The Very Secret Society of Irregular Witches | Review
Rating - ⭐⭐⭐⭐
"As one of the few witches in Britain, Mika Moon knows she has to hide her magic, keep her head down, and stay away from other witches so their powers don't mingle and draw attention. And as an orphan who lost her parents at a young age and was raised by strangers, she's used to being alone and she follows the rules...with one exception: an online account, where she posts videos pretending to be a witch. She thinks no one will take it seriously.
But someone does. An unexpected message arrives, begging her to travel to the remote and mysterious Nowhere House to teach three young witches how to control their magic. It breaks all of the rules, but Mika goes anyway, and is immediately tangled up in the lives and secrets of not only her three charges, but also an absent archaeologist, a retired actor, two long-suffering caretakers, and...Jamie. The handsome and prickly librarian of Nowhere House would do anything to protect the children, and as far as he's concerned, a stranger like Mika is a threat. An irritatingly appealing threat.
As Mika begins to find her place at Nowhere House, the thought of belonging somewhere begins to feel like a real possibility. But magic isn't the only danger in the world, and when a threat comes knocking at their door, Mika will need to decide whether to risk everything to protect a found family she didn't know she was looking for."
The Very Secret Society of Irregular Witches is a standalone fantasy novel by Sangu Mandanna.
I am pretty sure I discovered this book because it was recommended by someone for fans of The House in the Cerulean Sea, and I can see why. The stories share the same premise in terms of both of them being about wayward children and found families. And, for the most part, the book did a good job of eliciting the same emotions the other did.
We follow Mika whose secret heritage as a witch gets discovered by a group of people who want her to teach two little girls magic. Of course, the job is never as simple as it is made out to be as she has to juggle with a daunting deadline and a grumpy new housemate. I knew right away that, with Mika being the sunshine character and Jamie being the grump, they were going to get together. Granted, the synopsis also made that clear but I didn't read it so...called it.
The story felt a bit on the shorter side and I ended up breezing through it, but I still had a good time. The bits of angst were exactly to my preference, and there was a bit of spice as well which I wasn't expecting considering the story. What I would have liked was to get to know Ian and Ken more. Their romance paralleled Mika's in many ways due to the nature of it, and I wanted to know more about it rather than it being more in the background.
Overall though, if you want a sweet and emotional found family story, and if you did indeed enjoy The House in the Cerulean Sea and are looking for something similar, this does scratch that itch.