Always a Witch

Since the gripping conclusion of Once a Witch, Tamsin Greene has been haunted by her grandmother’s prophecy that she will soon be forced to make a crucial decision—one so terrible that it could harm her family forever. When she discovers that her enemy, Alistair Knight, went back in time to Victorian-era New York in order to destroy her family, Tamsin is forced to follow him into the past. Stranded all alone in the nineteenth century, Tamsin soon finds herself disguised as a lady’s maid in the terrifying mansion of the evil Knight family, avoiding the watchful eye of the vicious matron, La Spider, and fending off the advances of Liam Knight. As time runs out, both families square off in a thrilling display of magic. And to her horror, Tamsin finally understands the nature of her fateful choice.

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  • Format: Paperback

  • ISBN-13/EAN: 9780547721972

  • ISBN-10: 0547721978

  • Pages: 288

  • Price: $8.99

  • Publication Date: 08/07/2012

  • Carton Quantity: 24

  • Age(s): 12,13,14,15,16

  • Grade(s): 7-12

  • Reading Level:

    • Lexile Reading Level HL800L


Carolyn MacCullough

Carolyn MacCullough is the author of the young adult urban fantasy Once a Witch and three other YA novels. Born and raised in Connecticut, she has lived in Sicily, Scotland, and even the wilds of New Jersey before settling down in Brooklyn where she now lives with her husband and daughter. In addition to writing, she also teaches creative writing at NYU and The New School. Visit her website at
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  • reviews

    Once A Witch

    "A fantastic urban fantasy with an enchanting romance at its heart." --Cassandra Clare, New York Times bestselling author of City of Bones

    "Carolyn MacCullough casts a mesmerizing spell with Once a Witch. Family secrets and sibling rivalry, time-travel and magical 'Talents' all brew together to create a superlative--and supernatural--coming-of-age story. Add an epic battle of good versus evil and an enchanting first kiss and this bewitching novel commands a sequel." --Megan McCafferty, New York Times bestselling author of the Jessica Darling series

    "A light urban fantasy that goes down easy and will have readers asking for its sequel." --Kirkus Reviews

    Drawing the Ocean

    A New York Public Library Best Book for the Teen Age 

    "MacCullough has a gift for using language with spectacularly evocative phrasing." --VOYA 

    "MacCullough's subtle use of present tense and visually evocative writing create an eloquent portrait." --Kirkus Reviews 

    "Sadie's narrative voice is absolutely authentic, and the story of her quirky, endearing relationship with Ryan is memorably poignant." --ALA Booklist

    Stealing Henry

    "MacCullough's dialogue is flawless. The journey is fascinating." --ALA Booklist, starred review 

    "Finely crafted." --Kirkus Reviews

  • excerpts


    I was born on the night of Samhain. Others might call

    it Halloween. Born into a family of witches who all carry

    various Talents. Others might call it magic.

     Except for me.

     I alone in my family seemed to have no Talent. No

    gift to shape me or to grant me a place in my family’s circle

    around the altar to the four elements. All I had was the

    prophecy that my grandmother made to my mother in the

    first hour of my life. “Your daughter will be one of the most

    powerful we have ever seen in this family. She will be a beacon

    for us all.”

     And then for reasons still unknown, my grandmother

    spent the next seventeen years making sure I doubted that

    prophecy at every turn. It took the return of an old family

    enemy, two episodes of time travel, and one very dangerous

    love spell that nearly killed my sister before I learned three

    things. First, I can stop anyone from using their Talent to

    harm me. Second, I can absorb a person’s Talent if they

    attempt to use it against me three times. Third, I apparently

    have a choice ahead of me. A choice that will explain the

    mysterious workings of my grandmother’s mind and why

    she raised me in complete denial of my Talent. A choice

    that’s vaguely hinted at in my family’s book. A choice that

    will fulfill the prophecy my grandmother made all those

    years ago.

     Or destroy my family forever.

     A choice that will be so terrible to contemplate that I’d

    just rather not encounter it at all.


     “I look awful,” I say, staring at myself in front

    of the dressing room mirror. The dress I have just struggled

    into hangs like a shapeless tent down to my ankles.

    Okay, actually, it clings to the top half of me a little too

    tightly before suddenly dropping off into the aforementioned

    shapeless tent. And it’s gray. Not silver, not opalescent

    mist, as the tag promises. Gray. Concrete gray.

     My best friend, Agatha, scrunches her eyebrows

    together over her bright green eyeglasses as she examines

    me from all angles. “You do look awful. Perfectly, awful in

    fact,” she finally confirms.

     I stick my tongue out at her. Agatha loves the word perfectly

    just a little too much. “Yeah, well, that was probably

    Rowena’s intention all along,” I mutter, struggling to find

    the zipper. The overhead lights of the narrow boutique are

    suddenly too hot and glaring.

