Reading material

English sample
English synopsis
Finnish manuscript

Original title: Kirjanoita

Published: 2017

Publisher: WSOY

Class/genre: Young Adults

Bookwitch is a spellbinding Young Adult story set in a world where books are banned and witches rule in the realm of Helby, a parallel world to Helsinki as we know it. When seventeen-year-old Aura becomes an assistant at the House of Lost Dreams, little does she know she is about to discover a secret chamber full of books, and about her own destiny as a powerful witch who must face dark forces to save all that she loves. A gripping story about self-realization, betrayal and good triumphing evil.

“A manifesto for reading.” – Kirkko ja kaupunki magazine, Finland

Bookwitch feels like a true literary celebration. […] Leinonen nicely weaves the literary classics into the story, playing with references to familiar stories and books.” – Luetaanko tämä blog, Finland

”There are nice pinches of romance and suspense, and a surprising twist in the end, as I thought there would be. The story is thought out and represented to the reader well, which guarantees a pleasant read.” Dysphoria blog, Finland 

“Finnish YA authors are extremely skilled in creating deliciously unique worlds.
In Bookwitch, the titillation is based on the topsy-turvy familiarity: on Helby that reminds one of Helsinki, but where the streets have right names but they run in wrong places, where behind the city’s borders an uninhabitable Wasteland begins, and where electricity has literally destroyed all paper.
As a counterweight to the topsy-turvy world Leinonen wraps up the reader in YA fantasy literature’s familiar themes. There’s a protagonist whose uniqueness is revealed, there are secrets to uncover, a few mishaps with magic and a slowly starting crush.
Even with its fast-paced twists and turns, it’s a wonderfully relaxing comfort read.”
Helsingin Sanomat newspaper, Finland

“I’m giving this book 5 out of 5 stars. The book is so good that you feel like reading it at one go. It’s easy to identify with the story’s world, and being a book-soul or a bookwitch are certainly every bookworm’s biggest dreams. After finishing the book, one could not wait for the sequel and the closure of the adventure, the ending is too exciting.”
Jiipeenetti website, Finland  

“For a booklover Bookwitch is a delicious read.”
Kirjavinkit website, Finland

Bookwitch is an easily readable, entertaining work, whose intertextuality will delight any ferocious reader.”
The YA Diaries blog, Finland

Anne Leinonen

Anne Leinonen (b.1973) is a multiple-award winning, key author, tutor and editor of Finnish science fiction and fantasy. Her most recent publication is the first volume of a YA urban fantasy duology, Bookwitch (Kirjanoita), which will be followed by Witchbook (Noitakirja) in 2018. 

Leinonen’s short stories have been published in magazines and anthologies, earning her several Atorox awards (voted for by fans). Her science fiction novels, Viivamaalari and Ilottomien ihmisten kylä were published to positive reviews, as well as a trilogy, Routasisarukset, written in collaboration with Eija Lappalainen, In addition to writing YA and adult fiction, she has now started to work on audio and television dramas.

Anne Leinonen moves fluidly between science fiction and fantasy. Her texts deal with themes of otherness and unfamiliarity, as well as conflicts between the community and the individual. Nature plays an important part in her work, as a vehicle for the story, the stage of action and on a symbolic level. Leinonen’s prose is taut, with no superficial descriptions. Instead, she takes her readers right in to the middle of events and the lives of her characters. Her use of language shows talent and uniqueness, favouring experimentation with different styles and often works on several pieces at the same time. She is especially renowned for her collaborations with other writers.


Anne Leinonen


2018, Young Adults

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