Tuesday, September 12, 2023

Virtual Book Tour & Giveaway: Izzy Hoffman is Not a Witch by Alyssa Alessi


Izzy Hoffman is Not a Witch

Alyssa Alessi

Middle-grade horror
Publisher: Cinnabar Moth Publishing LLC
Publication Date: September 5, 2023
Hardcover age count: 150 pages



Twelve-year-old Izzy has been haunted by the shadow of her ten-times-great grandmother for as long as she can remember. This is no ordinary ancestral ghost: This great granny was the first woman to be hung for witchcraft in Izzy’s small New England town.

Every October first, tourists flood the streets of Marblehead. Unfortunately, this year so do a mysterious man and a possessed town psychic. When the man shows up at Izzy’s family-run bookstore, making odd demands and threatening her mom, she must find the connection between this creep and her ghostly visions.

Trying to make sense of this chaos, Izzy roams into secret rooms, holds seances at the local tarot parlor, and digs through the old family cookbooks that sit on her shelves. When she discovers that she may be a part of a once-in-a-century ritual, Izzy must decide whether it’s going to take baking magic or blood magic to protect herself and her parents from the return of the witch hunt.



Every morning I wake from the same dream. Honestly, it’s more like a nightmare. I walk up to a ridiculously large brass-framed mirror, its dirty gold trim holding golden vines wrapped around its curves. Faces belonging to chubby baby angels are carved in its crevices. I’m hesitant to look at first, but then I jump in front of it like I know what’s coming and want to get it over with. I do know what’s coming. My reflection is the same every time. A woman with long straggly black hair and a gaunt face stares back at me. She has no eyes, yet she looks straight into my soul. Her head moves from side to side. My chest aches with each crook of her neck. She wants to pull me in, I know she does. Her bony fingers scratch at the sides of the glass. I open my mouth to scream, but the shriek comes from her unhinged jaw instead of mine. I always wake in a puddle of sweat, then get up to brush my teeth. This has been on repeat for five years, until today. Today is my twelfth birthday and as a gift, this woman smiled and punched through the glass.


5 stars!

A quick and exciting witchy read for upper-elementary and middle-grade readers, perfect for the fall season.

Izzy Hoffman Is Not a Witch by author Alyssa Alessi is the perfect fall tale for advanced elementary and middle-grade readers who enjoy stories of witches, magic, and family. With a brave 12-year-old protagonist and her loyal best friend in the spotlight, the story weaves an exciting tale that includes some early history of women folk healers persecuted as witches by the fearful, jealous, and greedy, with a hidden world where magic really exists.
In this fictional tale, Izzy Hoffman is the bright and brave heroine of the book, whose early ancestor, Alice Young, was the first person executed for witchcraft in the 13 American colonies: an actual person. Alice's spirit is a restless one and has infiltrated Izzy's dreams and terrified the child for years. But on Izzy's 12th birthday, the recurring nightmare gets even more frightening, with Alice seeming determined to take Izzy with her into her world. After much agonizing consideration, Izzy shares her problem with her mother, and together, they decide to get to the bottom of the endless nocturnal visitations. Assisting is the elderly but feisty tarot reader, Miss Clara, and Izzy's best friend, Nat, who models what a true friend is all about.
At school, Izzy has experienced finger-pointing and been the subject of a rumor that she's a witch, and Nat has always had her back. But in a town that celebrates Halloween and witches year-round, this didn't have quite the stigma it might have had elsewhere or in an earlier era. Izzy has a handle on weathering that storm and isn't timid about speaking up for herself. Still, over the course of the story, Izzy gains and nurtures her confidence and grows to accept her true self.
The action begins quickly when a rude stranger knocks Izzy down but hurries away without apologizing or checking to see if she is injured. Later, when the stranger menaces her mother at their bookstore, readers will realize that great-grandma Alice times ten may not be the real villain in the piece. The story's pace builds quickly from this point and never lets up. Its shorter length and nicely spaced chapter breaks make this book middle-grade-friendly and a great choice for reading aloud.
I recommend IZZY HOFFMAN IS NOT A WITCH for advanced elementary and middle-grade readers and as a possible choice for reading aloud in school, during after-school programs, and at home.


Alyssa Alessi is a writer of middle grade, young adult and short stories all inspired by the unsettling macabre aesthetic of New England. As a child she was on a constant hunt for ghosts, vampires, and her own powers as a witch. When she couldn’t find them, she settled for writing them into existence. You can find her hiking any trail in the Northeast said to be haunted, roaming old cemeteries with a camera in hand, or thrift shopping anywhere antiques are sold. She resides in Boston, MA with her husband, three children and their mini dachshund.


Alyssa Alessi will be awarding a $10 Amazon or Barnes and Noble GC to a randomly drawn winner via rafflecopter during the tour.

a Rafflecopter giveaway

No comments: