Half Bad by Sally GreenHalf Bad by Sally Green

Half Bad

bySally Green

Paperback | January 13, 2015

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“An enthralling fantasy in the Harry Potter tradition.”— Time magazine

“A bewitching new thriller.” — The Wall Street Journal

In modern-day England, witches live alongside humans: White witches, who are good; Black witches, who are evil; and sixteen-year-old Nathan, who is both. Nathan’s father is the world’s most powerful and cruel Black witch, and his mother is dead. He is hunted from all sides. Trapped in a cage, beaten and handcuffed, Nathan must escape before his seventeenth birthday, at which point he will receive three gifts from his father and come into his own as a witch—or else he will die. But how can Nathan find his father when his every action is tracked, when there is no one safe to trust—not even family, not even the girl he loves?

In the tradition of Patrick Ness and Markus Zusak, Half Bad is a gripping tale of alienation and the indomitable will to survive, a story that will grab hold of you and not let go until the very last page.

Sally Green lives in north-west England. She has had various jobs and even a profession but in 2010 she discovered a love of writing and now just can’t stop. She used to keep chickens, makes decent jam, doesn't mind ironing, loves to walk in Wales even when it's raining, and will probably never jog again. She really ought to drink less...
Title:Half BadFormat:PaperbackDimensions:432 pages, 8.25 × 5.62 × 0.87 inPublished:January 13, 2015Publisher:Penguin Young Readers GroupLanguage:English

The following ISBNs are associated with this title:

