"Brignull's The Hawkweed Prophecy is a deft exploration of friendship, sacrifice, and betrayal. I can't decide who I love more, the sweet and trusting Ember or the spunky, dark Poppy. You can't help but cheer for both girls, and ache when they are pitted against one another. I was completely absorbed in the sinister, complicated world of magic and witches. The coven is described so confidently and beautifully, it's hard to emerge from the novelw ithout wondering if these women are operating somewhere just below the surface of our world. Full of romance, heart, and suspense, readers will find themselves staying up all night just to spend a little more time with Ember and Poppy."
Madeleine Roux, author of the Asylum series
Laini Taylor, author of The Daughter of Smoke & Bone trilogy
"Irena Brignull's The Hawkweed Prophecy is a book of wicked, beautiful magic. Compulsively readable and delightfully gritty, one does not mess with these Hawkweed witches."
Kendare Blake, author of Anna Dressed in Blood, and Three Dark Crowns
"Wise, weird, a touch evil and totally charming, Irena Brignull's tale of magic in our time is as rich and complicated as sisterhood. From the first page, I felt drawn into a modern classic."
Anna Godbersen, author of The Luxe, and Bright Young Things series
"I loved this book! Irena has created such a beautiful complete world-our world, and nestled within it, a simmering world of magic. The Hawkweed Prophecy has everything: friendship, desire, delicious earthy magic, secrets and spells, and at its centre, the wonderful young Poppy, on a journey of self-discovery."
Karen Foxlee, author of Ophelia and the Marvelous Boy, and A Most Magical Girl
"The Hawkweed Prophecy was bewitching from the get-go. Irena Brignull does an amazing job weaving a tale of pure magic in this debut novel. She'll have you on a roller coaster of emotions from the very first page. Get ready to be spellbound."-Paige McKenzie, author of The Haunting of Sunshine Girl series
"Brignull develops story and characters slowly, long, luxurious sentences balancing the magic and the mundane expertly and building the world of the witches by showing how out of place Ember is in it. Tension builds inexorably to the inevitable witch showdown, which brings small victories but not a happily-ever-after for all. The third-person narration switches focus from character to character as they make frustrating, heart-rending, totally believable choices. Fantasy and nonfantasy readers alike will appreciate this gritty and intriguing coming-of-age story."
"Brignull...debuts with an instantly engrossing novel...It's a fantasy with the air of a classic, yet one that's also entirely contemporary in its tight focus on identity, friendship, and romance. Ages 12-up."
Publisher's Weekly Starred Review
"For fans of mysticism and witches, this is a must-buy."
School Library Journal
"Witchy, soulful, vibrant, mysterious."-Rachel Ashworth Writes
Brignull, a British screenwriter whose credits include the upcoming film adaptation of The Little Prince, debuts with an instantly engrossing novel about two girls—one a witch, destined to be queen, the other a human “chaff”—who are magically switched at birth. Poppy, raised a chaff, and Ember, raised a witch, endure lonely childhoods, unable to fit in with their families or peers, always the odd girl out. After a chance meeting in the woods, the girls find solace in each other but are driven apart by a homeless boy named Leo, who captures their hearts. Brignull’s prose starts with a simmer and burns brighter as the relationships among these three teens grow increasingly complicated and intricate. Even though readers are aware of the girls’ shared circumstances from the start, the revelations are captivating as Brignull unspools the details of the shocking truths around them. It’s a fantasy with the air of a classic, yet one that’s also entirely contemporary in its tight focus on identity, friendship, and romance. Ages 12–up. Agent: Catherine Clarke, Felicity Bryan Associates. (Sept.)
Gr 8 Up—It happened in one remarkable, grim instance—two babies, switched at birth. Ember grew up as a witch with no apparent abilities, and Poppy is a troubled teen with chaos following her every step. Both girls feel as if they don't quite fit in. When they meet one day in the woods, they are immediately drawn to each other. As they begin to spend more and more time together, each girl realizes that she belongs in the other's world. Ember sneaks Poppy books on witchcraft, while Poppy brings Ember nail polish and an iPod full of music. However, the simplicity of their friendship is ended when Leo, a young homeless boy, enters their lives and an ancient prophecy surfaces. Not only are Ember and Poppy connected by the prophecy but there are also dark family secrets buried within the two girls' existence. Brignull melds a story of sisterhood and friendship with one of sacrifice and loss. Deep themes such as mental illness, homelessness, abuse, and neglect are explored here, but the author also highlights the true power of friendship, sacrifice, and love. The one drawback to the novel is the love triangle in play among Leo, Poppy, and Emma. The continuous back-and-forth of emotions may be enjoyed by some teen readers; however, many will be annoyed with the time the love story takes away from the true plot. VERDICT The romance is a bit superfluous, but for fans of mysticism and witches, this is a must-buy.—Brittney Kosev, Honey/Rush Elementary, Lubbock, TX
Poppy and Ember, switched at birth, discover the truth and each other in this coming-of-age fantasy.Poppy Hooper has always been different. Though raised by humans, the dark-haired white girl with different-colored eyes is a witch, switched at birth by her power-hungry aunt. Meanwhile, secluded in a forest, Ember Hawkweed—Poppy's counterpart—has been raised by witches. The blonde white girl's something of an anti-witch: "soft and weak," failing at witchy things and preferring aesthetic pleasures. Conversely, Poppy unintentionally performs extraordinary feats of magic (to often problematic effect). When Poppy's father moves them across the country, Poppy and Ember meet, precipitating an intense, immediate bond that deepens as Poppy introduces Ember to the modern world, sharing music and gossip magazines. Soon thereafter Poppy encounters Leo, a beautiful, olive-skinned homeless boy, and mutual sparks fly. These new relationships are tested when Poppy brings Leo to meet Ember, who falls for him (the first boy she's seen) straightaway. Brignull develops story and characters slowly, long, luxurious sentences balancing the magic and the mundane expertly and building the world of the witches by showing how out of place Ember is in it. Tension builds inexorably to the inevitable witch showdown, which brings small victories but not a happily-ever-after for all. The third-person narration switches focus from character to character as they make frustrating, heart-rending, totally believable choices. Fantasy and nonfantasy readers alike will appreciate this gritty and intriguing coming-of-age story. (Fantasy. 14 & up)