Half Bad (Half Bad Trilogy Series #1)

( 37 )

Overview

In modern-day England, witches live alongside humans: White witches, who are good; Black witches, who are evil; and sixteen-year-old Nathan, who is both. Nathan’s father is the world’s most powerful and cruel Black witch, and his mother is dead. He is hunted from all sides. Trapped in a cage, beaten and handcuffed, Nathan must escape before his seventeenth birthday, at which point he will receive three gifts from his father and come into his own as a witch—or else he will die. But how can Nathan find his father ...

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Half Bad (Half Bad Trilogy Series #1)

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Overview

In modern-day England, witches live alongside humans: White witches, who are good; Black witches, who are evil; and sixteen-year-old Nathan, who is both. Nathan’s father is the world’s most powerful and cruel Black witch, and his mother is dead. He is hunted from all sides. Trapped in a cage, beaten and handcuffed, Nathan must escape before his seventeenth birthday, at which point he will receive three gifts from his father and come into his own as a witch—or else he will die. But how can Nathan find his father when his every action is tracked, when there is no one safe to trust—not even family, not even the girl he loves?

In the tradition of Patrick Ness and Markus Zusak, Half Bad is a gripping tale of alienation and the indomitable will to survive, a story that will grab hold of you and not let go until the very last page.

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  • Half Bad - Trailer
    Half Bad - Trailer  

Editorial Reviews

Publishers Weekly
★ 12/23/2013
Nathan is the Half Code son of a White Witch and a Black Witch, and no White Witch will let him forget it. While Whites try to fit in amid normal "fains," secretly manipulating society, the Blacks are dangerous loners who, according to the Whites, have no purpose but murdering other witches to steal their powers. Nathan, whose father is Marcus—the most hated of Black Witches—falls in love with a White Witch girl, is taken into custody by the all-powerful Council, and, for years, is both tortured and trained in secret to murder his father. Then, just before Nathan's 17th birthday, he escapes, with only months to find someone to help him receive his own magical gifts. This grim and thrilling tale, first in a planned trilogy, features understated prose that lets readers' imaginations fill in the blanks, as well as a well-developed sense of Witch culture. Nathan, the damaged survivor of horrific abuse, is an unforgettable protagonist, and Green expertly captures his torment at being caught between the mutually hostile sides of his heritage. Ages 12–up. Agent: Claire Wilson, Rogers, Coleridge & White. (Mar.)
From the Publisher
Praise and accolades for Half Bad
 
"Highly entertaining and dangerously addictive."—Time Magazine
 
“Genuinely engaging.”—The New York Times
 
“Gripping.”—US Weekly
 
“Bewitching.”—The Wall Street Journal

“Captivating.”— Los Angeles Times

 "A page-turner."—The Boston Globe

"An epic journey."—D.J. MacHale, New York Times bestselling author of Pendragon and Sylo
 
"Brilliant and utterly compelling." —Kate Atkinson, New York Times bestselling author of Life After Life

"This will haunt you." —Marie Lu, New York Times bestselling author of Legend

"Edgy, arresting and brilliantly written." —Michael Grant, New York Times bestselling author of Gone

• "A thrilling tale . . . Unforgettable." —Publishers Weeklystarred review

• "Marvelous." —Bookliststarred review

• "A unique take on witches." —Library Media Connectionstarred review

A Spring 2014 Kids' Indie Next List pick

A 2014 Booklist Top 10 SF, Fantasy, and Horror for Youth

A Publishers Weekly Best Young Adult Book of 2014

A YALSA 2015 Best Fiction for Young Adults pick
 
Holder of two Guinness World Records
 
Optioned for film by FOX 2000
 
Rights sold in 50 international markets

Voya Reviews, April 2014 (Vol. 36, No. 1) - Meghann Meeusen
In a world divided by two factions at war, Nathan is caught in the middle, for he is neither a White Witch nor a Black Witch, but a Half Code—half White and half Black. Nathan must overcome more than the tyrannical ordinances that govern his life and separation from the girl he loves, for destiny has ordained that he must kill his evil Black Witch father, a man who, more than anything, Nathan just wishes to know. On his journey to escape from the Hunters, cruel White Witches who cage and torment him, Nathan searches to understand his past and find a way to receive the three gifts that will allow him to come into his power, gifts only a family member can bestow. Yet family is something Nathan both desires and fears, for he also seeks to understand his own nature and if he is truly a White or Black Witch. The first in a trilogy, Half Bad follows the beginning of Nathan’s journey for self-understanding and escape from persecution as he struggles to decide whom he can trust. Told at times in first- and second-person, the story allows unique insights into Nathan’s perspectives, including the fast-paced escapes and heart-wrenching torment. An interesting spin on the paranormal that runs adjacent to some important social issues, Half Bad leaves readers questioning if the division between good and evil is ever as simple as black and white. Reviewer: Meghann Meeusen; Ages 15 to 18.
Children's Literature - Remy Dou
The world is divided between the Black and the White. For centuries white witches have hunted their enemies, believing no good exists in anyone born a black witch. When Nathan is born, their world is turned upside down. As the son of the most notorious black witch and a gentle white witch, Nathan and those he lives with await the development of his gifts. They wonder which of his two heritages will dominate—his sinister half or his compassionate half. Green grays the boundaries between good and evil with this supernatural tale about a fatherless son struggling to find his identity. This brew of action, passion, and magic glimmers with overtones about race, the meaning of good and evil, and the emotional struggles of being a teenager. From beginning to end, Green casts a hex that lures readers into a hidden world, drawing them to root for Nathan as he battles those who want to use him to destroy Marcus—his father. Unfortunately, he must enlist the help of a vengeful black witch who will ask something from him in return or suffer irreparable consequences. This story is a phenomenal start to what promises to be a successful trilogy. Part one of the “Half Bad Trilogy” series. Reviewer: Remy Dou; Ages 12 up.
School Library Journal
04/01/2014
Gr 8 Up—Good witch or bad witch? This is the question that plagues 17-year-old Nathan, the product of two witches, one white, and one the infamous, hated black witch, Marcus. Readers will be intrigued by this work from the very beginning, as it opens in medias res, with Nathan living in a cage but attempting at every opportunity to escape, being submitted to beatings and ill treatment from a strange woman. Soon, flashbacks reveal Nathan's backstory: his precarious position in society is a result of his mixed parentage, and their hatred for his father Marcus, who murdered many white witches, led to the council of white witches taking the boy from his home with his grandmother and half-siblings to a life as a prisoner. While these characters inhabit a world that melds the supernatural with real life, the plot centers primarily on witchcraft, and there are few non-witch characters (or fain, as they are referred to). Nathan's feelings of self-loathing that grow as a result of the ostracism he experiences from those around him, coupled with a yearning to know more about Marcus, will resonate with readers; the first-person narration expertly conveys his anguish and alienation, as well his search for a sense for identity. Other characters tend to be sketchier by comparison, especially as the pace picks up after Nathan escapes and his journey takes off. Some of the violence (beatings, bullying, and even torture feature here) may be off-putting to more sensitive readers, but lovers of dark fantasy should enjoy this energetic, gripping volume.—Mahnaz Dar, School Library Journal
Kirkus Reviews
2014-01-29
A teenage witch persecuted from birth must find his father, the most notoriously evil witch alive, or die. Nathan Byrn grew up hearing tales of how his father, the famed Black Witch Marcus, murdered his mother's husband and caused her to commit suicide. By age 11, he's been designated a Half Code due to his mixed parentage, a status met with fear and disgust by most. Viewed by the Council as both a threat and a key weapon against Marcus, Nathan is caged by his 16th birthday. Nathan knows that as a Black Witch, he'll die if not given three gifts on his next birthday by a blood relative; Marcus is his only hope. After a palpably grueling ordeal in the cage, Nathan finally, too easily, escapes and resolves to find Marcus. Green propels Nathan forward with the help of often underdeveloped secondary characters, who are overshadowed by the imaginary relationship Nathan builds with his father; it is this that keeps both Nathan and readers going. Readers will hope for Nathan's sake that the fantasy father he's built from stories he's heard and his own imagination won't let him down. A cliffhanger indicates that the arc of Nathan's emotional trajectory will continue. Nathan's harrowing quest to build a father-son relationship will compel readers to the sequel even if the slim romantic subplot and looming threat of the Council do not. (Fantasy. 12 & up)
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Product Details

