A Not-So-Wicked Witch of the West

Remember the most exciting scene in The Wizard of Oz? The one where Dorothy finally dumps a bucket of water onto the Wicked Witch of The West, and she melts away with a horrifying scream? After reading Wicked, by Gregory Maguire, this scene will never be the same.


At the age of 16, a shy girl with green skin named Elphaba is sent from her little village in Munchkinland to study at Shiz University. At the same time, a popular and well-to-do blonde, Galinda, also arrives at the university. The two girls are polar opposites of each other, and much to everyone’s chagrin they end up as roommates. Initially, Galinda and Elphaba ignore each other; Elphaba focuses on her studies and Galinda focuses on socializing. But slowly they become the most unlikely of friends.

However, nothing can be good for long. One of their closest friends is murdered trying to fight for his civil rights, and both subsequently become involved in the dangerous cause, changing their lives forever. This book follows the two girls as they begin to lead separate lives and try to do the right thing in a world that seems much more concerned with doing wrong. Eventually, they become known as the Good.

With talking animals, witches, princes, and munchkins, Wicked doesn’t seem like a book that you could relate to everyday life. Yet Maguire manages to weave an important thread of reality throughout the book, making it the perfect read for more mature teens who like a book that is hard to forget.

-Jenny, River Teen Advisory Board