     “Here,” Agatha says, and with swift fingers she yanks

    the zipper down.

     With a sigh of relief, I slip back into my jeans and flowered

    T-shirt, then steps into my fringed wedges that I found

    in my favorite thrift store last week. I can’t resist them even

    though my ankles start to throb after more than five minutes

    of wearing them.

     “Why can’t you wear your rose dress?” Agatha asks

    again as she arranges the hated gray tent back on its hanger.

    Rowena had pronounced it “ethereal” when she had been

    in the city a few weeks earlier and had left me three messages

    on my cell to come to store “at once.” However, I never

    picked up the phone. Caller ID is one of the best inventions

    out there.

     “Because Rowena wants silver. And what Rowena

    wants, Rowena gets.”

     “Bridezilla, huh?”

     “She gives new meaning to that term.” I refasten my

    pink barrettes to the side of my head, useless, I know, since

    they’ll be falling out in about three minutes. My curly hair

    defies all devices invented to contain it.

     “Too bad,” Agatha says as we exit the dressing room.

    “That rose dress is so pretty and you never get to wear it.”

     “Yeah,” I say, keeping my expression noncommittal,

    while inwardly feeling the familiar pang. Oh, how I wish I

    could tell Agatha that I already did wear it. I wore it when

    Gabriel and I Traveled back to 1939 to a garden party in

    my family’s mansion on Washington Square Park in New

    York City. But if I told her that, I’d have to tell her who I

    really am. What I really am. And the truth is, I don’t know

    who or what I really am. For most of my life I thought I was

    ordinary. The black sheep who got stuck in a very extraordinary

    family. Not until I left my hometown of Hedgerow

    and came to boarding school in Manhattan did I learn not

    to mind that so much. For the first time in my life, I was

    surrounded by people who had no idea that just enough

    powdered mandrake root mixed with wine can make a

    man want to kiss you. But too much can make that same

    man want to kill you. It felt good to be among people who

    thought I was just like them. It felt normal. I felt normal. I

    felt like one of them.

     And now that feeling is gone. And I can’t decide if I’m

    happy or sad about that.

     I gaze at Agatha for a moment and contemplate how

    to tell her that I don’t really have a hippie crunchy granola

    kind of family, as she likes to think. Instead, I have a family

    of witches who actively practice their Talents but who

    still manage to live relatively obscure lives. I have a mother

    and grandmother who offer love spells, sleep spells, and

    spells for luck, good fortune, and health to the town residents

    who come knocking on the back door after night

    falls when they can’t be seen by their neighbors. I have a

    father who controls the weather. A sister who can compel

    anyone to do anything just by mesmerizing them with the

    sound of her voice. My grandmother's sister who can freeze

    someone where he stands just by touching his forehead. A

    boyfriend who can find anything and anyone that’s missing.

    A whole bunch of other people I've been taught to call

    "uncle" or "aunt" or "cousin" who are all Talented in one

    way or another.

     If I told Agatha any of that, she’d look at me like I was

    speaking in tongues. If I showed her that I could shoot fire

    from my hands or freeze people into statues with one tap of

    my finger, she’d think I was a freakshow.

     Or worse, she’d be afraid of me.

     Agatha’s one of the first and relatively few people who

    made me feel normal in my life. Back when I thought I

    didn’t have a Talent at all, when I first came to boarding

    school in Manhattan, it was okay omitting certain things

    about my family life. It was okay to blur the line between

    the truth and a lie. But now that I’ve discovered I do have a

    Talent after all, it feels harder.

     “So what are you going to do?” Agatha asks, breaking

    into my headlong rush of thoughts.

     “What?” I blink at her until she flourishes the dress

    through the air. “Oh. I’m not buying that thing!”

     The saleslady who has been hovering around the

    dressing room apparently overhears me. She takes the

    dress back from Agatha, stroking it like she’s afraid its feelings

    just got hurt. Her long pink nose twitches once, reinforcing

    my initial impression of a rabbit. “Well,” she says,

    her tone frosted over. “Your sister did say that was the one

    she wanted. She specifically asked me to put it aside for you

    even though it’s really not our policy to do that here. Not

    for more than twenty-four hours and it’s been three weeks

    already.” The saleslady blinks a little as if suddenly wondering

    why she did break store policy.

     I try not to roll my eyes. Apparently Rowena has won

    over yet another heart. People seem to want to throw themselves

    in front of speeding b...

Available Resources

Related Categories

  • Format: Paperback

  • ISBN-13/EAN: 9780547721972

  • ISBN-10: 0547721978

  • Pages: 288

  • Price: $8.99

  • Publication Date: 08/07/2012

  • Carton Quantity: 24

  • Age(s): 12,13,14,15,16

  • Grade(s): 7-12

  • Reading Level:

    • Lexile Reading Level HL800L

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