The first thing that caught my eye about The Near Witch was the title. It was mysterious and I’ll admit that it did pique my interest. I wanted to know who or what the Near Witch is exactly and from how creepy the cover was (and I mean creepy in a good way) I had a feeling that the plot of the novel would be one that would keep me on the edge of my seat and keep me guessing. I was totally right. What really had me sold on The Near Witch were some of the praise that I saw for the novel and considering that author Carrie Ryan (whose Forest of Hands and Teeth series is one of my all-time favorite series ever) had me dying to read the first page and right from the very first sentence I was hooked.The Near Witch is the story of main character Lexi who lives in the town of Near. Near is a circular shaped town where everybody knows everybody and it’s no secret that there are two witches living in Near. It isn’t a secret that there are absolutely no strangers allowed in the town of Near. So, when Lexi sees a strange boy outside of her house who seems to vanish into thin air and a child goes missing the very next day, everybody seems to think that it has to have been the stranger to have stolen the child away. Lexi doesn’t think it is. The children in town are all at risk and when Lexi, who rebels against how a woman is supposed to act in Near, takes it to herself to uncover just what is happening to the children she finds herself confiding in the stranger accused of taking the children; Cole.Cole who is tall, dark and handsome and not who Lexi thinks he is. The same Cole who did something so terrible to his village that it burned down and forced him to go on the run. Lexi and Cole search for the children and soon come to the conclusion that it must be the Near Witch herself who is stealing the children away. But how when the Near Witch is nothing more than a tall tale told to children? Lexi and Cole soon learn the Near Witch was a very real person who was killed and has come back from the grave to exact her revenge on the town of Near.What I loved most about the novel was that it got straight to the point. Within the first few pages we were already exposed to the frightening story about the Near Witch who once lived in the moor and could control the wind and the earth. Shortly after that we get our first glimpse of Cole and are introduced to Lexi’s family. Lexi doesn’t have a father, she has only her mother, her uncle Otto and her little sister Wren. Within the first four chapters author Victoria Schwab’s writing style had me swept away in a sea of emotions, her writing style blew me away with how perfectly every sentence flowed into the next and the descriptors used had me grieving Lexi’s father and also getting more and more protective of her younger sister, all the while I started to despise her bossy uncle.In The Near Witch, there is a ton of romance. Not only is there Tyler who used to be Lexi’s friend and is upset because she doesn’t reciprocate his romantic advances and shows no sign in wanting to be his wife, but there is also the budding relationship between Lexi and Cole. Right from the start, I was falling in love in Cole just because he was such an enigma of a character for me and because I think that forbidden romances are the best. Considering that everybody in Near wants Cole dead more and more with each child that is taken, the forbidden romance aspect of the novel was getting more and more intense.Fans of the supernatural would definitely enjoy The Near Witch for the witches that are found in the novel. They aren’t the kind who are sitting over a cauldron concocting ways to get rid of their green flesh, mind you, but they did hold abilities that were fun for me to imagine. My main favorite would be being able to control the earth simply because it seems like the most useful of the bunch. I would recommend The Near Witch to readers who want a haunting tale that you will not want to put down, fans of forbidden romances (and supernatural romances) will fall in love with this novel and those of us who are just looking for a well written story will love love love The Near Witch.