The Lost Witch

The Lost Witch

Melvin Burgess,

The Lost Witch

Andersen Press, 2018

ISBN 9781783446902

14-16 Shortlist 2019


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out of 5



Who Wrote It?

Often described as the ‘godfather’ of Young Adult fiction in Britain, Melvin Burgess has won various prestigious awards, including the Carnegie medal for Junk (1996). He has written about a diverse range of subjects, including heroin addiction, teenage sex, Alzheimer’s and cosmetic surgery, and occasionally his work veers into fantasy.

What's It About?

Bea has started to hear and see things that no one else can – creatures, voices, visions. Then strangers visit Bea and tell her she is different: she has the rare powers of a witch. They warn her she is being hunted. Her parents think she is hallucinating and needs help. All Bea wants to do is get on with her life, and to get closer to Lars, the mysterious young man she has met at the skate park. But her life is in danger, and she must break free. The question is – who can she trust?

Fact File

Melvin grew up near Crawley in Sussex, and moved to Reading, Berkshire at the age of twelve. After leaving school with two A-Levels in Biology and English, he enrolled on a six-month journalism course. He moved to Bristol at the age of 21, and began writing, between periods of work and unemployment. He continued writing after he moved to London in 1983, experimenting with short stories, radio plays and children’s fiction.

His first published book, The Cry of the Wolf (1990), was shortlisted for the Carnegie Medal. It was for his controversial teenage novel, Junk (1996) that he gained wider recognition.

Melvin now lives in Hebden Bridge, West Yorkshire, with his partner Anita.

To find out more about Melvin Burgess visit or follow him on Twitter@MelvinBurgess.

Your Reviews

Diana from Grange Technology College:

‘The Lost Witch’ is about a character named Bea, who discovers she is a witch, and encounters many new characters, which help her understand this new view of the world she has, but also teach the reader many life lessons.

I honestly loved the book! It was thrilling and full of suspense! The entire story was so original and creative, it was a joy to read.

Burgess really did capture the wonder of believing in magic and seeing the world from such a wonderful and new perspective. The book describes magic in a completely new way, which opens your eyes and really makes you delve deeper into the story and live it.

As I’d mentioned, the story does contain many important messages, such as being careful with new people that you meet, and that every one of your actions has consequences, which are very strong and powerful messages.

Diana gave The Lost Witch 5 out of 5 and now plans to read The Survival Game by Nicky Singer.

Marnie from Cardinal Heenan:

The book was charming and unique and i enjoyed reading it and get lost in Bea's adventure.

Marnie gave The Lost Witch 4 out of 5 and now plans to read Payback by M A Griffin.

Maryam from Alert on high school:

This book is interesting because it never shows en ending and gets you to be curious with a lot of questions. A message which this book is trying to show is to be proud the way you are like the book when Bee hated the fact she was a witch but started to love it because it meant she was special and unique to everyone else.

Maryam gave The Lost Witch 4 out of 5 and now plans to read Payback by M A Griffin.

Mrs Blashill from Southfield Grange Trust:

There are so many reasons to love this book, it is set in the local area, the reader can relate to the heroine, the story rocks along with twists and turns as Bea is lied to by different factions, the subtle underlying message – be careful in whom you trust.

The ending is uncompromising and there’s no magic wand to make everything alright again. People who have done bad things have to face up to their responsibilities, a message for today’s young adults.

This a well written, hugely enjoyable book.

Mrs Blashill gave The Lost Witch 5 out of 5 and now plans to read Payback by M A Griffin.

Mihaela from Southfield Grange Trust:

At the start this book is interesting, it gives you a mysterious feeling and it makes you want to find out if Bea (main character) has actual powers and if it’s true that she is haunted. But the way the writer expresses himself, makes us the readers believe, that she might have a mental illness and that she is hallucinating all the supernatural things that she can do.

I liked the fact that the book make me think and assume things from the start but as it moved forward I feel like the author started to babble and lose its charms as it just got a bit too long and boring …also the end was really vague and without any excitement

Mihaela gave The Lost Witch 3 out of 5 and now plans to read Payback by M A Griffin.

Rafeha from Grange Technology College:

I liked the book but it had a rushed ending.

Rafeha gave The Lost Witch 4 out of 5 and now plans to read The Survival Game by Nicky Singer.

Elisha from Cardinal Heenan:

This book is thrilling with quite a few plot twists, however, the ending was a bit vague and could’ve been extended slightly to make it more exciting, but other than that, I enjoyed it quite a lot!

Elisha gave The Lost Witch 4 out of 5 and now plans to read White Rabbit, Red Wolf by Tom Pollock.

Morven from Benton park :

"Don't judge a book by its cover"

The phrase fits Burgess' book perfectly. The cover of this book is lovely, it portrays a girl looking around the age of 16. In a forest and with a wolf's in the background. It gives you the feeling that this will be a mystical, dark book about a young adult. However this is not what I read. I read a book which was slow at some point and dragged on and some which were so fast I forgot what was going on. Yes there where parts of the book that I liked, like how different witches have different unique powers and that witches are slowly becoming extinct and the witches world is slowly becoming invisible to humans. Bit of never felt conested to Bea the main character, and there where important parts which where just glossed over. I didn't like the writhing style and I don't think I will be reading anymore of Burgess books. It felt like I had to read not like I wanted to. Overall I would not recommend this book to anyone!

Morven gave The Lost Witch 2 out of 5 and now plans to read White Rabbit, Red Wolf by Tom Pollock.

Emily from Prince Henry’s grammar school:

I really liked the book and thought it was so original and took a different but wonderful view on the idea of magic. But in my opinion I thought the ending was a bit rushed. I still really like the book though and would recommend it to others a bit closer to the age category as I am reading above my age group.

Emily gave The Lost Witch 4 out of 5 and now plans to read The Survival Game by Nicky Singer.

Amber from Guiseley School:

I found the book to be exciting, it was unique in its own way, to write a book about magic is tough as it can not be like any other magical book, lots of authors seem to make their magical books too much like Harry Potter but this book reinvented writing about magic whilst still making it the roller-coaster it should be and is. Needless to say i adored this book.

Amber gave The Lost Witch 5 out of 5 and now plans to read Rosie Loves Jack by Mel Darbon.