  • ISBN-13: 9780670016785
  • Publisher: Penguin Young Readers Group
  • Publication date: 3/4/2014
  • Series: Half Bad Trilogy Series , #1
  • Pages: 416
  • Sales rank: 74,497
  • Age range: 12 - 17 Years
  • Lexile: HL680L (what's this?)
  • Product dimensions: 5.80 (w) x 8.40 (h) x 1.50 (d)

Meet the Author

Sally Green lives in north-west England. She has had various jobs and even a profession but in 2010 she discovered a love of writing and now just can’t stop. She used to keep chickens, makes decent jam, doesn't mind ironing, loves to walk in Wales even when it's raining, and will probably never jog again. She really ought to drink less coffee. Half Bad is her first novel. 

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Read an Excerpt

     Kieran says, “You know what this is, Connor?”     Connor has to think about it, but eventually says, “A hunting knife.”     “Yes. To be exact, it’s a French hunting knife. They make great knives, the French.Look at that blade.’     I squirm and grunt and curse them.     ‘Hold him still, Niall. The blade folds away beautifully into the handle. Great design.The Swiss go for all the fancy gadgets in their knives, but all you need is a goodblade.”     I hear the rip of my T-shirt and feel the cool air on my back. I buck and curse again.     “Hold him still.”     I feel the blade brushing over my back and now I hold still. The knife stops in themiddle of my left shoulder blade. The point goes in.     “I’ll start here. This half is the Black half, I’d say.”     And slowly the blade cuts down my back.

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Customer Reviews

Average Rating 4.5
( 37 )
Rating Distribution

5 Star

(23)

4 Star

(7)

3 Star

(5)

2 Star

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1 Star

(1)

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See All Sort by: Showing 1 – 20 of 37 Customer Reviews
  • Anonymous

    Posted April 18, 2014

    I'd like to begin my review by commenting that I haven't been so

    I'd like to begin my review by commenting that I haven't been so enraptured with a world of witchcraft and magic since I read J.K. Rowling's beloved Harry Potter septet. Now, don't misunderstand me, Harry Potter and Nathan Byrn are in no way similar to one another, and if you go into this novel expecting to visit the wizarding world of Harry Potter, I'm afraid you'll be thoroughly disappointed. Instead, this planned series offers an entirely different, and somewhat more sinister, world where Nathan is forced to endure pain and persecution inflicted on him by both family and foes alike for being something he had no choice in being, something he was born as: a halfcode. In short, I commend Sally Green on her debut novel and I eagerly await what she has in store for Nathan next. 

    2 out of 3 people found this review helpful.

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  • Posted December 27, 2014

    Sally Green¿s debut Half Bad, purchased for one million pounds,

    Sally Green’s debut Half Bad, purchased for one million pounds, released with high expectations of commercial success. The book under-performed in the market; expectations can be killers. However, it wasn’t only publishing’s high hopes that derailed Half Bad’s potential. Green’s authorial choices at the beginning of the novel do not mesh with the majority of the rest of the book.




    Half Bad begins strong. It’s dynamic and interesting in style, character, setting, and situation. In a mere eighteen pages, we know our protagonist is kept in a cage, we know he is trying to escape, the conflict is clear, the character likable, a fighter, the stakes high. He rebels against his captor in small ways: urinates on the vegetable garden, spits on potato plants, stands after forty-nine push-ups instead of fifty, accepts a face slap punishment.