ISBN - 10:0147511461

ISBN - 13:9780147511461


Rated 4 out of 5 by from Wasn't half bad I had started reading this because the intro of the book seemed pretty interesting. Now I need the next book, pronto. I feel like this first book is the beginning of a great tale, so I hope the rest of the series deliver.
Date published: 2018-06-01
Rated 2 out of 5 by from Half Bad I found the initial premise interesting but I didn't like the writing or the characters all that much.
Date published: 2018-04-29
Rated 4 out of 5 by from Great book I really enjoyed this. The main character isn't much of a talker but I found him extremely intriguing and fascinating. I'd recommend this to anyone who loves fantasy.
Date published: 2018-04-07
Rated 5 out of 5 by from Amazing <3 This book was amazing! Just about to start the second one and about to order the third one!
Date published: 2018-01-21
Rated 5 out of 5 by from awesome! I love the trilogy! I hope they make a movie out of it!
Date published: 2017-12-28
Rated 4 out of 5 by from Half Bad I quite enjoyed this story. While not as immersive as Harry Potter, the story moved along at a quick pace.
Date published: 2017-12-08
Rated 5 out of 5 by from Blown away! Great use of second person and well developed for a book even without suspension of disbelief! Definitely a new favourite!
Date published: 2017-11-18
Rated 4 out of 5 by from overall great book! it could do away with the f/m relationship though, the love interest is kind of annoying, and i thought they didn't fit well together. not sure if that's the author's intention, but i would keep reading.
Date published: 2017-10-15
Rated 3 out of 5 by from Started out good but fell flat This book started out great but fell a little flat for me. While the concept of white witches and black witches seemingly intended to reflect racial tensions in our own world, the characters were not as compelling as I would have liked them to be and the romantic leads lacked chemistry.
Date published: 2017-10-05
Rated 5 out of 5 by from Surprised Me I was surprised by how much I liked this book! I got the ebook a few years ago and only got around to reading it very recently. Blew through it and went out to get the second one the next day. I want a physical copy but the hardcover is sold out so I'll have to buy it elsewhere. A great modern semi-urban fantasy!
Date published: 2017-09-22
Rated 5 out of 5 by from I absolutely loved this book I thought this book was very well written and loved the play on subtext. It was an easy read that still left an deep impact on me.
Date published: 2017-05-09
Rated 4 out of 5 by from wonderful This was a really great book, sets up the world really well
Date published: 2017-04-21
Rated 3 out of 5 by from It was ok World Building: ok Characters: ok Romance: none Pace: ok Feels: not really Able to put down: at parts Worth the read: not really...
Date published: 2017-04-15
Rated 3 out of 5 by from Worth reading! Nathan's life isn't a happy one. He's been through a lot. I felt like at times it was missing something to keep me going but I love the idea of the story. I'm currently reading the second one and it's going so much better! Read the second book until you judge the series :)
Date published: 2017-04-07
Rated 4 out of 5 by from WOW I literally didn't expect to feel the nostalgia I did when reading Harry Potter. It is superb! However, the settings were not as easily imaginable for some reason..
Date published: 2017-03-17
Rated 4 out of 5 by from new the idea and concept is really new and interesting. i feel like it could have been better because the way sally green sets it up, there is so much potential but she hasn't really gone for it yet.
Date published: 2017-03-12
Rated 2 out of 5 by from More than half bad... I think the concept of the book has a lot of potential, but it was poorly executed. Sounds like a 14 year old wrote it, in first person, in present tense. These things added up to a book that was annoying to read. I did finish it, but I will not be purchasing the next in the series.
Date published: 2017-03-09
Rated 5 out of 5 by from Underrated series As a huge fan of Harry Potter series growing up, I was extremely hesitant to jump into a series about witches, especially after seeing such extreme reviews (people either seemed to give it one star or five stars). This series completely surprised me, in the best way possible! I definitely connected with the protagonist, Nathan, and found the story super interesting. I would definitely recommend picking this up!
Date published: 2017-02-13
Rated 1 out of 5 by from Couldn't finish it Honestly, this was hyped all over the internet and the cover was beautiful but the storyline was boring, there was the concept of 'instant love' which wasn't played well at all.
Date published: 2017-02-11
Rated 1 out of 5 by from Not half bad, ALL bad... Yikes. There is one narrative choice I hate in books more than others, and it’s when stories are narrated by emotionally and psychologically damaged kids. You see it in The Perks of Being a Wallflower and to a certain extent, Room (I know, I’m sorry- I said it.) It makes me incredibly uncomfortable when the writing style is choppy and naïve to reflect that mindset. Half Bad in particular reads like a story narrated by a six year old, instead of a teenager. Being that this novel is a debut, it’s very hard to tell whether this particular style is intentional or if Sally Green’s a legitimately terrible writer. Either way, there’s no emotional depth as a result. Green also happened to speak at YALC and the fact that she had to preface everything she said about her writing process with an apology and “I must be doing it wrong” says an awful lot. Do not read this book. It’s a tutorial on how not to write.
Date published: 2017-02-02
Rated 4 out of 5 by from Best book out of the series, by a long shot. 4 out of 5 stars. I finished this novel in record time. Normally, it takes me a bit of a while to finish a book, but I read this in two days. I've never read a proper sized novel in two days. I wasn't expecting much when I got Half Bad. I had heard mixed reviews, which never seem to bother me much, because I'm weird and into weird books, very rarely not so weird books. But Half Bad is special. It made me feel great reading it, I laughed at parts (Gabriel is my favourite, but I'm fond of Bob as well), I could relate to parts of quite a few characters, including Nathan; it's just an easy, wonderful read, and I'm thankful that Sally Green created this. I'm honestly just sitting here, in a kind of shock, because I wasn't expecting the world that I have found in Half Bad. The only reason why it doesn't have a 5 star review is because it isn't really anything too special, in writing style or even story, but it gets a high score because I really did love this book and I'm happy that I love it. A lot of it does feel rushed (getting to know characters and their relationships), but it's forgivable because Nathan is going through the WORST time anyone has gone through, ever, in that world. If I had no control over my life and was ridiculously paranoid and my body was being frustrating and god knows what else, I'd feel a bit rushed, too.
