Reviews & Interviews








KIRKUS REVIEWS – starred review: Kirkus Review Link

“This briskly paced, tightly plotted novel enacts the transformative power of education, creating engaging characters set in a rich alternative universe with a complicated history that can help us better understand our own. A massive page-turner that leaves readers longing for more.” -Kirkus Reviews, starred review


PUBLISHER’S WEEKLY – starred review: Publisher’s Weekly Review Link

“In this intoxicating tale of rebellion and star-crossed romance, 17-year-old Elloren Gardner enrolls at Verpax University to study healing. Elloren’s grandmother Carnissa was a powerful Mage known as the Black Witch, who led Gardneria to victory in the Realm War. Some think Elloren will fulfill a legendary prophecy and follow in Carnissa’s footsteps, but though Elloren resembles the Black Witch, she possesses no magic. Still, Elloren is hated by those on campus whose people Carnissa helped subjugate. Out of loneliness, Elloren befriends Verpax’s other outcasts, many of whom belong to races she’s been taught to fear or disdain. She begins to question everything she knows about Gardneria’s history and culture, and realizes that there’s good reason for the growing opposition to her country’s new government. Exquisite character work, an elaborate mythology, and a spectacularly rendered universe make this a noteworthy debut, which argues passionately against fascism and xenophobia. Though the worldbuilding is initially dense, the pace and stakes increase exponentially, and the thrilling conclusion will leave readers eager for the next book in this series.”

Ages 14–up. Agent: Carrie Hannigan, Hannigan Salky Getzler. (May)


BOOKLIST – starred review: Booklist Review Link

“Forest uses a richly imagined magical world to offer an uncompromising condemnation of prejudice and injustice…in a fast-paced school setting…with lively secondary characters and an especially nasty rival (imagine a female Draco Malfoy), this 600-page tome should find fans in those who like Harry Potter and Tamora Pierce.”


“I absolutely loved The Black Witch and will have a very hard time waiting for the second book! Maximum suspense, unusual magic–a whole new, thrilling approach to fantasy!”

-Tamora Pierce, #1 New York Times bestselling author


“College or University. A time when almost every student discovers that a) not everyone believes what you believe and b) some of what you know is wrong.

The Black Witch captures that time in the protagonist’s life as Elloren leaves the shelter of her rustic uncle’s home and goes off to school under the guidance of her politically powerful aunt. Elloren has been ‘wand-tested’ for magic and found lacking, despite the family lineage of powerful mages. She is still a potentially powerful pawn for her aunt’s ambitions, but only if she surrenders her independence and knuckles to her aunt’s threats and bribes . . .

This is a strong ‘first novel’ YA entry by Laurie Forest. It excels at depicting realistically how we react when we confront prejudices, our own and others. The ‘come to realize’ moment is powerful and graphic. Elloren is a believable protagonist in her sometimes painful growth towards accepting the truth. If you enjoy tales of both magic and coming of age and going off to school, this book will satisfy all three of those flavors.”

– Robin Hobb, New York Times Bestselling Author of The Farseer Series




GEEKSCAPE interview – Geekscape Interview link

“There’s a new voice in Fantasy and her name is Laurie Forest. Her first book, “The Black Witch” is arriving on book shelves and online May 2 from HarlequinTEEN. Even though it’s being pitched as young adult, I found great pleasure in reading her work and could easily see older adults enjoying it as well.

It’s a thick 600 page fantasy that reads more like 300 pages. You may find yourself having a hard time putting it down and consequently some late nights. Filled with a mix of traditional characters such as Elves, Witches, Shapeshifters, and Dragons as well as some new ones that make “The Black Witch” a solid entry into the fantasy genre.”

– Allie Hanley, Geekscape


THE READING ADDICT interview – The Reading Addict Interview link

“Are you more of a coffee or a tea person when writing?
Oh, I am a complete tea fanatic! Especially Irish Breakfast Tea. My books are completely fueled by the power of tea 🙂 And there’s quite a bit of tea drinking that pops up in my books. Watch for it!”

WORTHY Magazine interview – Worthy Magazine Interview Link – Page 12

“Laurie Forest’s The Black Witch, which hits shelves on May 2nd, 2017, will have readers hooked from the first page. Aurora Dominguez of Worthy Reads had a chance to interview the author exclusively for Worthy.  Read what she had to say about the novel.”


VOYA Magazine – August 2017 Issue

“A very impressive first novel.”

– Carolyn Cushman