This is a touching coming of age story that just happens to be about witches (and gender roles). Aster knows his true identity as a witch, but his family is uncomfortable with that. The kind of magic Aster wants to learn is secret and reserved only for women in the family. He is under immense pressure to be like the other boys and learn shapeshifting. When a terrible spirit slips into their homes and begins to take the other boys, it is Aster and Aster alone who can help them. Family secrets are unveiled and the family learns to accept Aster for who he is.