    Green even peppers the opening pages with statements that peak readers’ interest. “And you’re buzzing, self-healing from her little slap; it’s giving you a little buzz, buzz, buzz” (pg 10, Hardcover). What does this mean? What is self-healing? How does he do it? Is he special? These tiny mysteries interest readers and carries them deeper into the story.




    Stylistically, the beginning chapters are engaging as well. The author chooses to tell the story in second person. Our protagonist narrates his actions using “you” instead of “I.” A dynamic that concurrently illustrates the narrator’s emotional divorce from himself and a directness to the reader. The other broad idiosyncratic authorial choice is the formatting of some paragraphs.




    half bad pageThe effect heightens the writing’s rhythm through physicalizing the action on the page. Green is not afraid of breaking out of the narrative confines — not unlike her protagonist.




    Green hooks her readers in these first few pages. She presents a unique situation — a boy held in a cage — and engaging, sympathetic protagonist, and interesting language choices. She creates questions for the readers by withholding information, thus pushing the reader to continue with the story. 




    Then I continued reading and my interest waned. What started in high action, intrigue, high stakes, mystery, high life value was undercut with a slow-paced, domestic drama of “witches” coming of age. A hundred and twenty-five pages of low tension, seemingly unimportant stakes, no clock, and no interesting conflict. The protagonist is an outsider, he falls in love with a girl he shouldn’t, he gets beaten up by bullies, he learns about his mother and father, he’s starting to “change,” etc. Sound familiar? Of course, because these are clichés if not developed in a new way. Green’s world is simply reminiscent of Harry Potter’s from Voldemort’s perspective.




    Ultimately, the novel returns to our protagonist in the cage, but it’s too late, the reader has walked. Robert McKee writes, “A story must not retreat to actions of lesser quality or magnitude, but move progressively forward to a final action beyond which the audience cannot imagine another” (McKee, pg 209). Half Bad starts highly active and engaging but “retreats to actions of lesser quality or magnitude.” For the same reason writers are warned against employing flashbacks — breaking the story’s rhythm, dropping its tension, undercutting the conflicts — Green should have reconsidered the structure. Nothing is more disappointing than false hope.

    1 out of 1 people found this review helpful.

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  • Anonymous

    Posted July 1, 2014

    More than i expected

    This book, was more than I expected because I am not much of a witches novel reader and I actually don't like reading them, but I gave myself the oppotunity to read Half Bad, and from the beggining got cought in it and was desperate to finish it and see how would it end. I recomend this book for all the people who want a good twist and adventure read. You can easily become the characters in the book, I was really touched by Nathan (the main character), I laughed with him and even cried with him. Books that can make you laugh or crie or make you think are the best books ever and this is one of them. I'm expecting the second book despretly and the third one too. Hope is as good as the first one. You won't regret reading Half Bad.

    1 out of 2 people found this review helpful.

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  • Anonymous

    Posted April 8, 2014

    Interesting

    I liked the book and it had good ideas it just was not my fave

    1 out of 3 people found this review helpful.

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  • Anonymous

    Posted March 10, 2014

    I am a very fast reader, and I read this book in under 3 hours I

    I am a very fast reader, and I read this book in under 3 hours I enjoyed it so much. The entire story had a lot of well thought out characters and interesting story lines. I very much enjoyed the last half of the book, but the first half was also really well written. Of all the characters I love the friendship between Gabriel and Nathan. I almost find it funny how protective Gabriel is of Nathan, and it reminded me a lot of this "mother bear" friend we had in high school that was also very protective. I found a lot of interesting links in my life to this story. An A+ story, and I am painfully waiting for the next book. I am very sad it isn't scheduled to be out until FALL of 2015!!!
    #TeamGabriel

    1 out of 4 people found this review helpful.