Date published: 2017-01-31
Rated 5 out of 5 by from Great This is a pretty dark series but it's very good. It was intriguing and there's a lot of character development. Can't wait to keep reading the next few books
Date published: 2017-01-30
Rated 5 out of 5 by from Great! I read this a while ago and it was awesome! I idea of the book is amazing
Date published: 2017-01-29
Rated 2 out of 5 by from Sadly this book was "Half Bad" I''ve been wanting to read this for a very long time. So I was so excited to start it. Once I started reading it was boring and nothing really happened. The middle is where things got interesting, but the ending and intro of new characters in the second half just ruined it.
Date published: 2017-01-22
Rated 4 out of 5 by from Surprised I don't usually read YA, especially when it's revolving around supernatural/dystopian themes. But I received this book as a gift and I was pleasantly surprised. Most chapters had cliff hangers and I read through it fairly quickly. I can't say that I'll be continuing the series but I really liked hte writing and it was genuinely suspenseful and mysterious. #plumreview
Date published: 2017-01-14
Rated 3 out of 5 by from Pretty good Great read but it ended to quick with way to many lose ends
Date published: 2016-12-03
Rated 2 out of 5 by from Boring characters I picked up this book because of a recommendation. There is a severe lack of good queer literature in this world, and I expected this to be one of the good ones. The world Green constructs is intriguing--gritty and dark--if a bit essentialist. The characters, on the other hand, are simple and single faceted. The protagonist is meh and inspires no feeling whatsoever, except when he narrates in second person, which was interesting. When Green switched back to first person it felt contrived. Annalise is grating. Gabriel is the only half decent character, but we don't see him enough to get attached. I only finished the book because of the plot. All in all, this book does not feel complete. It is part of a trilogy, but because the first installment was uninteresting, I will not be picking up the next book
Date published: 2016-12-01
Rated 4 out of 5 by from Not my normal read I'm not into fantasy but this was an excellent book
Date published: 2016-11-19
Rated 3 out of 5 by from Good Read They say in the description that it is in the Harry Potter tradition..... I don't think this is accurate. Its much more grittier and less on the happy magical side. It intrigued me enough to purchase the second in the series.
Date published: 2016-11-14
Rated 5 out of 5 by from Addicting I found this book on a $5 sale table and decided to take the plunge on a book I knew nothing about. If you love supernatural fiction, you should give this a try. I found it to be a refreshing new fantasy world (I was getting tired of cliche vampire stories), and I finished it the day I bought it.
Date published: 2016-11-09
Rated 4 out of 5 by from Nice! Great book! I loved the way it was written, but it wasn't really what I was expecting. At first I didn't know if I was going to like it and groaned after reading the first paragraph. After reading the next few pages all was well though, so if you find yourself with the same problem don't give up. It pulls you in and is one of the books that keep you wondering how its going to play out in the end. I also found myself getting attached to the main character pretty quickly, and that's always a plus for me. Overall a good story and a nice ending to the first book.
Date published: 2016-11-03
Rated 4 out of 5 by from Interesting.... I really loved this book! It got me into fantasy novels and I really don't regret reading it! Please give it a chance! :D Looking forward to the next book! P.S. If you're buying the book, buy the paperback, its so much cooler!
Date published: 2015-11-09
Rated 3 out of 5 by from Gabriel is Everything This book started off kind of "meh" to me since I didn't like the second person parts, but once Nathan re-identified with himself, it was a whirlwind of adventure. However, it felt underwhelming. Once certain pieces were mentioned in the book multiple times (and I mean multiple times), it was obvious they were actually going to happen. I would have liked more travelogue (and I hate those) to find out how Nathan got to various points in his journey after Trev. I also need more Arran and more Gabriel. Definitely more Gabriel. Gabriel was the best part of this novel and he was in like the last 10% of it. I think the world building was good though, and the mythology made sense, which is always a good sign. But I just wasn't overly excited or anticipating anything. There was no big conflict and the ending felt extremely underwhelming. I know there is more and that this was the beginning of a trilogy, but it felt like nothing actually happened. Nathan grew up and turned 17. That's it. The book didn't really give much in terms of laying groundwork for a conflict; there was obviously some tension between parties, but it doesn't seem like enough to have two more novels based on. Hopefully the second book gives a bit more, especially in the magic department since there was like zero magic for a book about witches. Overall: 3/5 stars specifically for Gabriel. He is my everything.
Date published: 2015-08-16
Rated 4 out of 5 by from Very enjoyable! Bought this around christmas and was excited to jump in. i finished it and was very pleased with where the story was leading! I'm only 100 pages or so into Half wild and can't wait for the outcome! I'm 16 and love the witchy/vampire/werewolf type books! If you do too, than pick this up it's really good!
Date published: 2015-06-18
Rated 4 out of 5 by from Good read I enjoyed this book and would recommend tit o those who like witch/vampire based books.
Date published: 2015-04-25
Rated 3 out of 5 by from More Bad Than Good ReaI Rating: 2.5 stars. I did not enjoy this book very much. I can understand why others may have liked it, but I found it too slow, and I am honestly very good with slow books usually. It had an interesting plot, but I, personally, could not get into it. It was good and bad for me, but in the end I found it more bad than good.
