Witch & Wizard
This suspense novel by James Patterson and Gabrielle Charbonnet is the first in the " Witch & Wizard" series published by Little, Brown and Company, a division of the Hachette Book Group Inc.
Witch & Wizard is written for kids ages 12 and up. The age range reflects readability and not necessarily content appropriateness.
Crude or Profane Language
Drug and Alcohol Content
Other Negative Elements
Seventeen-year-old Whit Allgood and his 15-year-old sister, Wisteria (Wisty), think they are normal teenagers until the recently empowered political party sends soldiers to arrest them. The New Order, ruled by an evil dictator known as The One Who Is The One, accuses them of witchcraft and wizardry. As the kids are being pulled from their home, Whit and Wisty's parents give them a drumstick and a blank book. They're thoroughly confused, and they certainly don't understand what's happening when flames begin to shoot out of Wisty's body.
The kids are taken to a prison full of other young people. As they await trial, Whit sees his missing girlfriend, Celia, in a dream. The trial is a farce, as the kids are given no legal representation and quickly deemed to be a witch and a wizard by The One Who Judges. They're sentenced to hanging, but this can't take place until they are 18. For Whit, it won't be long. They're sent to a former mental hospital to await hanging. Whit has another dream of Celia. She tells him there is a prophecy written on a wall in his future; he needs to learn about it because he and Wisty are part of it. Whit and Wisty begin to see that they do have powers about which they never knew.
At the mental hospital, the kids are threatened and tortured by two ghastly members of the New Order called the Matron and the Visitor. Although their prison is supposed to be magic-proof, the kids discover they can still use their powers. Celia helps Whit and Wisty escape, first guiding them through the dimension where she exists, called the Shadowland. When they reach their world again, outside the walls of the asylum, they see the extensive damage done by the New Order. Sasha, a friend of Celia's, leads Whit and Wisty to the bombed-out remains of a pricey department store called Garfunkel's. The store is now inhabited by several hundred young people who have formed their own system of government. They enlist Whit and Wisty to help them break other children out of prison. They lie and tell Whit and Wisty that Whit and Wisty's parents are also in that prison, just to get them on board with the plan.
Whit and Wisty use their powers to help with the jailbreak. They learn they are mentioned in a prophecy as liberators or rescuers, and they find out their parents are still free. Whit and Wisty help many other imprisoned children escape, and Wisty uses her powers to burn up the prison in the process. Whit and Wisty return to their new home at Garfunkel's, where they learn to increasingly trust in and rely on their powers. In a brief supernatural encounter with their parents, Wisty's drumstick turns into a magic wand and Whit's blank book becomes a magic book full of spells. Wisty ends the story by urging readers to seize the moments in their lives rather than worrying about what is coming next.
When The One Who Judges first tells the kids they're part of a prophecy, Whit scoffs and says he and his sister are nowhere in the Good Book. When a seemingly dead vehicle roars back to life, Whit calls it the Lazarus of minivans.
Other Belief Systems
Wisty and Whit practice and embrace wizardry and witchcraft once they realize they have these abilities. The magic mentioned is never given a source. It is not called "black magic," nor do the kids call on anyone evil to create their spells. The New Order bans magic, lumping it in the same category as the arts — literature, music, museums and words that promote creativity or imagination. Whit and Wisty's parents are also accused of practicing the foul arts. Some of Wisty's skills include setting herself on fire, floating in midair and turning herself and others into different objects or creatures.
Whit can move his body through solid matter and move in super-fast motion, among other things. As prison dogs attack the Matron, Wisty says the woman is working out some serious karma. Since she is a witch, Wisty is able to recognize a coven of witches in a restaurant. The kids meet another young girl who is a shaman. She explains she can't do magic herself, but her gift is to work with witches and wizards to help them hone their powers.
A prophecy on the department store wall says kids will soon run the world and do a better job than adults ever did. Another prophecy tells Whit and Wisty that their parents are Wiccans, and they (the kids) will have powers never before realized by any other Wiccans. Celia tells Whit and Wisty that she's a Half-light, which means she's dead but has some special powers. Half-lights live in the Shadowland. Wisty asks if that's like purgatory or limbo, where dead babies go. Celia says there are no dead babies, but it is kind of like limbo. It is its own dimension of reality.
There are portals between the Shadowland and other realms. Half-lights and animals called Curves can move through these portals. She also tells them about the Underworld, which is everything that isn't the Overworld.
The Lord's name is used in vain on a number of occasions. The words butt, crap, h---, heck, sucks, dang and the abbreviation WTH also appear several times each. Members of the New Order, particularly those overseeing the prisons, use torture and violence to demonstrate their power. The Visitor repeatedly strikes Whit with a riding crop, drawing blood.
The Matron tortures Whit, Wisty and other prisoners by forcing them to run through a pack of mad dogs to get gruel to eat, making them go without toilet paper and administering batteries of tests on them. Guards beat, manhandle and hurt children so severely that Wisty says she'll have nightmares about it for the rest of her life. Whit learns Celia was murdered at the prison as part of the New Order's effort to capture him and Wisty. The One Who Is The One vaporizes people with the flick of his wrist, leaving nothing but smoke and the smell of burning flesh.
Whit's magical book lets the kids see what they want to see. Whit finds he can look at The Swimsuit Issue Deluxe Compendium. Wisty remembers the department store where they're staying as a bra wonderland. Although not explicitly sexual, there is a hint of sexuality when Celia and Whit use their unique powers to merge into one another. Whit says he could feel her in a way that was more intense and intimate than ever before. He says it's like they were one person.
Alcohol: Whit has what the New Order calls a drinking problem; according to Wisty, he was often hopped up on Red Bull prior to their kidnapping.
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Readability Age Range
12 and up
James Patterson, Gabrielle Charbonnet
Little, Brown and Company, a division of the Hachette Book Group Inc.