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Once a Witch [Hardcover]

Carolyn MacCullough
4.4 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (5 customer reviews)
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Book Description

Sept. 14 2009

Tamsin Greene comes from a long line of witches, and she was supposed to be one of the most Talented among them. But Tamsin's magic never showed up. Now seventeen, Tamsin attends boarding school in Manhattan, far from her family. But when a handsome young professor mistakes her for her very Talented sister, Tamsin agrees to find a lost family heirloom for him. The search—and the stranger—will prove to be more sinister than they first appeared, ultimately sending Tamsin on a treasure hunt through time that will unlock the secret of her true identity, unearth the sins of her family, and unleash a power so vengeful that it could destroy them all. This is a spellbinding display of storytelling that will exhilarate, enthrall, and thoroughly enchant.


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Review

“[MacCullough] has created an enormously sympathetic character in Tamsin, whose itchy relationship with her family will resonate with teens struggling to define themselves. Characters, setting, conflict—all develop nicely to create a light urban fantasy that goes down easy and will have readers asking for its sequel.”—Kirkus Reviews  “With the glut of contemporary romantic supernatural tales, this will be popular, but the action, drama, and great potential for compelling sequels set it apart from the crowd.”—Booklist "MacCullough's writing is evocative without distracting from her story; readers will identify with Tam's desire to create a space away from parental expectations and take comfort that even extraordinary families make mistakes."--Publishers Weekly

About the Author

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 www.carolynmaccullough.com.


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Most helpful customer reviews
5.0 out of 5 stars Great young adult fiction March 26 2014
By Adri
Format:Paperback
This was a fun, easy read. Recommended for all lovers of fiction, magic and fantasy. You will want to read the sequel.
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1 of 1 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars Urban Fantasy Dec 31 2009
Format:Hardcover
Seventeen years ago, Tamsin Greene was born. Her grandmother told her mother, "Your daughter will be one of the most powerful we have ever seen in this family. She will be a beacon for us all."

Tamsin lives with a family of witches. And 17 years later, her grandmother's prophecy still has not come true. In fact, Tamsin is the only person in her entire family without a Talent.

So when a mysterious stranger mistakes Tamsin for her Talented sister, she jumps at the chance to help him and prove that she can be useful. However, the stranger is not what he seems, and soon Tamsin and her family are in great danger. Does Tamsin have a Talent after all, and will she be able to use it to save everyone she loves?

This is a great urban fantasy story with magic, romance, time travel, and adventure. Tamsin is an excellent heroine - she's a black sheep, but she has a sense of humour and determination that make her easy to like.

Excellent book!
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4.0 out of 5 stars A unique witch story... Feb. 8 2011
By Avery Greaves TOP 500 REVIEWER
Format:Paperback
***May contain spoilers***

When I first started reading this book I felt so gosh darn badly for Tamsin as her story is quite sad. She was the only person in her family (and a large family at that) who was born without a Talent and as such she was seen as the black sheep of the family. Therefore when a man, Alistair Callum, came to her family's bookstore in the hopes of hiring someone to aid him in finding a family heirloom I think I may have jumped at the chance to prove to her family her worth faster than Tamsin herself did. But then when it became apparent that Alistair was looking for help from Tamsin's sister Rowena and not Tamsin therefore leading to Tasmin pretending to be her sister I just couldn't help thinking to myself, 'Tamsin are you sure this is a good idea? This sounds like it could end similarly to when some brainless female from a horror story hears a weird noise outside and goes out to check it out knowing that there is a serial killer outside and gets her head hacked off by said serial killer'.

Tamsin was completely different from the female characters that I typically read (ie. girly girls who get introduced to the paranormal world by either their love interest or when they discover that their life is a gigantic lie and they are some paranormal being themselves), with her chain-smoking-when-stressed,-vintage-clothing-shop-lover,-artistic-and-the-likes-of-tendencies and I really did appreciate her uniqueness.

As soon as Carolyn wrote that when Tamsin was biking home and ran into a person who emitted a male 'Oomph' I felt like we were in for a treat and that said male would become a love interest- and boy were we ever in for a treat! To describe said boy (Gabriel) in one word? Hot.
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5.0 out of 5 stars Courtesy of Teens Read Too June 13 2010
Format:Hardcover
Tamsin's family all have Talent - it manifests at the age of eight. However, Tamsin never fully developed; she's the only one with no Talent. She's spent her whole life on the outside wishing she fit in with her family.

She's clumsy and awkward but has the perfect older sister who will one day take over the family business of finding lost items through their bookstore. One day, a man comes into the bookstore looking for Tamsin's sister. Tamsin is the only one there and allows him to believe she can help him.

She's determined to find the clock he's looking for, an old family heirloom. Without understanding the consequences, she enlists an old friend to help her recover the item. Together, they've unleashed a danger far greater than they ever imagined - a danger that could lead to their clan's ruin. Can they do damage control or is it too late?

I adore books about witches and the cover of ONCE A WITCH definitely caught my eye. I really enjoyed reading and uncovering the mystery behind layers of family drama, romantic suspense, and danger.

Reviewed by: Jennifer Rummel
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4.0 out of 5 stars Reviews from [...] April 17 2010
Format:Hardcover
Carolyn MacCullough's Once a Witch is the story of Tamsin who was born in a a family of witches and who was supposed to be the most Talented among them. The years passed and her magic never showed up. She now felt like an outsider and go to a boarding school in Manhattan. She also have a complex toward her perfect older sister Rowena who is so pretty and Talented while she is Talentless.

During the summer she is back to the family bookstore. One night a mysterious young professor from NY University comes by the shop, mistakes her for Rowena (well she pretended she was her sister) and ask her to find an old clock. Even though he meant to ask her sister, Tamsin is overjoyed by the admiration and confident of the stranger, and accepts to help him despite her lack of Talent and experience. She just want to accomplish something and not just be a disappointment for her family. Still it was irresponsible and childish I'd say.

On the way home, she met her old childhood friend, Gabriel, who moves several years ago. They were really close at that time and promised to write each other, but Tamsin couldn't fulfill this promise and they lost contact. Later she'll learn that his Talent is to find things. It's pretty obvious who she'll ask for help! I was wondering if she'll fall for the professor or Gabriel?

Tamsin is a cute and charming character even though she keeps on complaining about her lack of Talent. Gabriel is really nice and its obvious that he likes Tamsin, but I think he believes in her too blindly. We can say that while nobody believe in her, he does, but I didn't see it like that.

I like the author ideas about the magic systems and history, I wish there were more about it. When I read the end, I was looking for a "To be continued", but I didn't find any.
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