Through the Witches Stone

Young Adult - Fantasy - General
333 Pages
Reviewed on 05/02/2023
Buy on Amazon

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    Book Review

Reviewed by Emily-Jane Hills Orford for Readers' Favorite

Through the Witches Stone by Scott A. Johnson introduces Hadley, who wasn’t so sure about spending the entire summer with Grandma. Isolated, out in the woods, with no cell service, no television, and no neighbors, it sounded, quite simply, bleak, not to mention boring. It would just be her grandparents, her twin brothers, and herself. Other than chores, what could she find to do? Then Grandma broke the news with a blunt statement: "Didn't anyone tell you that you come from a long line of witches?" That’s when the excitement began. Who needs modern technology when you have witchcraft, magic, changelings, magical creatures, and a forest full of ominous beings? She and her brothers were warned that it was not safe out there, but Hadley didn’t listen and her adventure in the forest threatened all she held dear. Would she ever be able to trust what she sees as real?

Scott A. Johnson’s middle-grade novel Through the Witches Stone is an adventure like no other. Full of magic, fantasy, unbelievable creatures, and a young girl trying to find her place in the world, this story has a lot to attract young readers. The plot follows Hadley’s arrival at Grandma’s, her discovery that she’s a witch, her lessons in magic, and her dangerous treks into the forbidden forest. This all built up to the main threat, the one that could well take away her family and her life - her real life. Descriptive narrative is used effectively and dialogue is believable and helps set the mood and develop both the characters and the plot. This is a real page-turner and readers will be anxious to read more, so hopefully there’s another book in the works, one that will further follow Hadley’s magic training as well as that of her younger brothers.

Rosie Malezer

Through the Witches Stone is a young adult, paranormal tale by Scott A. Johnson. Hadley Bishop is a 12-year-old who is excited that the holidays have arrived, but her joy quickly turns to annoyance when she learns that she and her brothers will be spending those weeks with their grandmother in the middle of nowhere. Things have been grim since their father's death, but on arrival at Grandma's house, Hadley learns she is a witch and comes from a long line of witches. Strict rules apply during the holidays. No strangers in the house, no going into the woods, and no entering any locked rooms. Within days, Hadley manages to break all of those rules, leading to the abduction of Grandma and her brothers by an evil changeling. Unless Hadley learns to use the little magic Grandma has taught her so far to her full advantage, the people she loves may perish. With the help of Grandma's magical grimoire, Hadley does the unthinkable and enters the woods alone, leading her to make some unusual friends. With their guidance, Grandma's teachings, and a belief in herself and her powers, Hadley must push on until she has rescued the ones she loves before it is too late.

Firstly, wow! This story truly blew my mind on every level. The first few paragraphs reminded me of Enid Blyton's fabulous tales of my youth before a whole new layer of excitement, drama, loss, and a tremendous wave of magical beings entered the fold. The supernatural element is akin to Harry Potter, with pure adventure and entertainment, and I wholeheartedly recommend this tale to all fans of magical creatures. The vital aspect of listening to those you love, no matter how frivolous a warning might seem when you hear it, is a valuable lesson to learn. So many times, one hears the saying, 'You do not realize how much you will miss someone until they are gone.' That saying brought tears to my eyes many times while reading Through the Witches Stone, yet I did not have the urge to stop. Scott A. Johnson is a truly talented writer, and I look forward to reading more of his books in the future.

Mariana Mukhebi

Through the Witches Stone by Scott A. Johnson is a young adult fantasy novel based on the story of a character named Hadley. She spends the summer at her grandma's house, but not by choice. In the story, one question changes her fate for good. To her surprise, Hadley is told by her grandma that she comes from a long line of witches. Her journey is filled with all kinds of adventure, magic, and terror. She gets to learn a lot about her mom and the history of her family. This novel explores Hadley's perilous journey of self-discovery in an attempt to rescue her family.

I like the character development in this novel. Hadley is just learning the ropes of how to be a witch. At first, it was a lot for her to take in. But later on, she decides to follow the same path as her grandma. Her journey is exceptional. There's a lot that she picks up along the way, step by step. Her grandma plays the role of a teacher teaching the student. Their relationship is mutually beneficial. The cover of this book is also exemplary. It highlights key details that I was able to navigate visually. This helped me to understand the author's approach storywise. Through the Witches Stone is a whole new world worth exploring. I credit the author Scott A. Johnson for his unique style of writing. I enjoyed reading this book.

Miche Arendse

Through the Witches Stone by Scott A. Johnson follows the story of Hadley, a young girl forced to spend her summer in the middle of nowhere with her grandparents and twin brothers. Considering there would be no TV, internet signal, or friends, Hadley is not looking forward to it; however, this changes when she’s told she comes from a line of witches. Learning about magic and all the mysterious creatures in the world initially sounded fun until those creatures started lurking too close to home.

Through the Witches Stone by Scott A. Johnson is an excellent read following the story of a young and naïve girl. Johnson does a fantastic job with world-building and setting the stage for the main events. Many of the creatures are familiar, like brownies and changelings, especially to someone who enjoys fantasy and supernatural novels. In saying that, Johnson chose creatures not often seen playing significant parts, making this story stand out. Tom and Jerry, in particular, added a comedic touch even amid serious events. Overall, I enjoyed it and how Hadley not only managed to grow as a person and witch but also helped her mother overcome the pain of her past. It is beautiful, and all fantasy fans will enjoy it regardless of age.

Anne-Marie Reynolds

Through the Witches Stone by Scott A. Johnson is a magical YA story. Hadley and her twin brothers have to spend the summer with their grandma – no internet, no phones, and no friends. How will Hadley survive? Then she learns that she’s not a normal teenage girl, after all – she’s a witch, and so are her brothers. Her grandma starts teaching her how to use her powers and one night, she sees something strange. A young girl all in white in the garden, surrounded by creatures. Grandma has a few rules of the house that Hadley must abide by, but when she invites the young girl into the house, she breaks them all. Now her family is in serious trouble, and only Hadley can save them. As she sets off on a journey through the woods, she’s about to face challenges she never dreamed of. Can Hadley reach her family in time?

Through the Witches Stone by Scott A. Johnson is a fun story; Harry Potter meets the Wizard of Oz meets Alice in Wonderland, if you like. It’s a unique story for this genre, a plot that thickens as you read and some deliciously spooky moments that will send shivers down your spine. This wonderful story is easy to follow, full of action, adventure, and a few twists that will send you back to the start. The characters are really well-developed with their backstories coming out throughout the plot. You’ll be rooting for most of them, including the weird and wonderful folk Hadley meets on her journey, and praying they get the better of the baddie. This is also a coming-of-age story, as Hadley is forced to grow up quickly and learn to take responsibility for her actions, something we all have to learn.

Scott Johnson has written plenty of horror stories, and this shows in this story. It starts out as an innocent story but soon evolves into something far deeper as Hadley learns about magic and what’s behind it all, and its influence on the world. The way the story ended indicated there may be more to come – I hope so because this has the makings of a great series.