Date published: 2015-04-18
Rated 4 out of 5 by from Half bad I think the book was a great read. It was captivating, action packed and somewhat romantic. I would recommend it to anyone in the age group of 11-25 years of age. I would also recommended it to people who enjoyed the city of bones series and harry potter. The book was very similar to both of these books. Because of the made up world's and characters. I would say this books more of a teen read. But is a overall great book and I can't wait to read the next book!
Date published: 2015-04-12
Rated 4 out of 5 by from Good, but too character driven for me..Need more action! Nathan is half White Witch and half Black Witch. Half good, half bad. He lives with his two sisters, brother and grandma. Every year he goes to the Council to get assessed. He needs to receive his three Gifts before he turns seventeen or he will die a painful death. The clock is ticking and he doesn't know if his family will be willing to help. Well I really wanted to like this one. It had all the bare bones for an epic adventure and journey and even a wide character arc but it fell flat. First there was a second point of view in the beginning and that always throws me off because whose viewpoint am I really reading from? Then there was the unbelievably slow pacing problem. I get that we were waiting for him to turn seventeen and even though the book starts off when he's just twelve years old, I don't know why it was necessary to go through all of that. I needed the action to start, I needed the big chase that happens when someone is after a character. I didn't get any of that. It was just days where he does the same routine and you get so bored reading about it. I almost wanted something bad to happen to Nathan just so it could be his motivation against the White Witches who aren't as good as they seem. There was also no real explaination as to why these two factions tapered off, only that one side is good and the other violent and murderous. The White Witch faction and their superiority complex made me cringe. And the way they would use torture to get what they want? Are they really good? I didn't think so. Now for the characters.. I pretty much hated one of his sisters, she was just terrible. His brother Arran is sweet and kind and a bright spot whenever he came on to the page. He was pretty much my only favourite of the entire cast. And then there are random secondary characters Nathan meets along the way which were only introduced so he could get help. I almost wanted Nathan to be part of this huge struggle where he is trying to tame his Black Witch side, but hardly any of that happened. I found it interesting that he didn't hate his father and rather admired him. Now Marcus is one character that I'm willing to find out more about. I don't know why I find the villains so much more fascinating. Probably because they're so different than the heroes in the story. And even though Nathan was really into one love interest, I kind of want him with someone else, someone who isn't female. I think that would make it even better. Let's see if that road is met in Half Wild.. *crosses fingers* Don't read this is you're looking for a fast filled page turner because you're not going to get it. It's more about the journey than the destination and I always have trouble with books like these. I need a bit of everything and even though the world of the White versus Black is interesting, I wanted so much more.
Date published: 2015-04-08
Rated 4 out of 5 by from Not Your Typical Witch Book This book. I loved this book so much! I am typically skeptical of witch books, however, half bad proved me wrong in such a great way! The story was intriguing and brilliant! Typical good and evil are blurred at the line. Everyone seemed bad. I highly recommend half bad.
Date published: 2014-12-30
Rated 3 out of 5 by from More than Half Good When this book was going around the office as "the untold years of Severus Snape," it caught my attention. Turns out, it isn't a far-fetched statement. "Half Bad" did indeed feel like it was telling the story of Snape's childhood, but as the story progressed, I found it becoming more like the history of Sirius Black. "Half Bad" is nothing like Harry Potter. The initial reaction was to treat it like an extension of the Potter universe, but Sally Green is wiser than to make it so. As the plot progressed, so did the evolution of "Half Bad" into something more uniquely its own. Yet, I couldn't help but find my interest waver as I read on. The overall narrative and arc is commendable, but the plot details and chain of events seem a little haphazard and too random for my taste. While the conclusion set up the next book nicely, the lead up to it was middling with nothing distinct enough to separate it from other magic/dystopian teen series. That said, "Half Bad" is not quite half bad. There is promise to a greater series, which I have confidence that Green will deliver on. The mystery of Nathan as a character still holds my interest and will be my motivation to read the sequel.
Date published: 2014-11-05
Rated 5 out of 5 by from Born from a Villain Before I bought this in March 2013, and now finally read with the influence of Indigo's World's Biggest Book Club Discussion soon, I was also intrigued to this book by the book trailer that is also on this page below the cover. That is what got me into buying this book. This is the story of Nathan, a half white half black witch. The white witches are good while the blacks are bad. His father, Marcus, is the black witch that has killed many other witches and because of those traits, which mix in Nathan?s genes, it supposedly makes him appear as though he is a villain too. Except his character doesn?t seem that way. But who says to judge the villain for being the bad guy, let alone being born from one? Nathan seems to be a strong character with flaws of a villain that was certainly felt by me while others will argue he is born bad because of part of where he?s come from. As well, since there are witches, there isn?t a whole emphasis on potions and flying broomsticks. This is a new take on witches in our contemporary world which I very much enjoyed. It?s nice to see a different view of how they?re lives are and the world. It almost appears as though it?s a dystopian society with the Council and having to be evaluated every year just because Nathan has half of his genes consisted of not a bad witch, but the most wanted of them all, Marcus. I could also sense that Nathan's looking for his father, which is what I want to see as well, because it didn?t appear to me that Marcus just left Nathan with his Gran. Nathan wonders about his father, dreams about him, and also knows Marcus is thinking of him. As I read, I wondered if he does meet him and that is where I will stop. The ending was sufficient and I can?t wait to see more, especially since the ending gives us a glimpse of what to expect next in the sequel, Half Wild. Violence, torture, gruesome scenes, and especially when this journey began, this fast paced story is what kept me turning the pages as excitement roused me for more and wonder what could happen next. Given that this is also a trilogy, this may seem like an introduction but it has many juicy concoctions that I believe will make the Half Life trilogy into one very good potion of a story.