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  • Anonymous

    Posted March 8, 2014

    Quite Enjoyable

    This book was fast paced and leaves you eager for the next one.

    1 out of 4 people found this review helpful.

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  • Posted December 31, 2014

    Okay, so I'll start by saying I haven't read a book about witche

    Okay, so I'll start by saying I haven't read a book about witches that I really loved since HARRY POTTER. Not that there aren't any out there (there are), but one hadn't really caught my interest until HALF BAD.

    Well. I was on the fifth page when I realized this was very likely going to be a new favorite. And I was right.

    First and foremost: THE VOICE. If you're a YA writer looking for a great example of powerful, immediate, raw voice, pick up this book immediately. Nathan's voice is so real and intense and I honestly could not have loved it any more.

    Secondly: the second-person POV. There are indeed sections of second person POV, including the opening, which I was pretty surprised to read. But holy wow, it worked so well! Ms. Green broke the rules on this one, and it really really worked.

    Now the characters and the plot. HALF BAD has you question right from the start who the good and bad guys are. There isn't a clear-cut this person is good, this person is bad element, which I absolutely adore because gray characters, to me, are so much more realistic and interesting than morally 100% good/evil characters.

    What made all of these even better was the pacing—even in the flashback sections that show us how Nathan ends up caged--are full of tension and conflict and events that had me racing through the book to find out what happens.

    Overall, I absolutely loved HALF BAD. It's now one of my favorites and I can't read to get my hands on the sequel, HALF WILD. If you like dark, intense YA Fantasy, I couldn't recommend this one any more.

    0 out of 1 people found this review helpful.

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  • Anonymous

    Posted December 11, 2014

    I just ordered this on the Scholastic book club book order

    And its really good so far

    0 out of 1 people found this review helpful.

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  • Anonymous

    Posted November 17, 2014

    Wow

    I love the book but am going to wait until april for half.wild get the book

    0 out of 1 people found this review helpful.

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  • Anonymous

    Posted October 21, 2014

    Great book

    You won't be disappointed.

    0 out of 1 people found this review helpful.

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  • Anonymous

    Posted September 27, 2014

    Loved this book!

    One of the best books I have ever read! I am an avid reader and I just could NOT put this book down! A++++++++! I just pre ordered the sequal, I CAN NOT WAIT TO READ IT!!!!!!!

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  • Anonymous

    Posted September 3, 2014

    So good

    After being dissapointed by many books this book was a welcome suprise, it is so well written and captivating

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  • Anonymous

    Posted August 30, 2014

    Sweet

    The next book will come out on March 25, 2015, which is pretty disappointing, but now people who have not read it have some time to.

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  • Anonymous

    Posted August 10, 2014

    I loved this book!! When will the next one be for sale??? Hope

    I loved this book!! When will the next one be for sale??? Hopefully not a year!!!!

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  • Anonymous

    Posted July 28, 2014

    0 out of 5 people found this review helpful.

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  • Anonymous

    Posted July 13, 2014

    Thoroughly enjoyed this book, I can't wait for the next one  

    Thoroughly enjoyed this book, I can't wait for the next one
     

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  • Anonymous

    Posted July 4, 2014

    Join clan

    Grassclan at rand
    Rockclan at ko (become deputy)
    Windclan at wynd(become deputy)
    Trey clan at trey
    Seasonclan at season

    0 out of 2 people found this review helpful.

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  • Anonymous

    Posted July 4, 2014

    An annoucement!

    ADVERTISE!

    0 out of 2 people found this review helpful.

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  • Anonymous

    Posted July 2, 2014

    Not your ordinary teen trilogy.

    I finished it too quickly, truly a wonderful read. Very raw, but totally worth your time.

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  • Anonymous

    Posted July 2, 2014

    Amazing

    A slow but intriguing start to a great series.

    Was this review helpful? Yes  No   Report this review
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