of his powers, he caused a fire to rage through his own village, destroying everything. Cole tells her that he was attracted to Near because he heard a voice on the wind. He thinks the Near Witch is responsible. Lexi doesn't think it is possible since the witch is supposed to be dead - banished onto the moors to die hundreds of years ago.

She consults with Dreska and Magda who tell her the story that explains the circumstances of the witch's death. Apparently, the witch had been wrongly blamed for a death of a child. She was savagely murdered and her body dumped on the moors. Dreska and Magda think that she has risen from the moors again with vengeance against the village of Near. Lexi asks the councilmen where they buried the Near witch and they tell her she is buried in a forest five miles from Near. Lexi and Cole immediately go out to find this location. When they reach the forest glade, they realize that they have been followed by her Uncle and other men from the village. The men try to shoot Cole, but Cole summons up his powers of the wind to lift him and Lexi and fly them away from the men. Cole himself is caught by Lexi's Uncle.

Lexi thinks Cole has been executed and she is devastated that he might be dead. She returns to forest glade where to her great happiness, Cole is waiting. He tells her he used his wind powers to escape again. When Lexi returns home, she learns that Wren has been taken. Desperate, Lexi runs away back to the glade. Cole is still there and together they notice that there are light footprints in the grass as if children were there. Cole thinks the forest is enchanted. Lexi follows the footprints in the grass to a garden in the middle of the forest where all the missing children are. Cole and Lexi battle the Near Witch and free the children from her spell.

The story ends with Cole being cleared of suspicion and the children returned to their families.
Best part of story, including ending: I didn't like this story because I found the story rather poorly set up in many aspects. Lexi was always running around from her house to Magda and Dreska's and to the moor with no logical sequence, making the story feel unnecessarily circuitous. This proves to be tedious to read and it was also unbelievable that her Uncle Otto never found her despite apparently being so strict about keeping her under watch. She pretty much eluded him every single night. I also thought the love story set up between Lexi and Cole was poorly done as there is no real reason why Cole decided to fall in love with Lexi. I didn't feel any chemistry between the two - the love story was almost arbitrary.

Best scene in story: My favorite scene was when Cole and Lexi battle the Near Witch at the end of the story. I was glad that the story had finally concluded and the children were finally retrieved. It had been a long, arduous read up until that point and I was somewhat satisfied by the action-packed battle.

Opinion about the main character: There were times where I felt Lexi was self-absorbed, righteous and unnecessarily gung-ho about her problems since she was always running off on her own without telling her mother or sister what she was up to. I imagine that if I were her mother or sister, I'd be worried, knowing that there was some stranger roaming the village and my daughter insists to be out there, alone. But the author never mentions these details, I suppose she doesn't think the story outside of Lexi's POV is important.

The review of this Book prepared by Sharon C. a Level 12 Black-Throated Green Warbler scholar

Chapter Analysis of The Near Witch

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Plot & Themes

Composition of Book Descript. of chases or violence 30%planning/preparing, gather info, debate puzzles/motives 20%Feelings, relationships, character bio/development 30%Descript. of society, phenomena (tech), places 20% Tone of book    -   sensitive (sigh....) FANTASY or SCIENCE FICTION?    -   fantasy world/fantasy past Is this an adult or child's book?    -   Adult or Young Adult Book Horror story?    -   Yes Horror plotlets    -   the witch chased me on her broomstick!

Main Character

Identity:    -   Female Profession/status:    -   unemployed Age:    -   a teen


Terrain    -   Forests

Writing Style

Accounts of torture and death?    -   generic/vague references to death/punishment How much dialogue?    -   roughly even amounts of descript and dialog

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