Date published: 2014-09-18
Rated 3 out of 5 by from Review from Esther's Ever After The story in Half Bad is one bursting with emotion and tension. The writing is thoughtful, and Nathan's character stayed with me long after I finished reading this book. Reasons to Read: 1. A story that simmers (slowly): The main character, Nathan, is absolutely filled with pent up emotions but the plot progression is fairly slow - don't expect action-packed excitement. Despite the external circumstances endangering Nathan, much of the story revolves around his internal struggles. I found that worked very well for the story in Half Bad, but you have to prepare yourself for a slow-moving plot. 2. Harry Potter (without Hogwarts): Let me explain what I mean by this: Half Bad is not at all the same story as Harry Potter. However, it felt to me like it could very well be set in a similar type of world - but not Hogwarts. Think of the United Kingdom where there are social divides between witches, and the magic is subtly woven into the real world. More like the later books in Harry Potter where the Ministry of Magic takes a more prominent role in the story. The way the magic works is interesting as well, because it isn't exactly something that can be learned but more like a skill inherited or gifted to the witch. The story isn't quite told in chronological order though, and I found it jarring at times to jump around in the book's timeline. There were some ways in which it was effective and kept my focus narrowed on certain aspects of the plot. But overall, it felt mostly jumbled to me as a reader. I was most confused by the second person narration used briefly on occasion. Second person narration is so hard for me to connect with as a reader! And it didn't feel like it added anything to the story. I had no problem relating to Nathan's character or his circumstances otherwise and the second person narrative was just confusing. And the use of this technique was so minimal, it seemed out of place. That being said, Half Bad is a remarkably emotive book. Sally Green's storytelling is beautiful, and she touches on a wide range of issues and feelings with it. I felt a complete connection to Nathan and I was fully invested in what happened to him. For that reason alone, I would recommend reading Half Bad along with the benefit of a curious magical world. This story is utterly heartbreaking and the events endured by Nathan are horrific and shocking - which is why his story has stuck with me. ARC received from Penguin Canada for review; no other compensation was received.
Date published: 2014-05-01
Rated 4 out of 5 by from Half bad Very much not half bad... A well written story, edgier than a lot Of the YA fare Looking forward to the next One
Date published: 2014-03-24
Rated 3 out of 5 by from A Dystopian-Fantasy! "Half Bad is a dystopian-fantasy set in England where white and black witches live among the fain. In this debut novel Nathan Byrn lives in a community of White Witches but is an outcast because of the black blood inherent in his mixed heritage. Over the years Nathan quickly learns to adapt to the abuse and ridicule of a society that only tolerates him in the hope that he will one day fulfill a prophecy that could mean the death of his father-a ruthless Black Witch. With only months to go before his seventeenth birthday when he will inherit his magical Gift, Nathan escapes the White Council and the Hunters who pursue him in a desperate attempt to seek out Mercury, a Black Witch who may help him attain his power. The plot is creative and interesting as it looks at the complexity of a society of Witches, neither of which is good; their customs, myths and taboos. The narrative is told from Nathan's perspective from early childhood and into his teens; his interpersonal relationships, the abuse and bullying at school, his love for Annalise, and his continual conflict with the Council. The story tends to be somewhat slow and tedious in places as the theme of the plot, his struggle to survive and escape the authority of the White Witches gains momentum only half way through the book. Most of the story centers on the abuse and gruesome torture of a boy who is segregated in his community, so it tends to be gritty and violent;the only redeeming quality is the loyalty and love of his family. The characters reflect the mood of the society that they live in. None seem to show any compassion or tolerance except Mrs. Ashworth, Arran, and Deborah who genuinely seem to care for Nathan and do what they can to protect him. Nathan the Half Blood Witch is an illiterate non-conformist who has mood shifts and a sarcastic sense of humour. He falls for Annalise, the daughter of an elite White Witch family who I found was a bit of a conundrum. She seems considerate, understanding and loving, wanting to pursue a forbidden relationship with Nathan, but when challenged by her family about her feelings is unwilling to stand up and fight for what she wants. I wasn't smitten by Nathan and Annalise's romance as it seemed unrealistic and contrived, just as I couldn't warm up to any of the characters because their personalities seemed too predictable. I had the feeling that this was just another vampire story,only with a twist. I don't know if I will read any further novels unless the plot and characters are better developed
Date published: 2014-03-20
Rated 5 out of 5 by from Already desperate for the next one! Born into a world where White and Black witches are at odds, young Nathan is torn between the two worlds and the two sides of himself. A dark and compelling story, the furious pace and gloriously depicted cast of characters is enthralling. This riveting fantasy will keep you glued to the page and waiting desperately for the next piece of Nathan’s journey. I know I can’t wait. This book has--dare I say it-- the feeling of being the long lost story of Severus Snape’s youth... *insert loud squeee*
Date published: 2014-01-24

