FeaturedYoung Adult

The Wise One

By

Loved it! 😍

A young adult version of A Discovery of Witches, this story expertly blends the folklore of the Celtic people with present-day life.

In a world torn apart by violence and environmental distress, magic may be the only hope to stitch it back together. Fair-skinned, auburn haired Mckenna O’Dwyer is not an average teenager; the child of a surrogate living with her Black American and white Irish dads in rural Massachusetts, her life is anything but normal. But, when she learns about her Irish dad’s past and that her mother is real, her world spins out of control. Feeling betrayed and desperate for answers, Mckenna runs away with her newfound friend Nissa, crossing the Atlantic and finding her way back to her roots through a series of serendipitous events.


After disembarking in Dublin, Mckenna and Nissa meet Cillian, a young Irish delegate working to bridge the divide between Northern Ireland and the Republic. Cillian offers to transport Mckenna and Nissa across the border and, though they are wary of the offer, the girls decide to trust him. On their journey, Mckenna and Nissa learn important lessons about themselves and each other, viewing the world from a different angle from that which they have always done. As the truth comes to light, the three enhance their bond.


Ireland at Samhain is a perfect backdrop to this story, released just in time for Halloween. Ghosts, magic, and reincarnation are pervasive themes throughout this story, converging in 1991 while tensions between Northern Ireland and the Republic were running high. Multiple storylines create a dense tableau and entwine easily despite the overall complexity of the narrative. Otherwise improbable events are acceptably explained away by magic in order to allow the plot to advance uninhibited. Readers will build a strong affection for each of the featured relationships in the story, anxiously waiting for them to converge and resolve. Mckenna’s upbringing is rare among young adult novels, inviting consideration of what love can look like.


The book flows easily, capturing readers’ attention from beginning to end. Occasional profanity appears in the text, and the romance is merely suggestive. Much like a young adult version of A Discovery of Witches, this story expertly blends the folklore of the Celtic people with present-day life. This book is highly recommended to readers who enjoy young adult literature and the magical landscape of Ireland.


Grades 9-12

Reviewed by

I review books for kids, tweens, and teens and blog about them on my website. To date, I have over 500 published reviews. Sign up for my monthly newsletter at www.maryrlanni.com to get recommendations straight to your inbox! I primarily write reviews, but will create video reviews upon request.

The Wise One

About the author

Alexa Bigwarfe of Write|Publish|Sell is an author, author coach, and publisher. view profile

Published on October 28, 2020

Published by Kat Biggie Press

70000 words

Genre: Young Adult

Reviewed by