Tex, the Witch Boy by Stuart R. West
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Review by Lauren
copy from author, but all opinions are my own
Official Summary: Being in high school sucks. Just ask Richard “Tex” McKenna, a Kansas sophomore. Dealing with bullying, burgeoning love, the loss of parents, and dodge ball is bad enough. To top it off, he's just found out he's a witch! Oh, and fellow students are being murdered. The suspicious eyes of local law enforcement are looking right at Tex and his loyal group of friends. And so is the killer. Will Tex's new-found skills prove helpful? Or cause even more problems?
Review: I haven't read that many witch novels, but they are one "creature" in the supernatural world that I find very interesting. There are so many things you can do with them, so it's nice to see an author tackle the topic. Tex McKenna is your fairly average teenager, but definitely not one that can slink around the halls invisible. Him and his group of friends (Josh, Ian, and Olivia) are often targeted by the bullies of the school who get away with a lot since they are popular and stars of the football team. While this aspect of the story might sound cliché, it shouldn't be viewed as such because these things do happen in schools, and while more bullying awareness occurs now, it's not always enough. One of the things that I learned after reading the book is that a lot of what occurs concerning the book is based on the author and those he knew in high school.
As for the witch aspect, Tex learns from his dad that his mom was a witch, though she has already passed. The powers pass through family though, and Tex soon realizes that he does have the same abilities as his mother. He goes to his mom's old mentor, Mickey, an older lady that readers are sure to fall in love with. She's a bit rough, but definitely amusing and ultimately caring. Mickey tries to build Tex's knowledge and skills slowly but when students start to be murdered, Tex is desperate to learn enough to keep his friends safe.
Like I said, I think witches are interesting and it was cool to see Tex learn his way around the "witch world" without it being cliché and Halloween-esque. Tex can use his powers to do good, but it's not a good way to do anything that would be seen as too self-interested. Tex can do a spell to protect his friends, but he couldn't use them to make a girl like him or to cause harm to someone.
I liked that this book felt real, despite the powers and the murders going on. Tex has a realistic life besides that. He has friends that are eclectic but always there for each other, and a dad who is present in his life and concerned about his well-being. Tex does things that he shouldn't, but it's all in the interest of keeping those he loves safe. Despite this, those around him let him know that he's being an idiot (such as his friend Olivia) and that he needs to stay safe and be careful with his powers.
Tex, the Witch Boy was a fun read with a great mystery (I was completely surprised by who the culprit turned out to be). I will definitely try and read the sequel soon!