Seven years ago, Victoria Schwab’s first novel, The Near Witch, was published by Disney/Hyperion. Within two years, the book was out of print, and became what the author known now as V.E. Schwab describes as “a strange and vaguely mythic story, one readers heard of, but couldn’t find.” Now, Titan Books is reviving that mythic story by reissuing The Near Witch with a haunting new cover and a new introduction by Schwab.
Described as “part fairytale, part love story” in the official announcement on Entertainment Weekly, The Near Witch is a positively witchy tale about disappearing children and the strangeness of strangers. The official synopsis:
The Near Witch is only an old story told to frighten children.
If the wind calls at night, you must not listen. The wind is lonely, and always looking for company.
There are no strangers in the town of Near.
These are the truths that Lexi has heard all her life.
But when an actual stranger, a boy who seems to fade like smoke, appears outside her home on the moor at night, she knows that at least one of these sayings is no longer true. The next night, the children of Near start disappearing from their beds, and the mysterious boy falls under suspicion.
As the hunt for the children intensifies, so does Lexi’s need to know about the witch that just might be more than a bedtime story, about the wind that seems to speak through the walls at night, and about the history of this nameless boy.
“It’s a surreal and incredible thing, returning to The Near Witch to shelves,” Schwab told EW. “It was my first book, the first time I saw my work in print, my name on the cover. I had no idea what shape my career would take, the way it would shift and grow. It was in print for less than 2 years and has since become a strange and vaguely mythic story, one readers heard of, but couldn’t find. Now, eight years, and 14 books later, I can say it’s coming back. The book that started it all.” She also posted the news to Twitter:
I was devastated. It was my first book, and my first to go out of print. I felt like I had failed in some way, when the reality was that publishing is rough and many books don't get a chance to find their readers. I'm SO grateful for this second chance. https://t.co/UjO2t6kUqr
— Victoria/V.E. Schwab (@veschwab) October 16, 2018
The Near Witch will be available March 12, 2019 from Titan Books.