Greetings yet again, and welcome to another installment of Trans Book Club! Today we’re looking at The Witch Boy series, a trilogy of graphic novels that, while not overtly trans, are nonetheless super-duper trans. And also just enjoyable and nifty and awesome, so. Here we are.
At present, The Witch Boy series is comprised of three books: The Witch Boy, The Hidden Witch, and The Midwinter Witch. I read all three of these books yesterday because (a) I needed to know what would happen next, and (b) they are, in fact, just that awesome.
The Witch Boy series focuses on a young boy named Aster who comes from a family of shapeshifters and witches. Since time immemorial, the men of the family have grown up to be shapeshifters, and the women have grown up to be witches. The only problem? Aster wants to be a witch.
To say that I loved these books would be putting it mildly. Not only is Aster a super relatable character, but the trans allegory is very clear, and watching Aster come to terms with his witchiness and eventually “come out” to his family is a wonderful thing to behold. There’s also a healthy helping of LGBTQ+ sprinkled throughout the story, from same-sex parents to hints of a budding romance between two of the main female characters.
While I would of course have loved it if there were some actual trans characters in this series, it’s also pretty great to see a story about a boy who identifies with traditionally “feminine” things being shown in a positive light. Aster is soft-spoken and sensitive, and he’d much rather learn about plants and healing spells with the witches than play a rowdy game of Capture the Flag with the boys. The third book, The Midwinter Witch, also deals with the stress of being “out” at a family reunion (or just in a larger group of people beyond your immediate circle) and hits nicely on the fact that while being out may be hard, it can have a real, positive impact – not just on you, but on people like you who previously thought they were alone.
Bottom line: These books are great, and I highly, highly recommend them.
Author website: http://www.mollyostertag.com/
PS: I was also super jazzed to see a Steven Universe reference in the first book, then had a major “duh” moment when I realized that author Molly Knox Ostertag is, in fact, married to Noelle Stevenson, creator of Steven Universe. Something I had known at one point but forgotten, because my memory is just that great.