Half Bad

Penguin Teen

Shyanne Hagler, Staff Reporter

Wanted by no one.

Hunted by everyone.


Written by Sally Green, is Half Bad. A young adult novel that contains much fantasy but teaches lessons along the way. This book was first published January 1, 2014. It is the start of an interesting trilogy of alienation, and a strong will to survive.


Half Bad is notable for using a second person narrative. In the book, it is set in modern day Europe, where witches (black and white) and humans (called fains) all live together.


This book is about a young boy named Nathan Byrn, who is a half white and half black witch. He grew up with his grandma and three other siblings who are all white witches. This living arrangement is because his mother died from suicide awhile back for what he thinks is all his fault for being a half black witch. His mother was a very powerful healer and everyone envied her, but his father is the most dangerous black witch in the world.


The witches have a ceremony  on their seventeenth birthday where they receive three gifts and the blood of their parents or guardians to gain a special magical power that represents them. Some have weak powers, such as potion making, and others have strong, useful powers such as shape shifting and healing. His mother was a powerful healer and his father is a shape shifter.


Nathan has a problem though, the council has set a law that the white witches can have three gifts but  mixed witches cannot. If a black witch can’t get their three gifts, they will die. So Nathan has a plan to flee the council and the white witches in search for his father, but the council gets to him first and he’s put into a cage with no contact with his family and is watched by a powerful hunter.

When he turns sixteen he manages to get free and set off to continue the journey before he turns
seventeen (only a few weeks away). The book ends on a jaw clenching cliffhanger that makes you want to get the second book.