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Publisher's Summary

When Molly shows up on Castle Hangnail's doorstep to fill the vacancy for a wicked witch, the castle's minions are understandably dubious. After all, she is 12 years old, barely five feet tall, and quite polite. (The minions are used to tall, demanding evil sorceresses with razor-sharp cheekbones.) But the castle desperately needs a master or else the Board of Magic will decommission it, leaving all the minions without the home they love. So when Molly assures them that she is quite wicked indeed (so wicked! Really wicked!) and begins completing the tasks required by the Board of Magic for approval, everyone feels hopeful. Unfortunately it turns out that Molly has quite a few secrets, including the biggest one of all: that she isn't who she says she is.
©2015 Ursula Vernon (P)2015 Tantor
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Critic Reviews

"[I]t offers a read with substance and resonance, despite the more whimsical trappings." ( School Library Journal)
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Customer Reviews

Most Helpful
4 out of 5 stars
By Elisabeth Carey on 02-08-16

A great romp you shouldn't leave to just the kids

When letters were dispatched to available wicked witches, wizards, sorcerers, mad scientists, vampires, and beast lords announcing an opening for a a new Master of the Castle at Castle Hangnail, the resident staff did not expect a twelve-year-old girl. Molly has one of the invitation letters, though, and insists she is a genuine wicked witch, and the minions don't want Castle Hangnail to get decommissioned for lack of a master by the Board of Magic, so...

When Molly starts making good progress on the required tasks to be confirmed as the new master, even the most skeptical of the minions, Major Domo, starts to become hopeful.

But Molly has some secrets lying in wait to trip them all up. Especially Molly. And when Molly's "old friend" turns up, thinks start to come unraveled.

This is a really fun tale of a talented and imaginative girl who is determined not to let anything stand in the way of her desire to practice her magic and be the witch that being the wicked twin in her family has made her--without hurting anyone who doesn't deserve it! Or possibly not even those that do deserve it. The plot moves, and I love the characters, especially Molly herself, Cook the Minotaur, and Bugbane the bat. Some of the more peripheral characters are fun, too.

Some will point out that this is a book intended for younger readers, to which I say, yes, what's your point? It's a lot of fun, and Tara Sands reads it very well and entertainingly.


I bought this book.

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4 of 4 people found this review helpful

5 out of 5 stars
By Karen K. on 01-19-17

Wicked, but not Evil

What did you love best about Castle Hangnail?

I liked the distinctions the characters made about the difference between being wicked vs. being evil.

What did you like best about this story?

I just really like the way Ursula Vernon writes. All her stories are quirky and fun but with some underlying worthwhile thought: they aren't just silly escapism.

Have you listened to any of Tara Sands’s other performances before? How does this one compare?

I haven't listened to Tara Sands before. She did a fine job of giving the characters distinctive voices, and she was easy to understand.

Was there a moment in the book that particularly moved you?

I'm a sucker for when people stand up for each other, and there's a lot of that in this book.

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1 of 1 people found this review helpful

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