Being a child of divorce is not the change that many of us are told to anticipate as we grow up, even less so for us who miss the signs of disquiet in the relations of the adults around us. In Wildseed Witch, a debut middle grade novel by Marti Dumas, young Hasani must contend with conflict on many fronts: in her family life, in her newly-noticed abilities, in the magical communities she finds herself part of, and in her presence online as a beauty influencer.
The conflicting feelings that Hasani has about the change in her family dynamic grows to a new height when her father introduces a new girlfriend, leading to the manifestation of magical powers no one in her family knew existed. From this major magic spurt, a program for Black girls with similar abilities is able to track her down and enroll her in their summer school at Les Belles Demoiselles, a hideaway outside of Hasani’s hometown of New Orleans. Hasani can’t help but be entranced by this whimsical opportunity, but has concerns about keeping her small YouTube channel, crafting beauty through dollar store makeup, running while she’s away. Her commitment to maintaining both passions while at Les Belles Demoiselles runs her into trouble and also becomes a point of derision for her classist classmates and instructors who look down on her for being a Wildseed Witch—a person with magical abilities that have no direct family lineage or traditions. Earnest and people-pleasing, this reception among her peers and role models leads Hasani down a path of uncovering what it means to be true to herself and which relationships are worth investment. This has repercussions in her family and her grasp of magic, which reverberate throughout each chapter of the story.
Wildseed Witch is a middle grade novel that thoroughly examines how classism within the Black community skews how we develop at a young age and the ways in which modern communication—mainly social media—exacerbates the worst aspects of normal desires. By picking up this book, readers are guaranteed a story equal parts joy, angst, self-reflection, and strengthening of key relationships. Give it a try then tell me what the story brings you!