Read from the Book

     Kieran says, “You know what this is, Connor?”     Connor has to think about it, but eventually says, “A hunting knife.”     “Yes. To be exact, it’s a French hunting knife. They make great knives, the French.Look at that blade.’     I squirm and grunt and curse them.     ‘Hold him still, Niall. The blade folds away beautifully into the handle. Great design.The Swiss go for all the fancy gadgets in their knives, but all you need is a goodblade.”     I hear the rip of my T-shirt and feel the cool air on my back. I buck and curse again.     “Hold him still.”     I feel the blade brushing over my back and now I hold still. The knife stops in themiddle of my left shoulder blade. The point goes in.     “I’ll start here. This half is the Black half, I’d say.”     And slowly the blade cuts down my back.

Editorial Reviews

Praise and accolades for Half Bad "Highly entertaining and dangerously addictive."—Time Magazine “Genuinely engaging.”—The New York Times “Gripping.”—US Weekly “Bewitching.”—The Wall Street Journal“Captivating.”— Los Angeles Times "A page-turner."—The Boston Globe"An epic journey."—D.J. MacHale, New York Times bestselling author of Pendragon and Sylo "Brilliant and utterly compelling." —Kate Atkinson, New York Times bestselling author of Life After Life"This will haunt you." —Marie Lu, New York Times bestselling author of Legend"Edgy, arresting and brilliantly written." —Michael Grant, New York Times bestselling author of Gone* "A thrilling tale . . . Unforgettable." —Publishers Weekly, starred review* "Marvelous." —Booklist, starred review* "A unique take on witches." —Library Media Connection, starred reviewA Spring 2014 Kids' Indie Next List pickA 2014 Booklist Top 10 SF, Fantasy, and Horror for YouthA Publishers Weekly Best Young Adult Book of 2014 Holder of two Guinness World Records Optioned for film by FOX 2000 Rights sold in 50 international markets