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The Hidden Witch: A Graphic Novel

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Aster and his family are adjusting to his unconventional talent for witchery; unlike the other boys in his family, he isn't a shapeshifter. He's taking classes with his grandmother and helping to keep an eye on his great-uncle whose corrupted magic wreaked havoc on the family. Meanwhile, Aster's friend from the non-magical part of town, Charlie, is having problems of her ow Aster and his family are adjusting to his unconventional talent for witchery; unlike the other boys in his family, he isn't a shapeshifter. He's taking classes with his grandmother and helping to keep an eye on his great-uncle whose corrupted magic wreaked havoc on the family. Meanwhile, Aster's friend from the non-magical part of town, Charlie, is having problems of her own -- a curse has tried to attach itself to her. She runs to Aster and escapes it, but now the friends must find the source of the curse before more people -- normal and magical alike -- get hurt.


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Aster and his family are adjusting to his unconventional talent for witchery; unlike the other boys in his family, he isn't a shapeshifter. He's taking classes with his grandmother and helping to keep an eye on his great-uncle whose corrupted magic wreaked havoc on the family. Meanwhile, Aster's friend from the non-magical part of town, Charlie, is having problems of her ow Aster and his family are adjusting to his unconventional talent for witchery; unlike the other boys in his family, he isn't a shapeshifter. He's taking classes with his grandmother and helping to keep an eye on his great-uncle whose corrupted magic wreaked havoc on the family. Meanwhile, Aster's friend from the non-magical part of town, Charlie, is having problems of her own -- a curse has tried to attach itself to her. She runs to Aster and escapes it, but now the friends must find the source of the curse before more people -- normal and magical alike -- get hurt.

30 review for The Hidden Witch: A Graphic Novel

  1. 5 out of 5

    Dave Schaafsma

    A solid and perhaps even better entry into the series about Aster, a boy who doesn't want to do what boys are raised to do, which is become shape-shifters. He wants to be a witch, which (!) requires some adjustment by his family and friends and society in general. His friend is Charlie, a girl who is neither a witch nor a shape-shifter, but is what J.K. Rowling would call a muggle (i.e., us). Charlie has a new friend, Ariel, a foster child, that seems to coincide with her being bothered by what A solid and perhaps even better entry into the series about Aster, a boy who doesn't want to do what boys are raised to do, which is become shape-shifters. He wants to be a witch, which (!) requires some adjustment by his family and friends and society in general. His friend is Charlie, a girl who is neither a witch nor a shape-shifter, but is what J.K. Rowling would call a muggle (i.e., us). Charlie has a new friend, Ariel, a foster child, that seems to coincide with her being bothered by what Aster names as a Fetch, a spirit that would seem to resemble a Dementor (but you can see my frame of reference may be limited here, not being a total fantasy geek here). Making a commitment to friending Ariel proves difficult, and takes up the bulk of the volume, though we also another friend doesn't want to be a shape-shifter. He wants to go to a human school with Charlie and study math and science. A dramatic event happens involving Charlie's once possessed grandfather, but overall good things happen, kids are becoming who they wanna be, friendships are forming. 3.5 stars, rounded up because actual middle grade readers in my house urge me to round up.

  2. 4 out of 5

    Calista

    I have now finished up this series. I beg Molly Ostertag to write more of these. There doesn't seem to be enough story. We need more of them. Aster has to protect his friend Charlie from a fetch, an evil spirit. They find the trouble witch who is sending out this creature not knowing the full consequences of her actions. It's up to Aster to save the day with help from his friends. He is also needing to help his grandmother save Aster's uncle, Mikasi, an evil witch taken over by his fetch. I would I have now finished up this series. I beg Molly Ostertag to write more of these. There doesn't seem to be enough story. We need more of them. Aster has to protect his friend Charlie from a fetch, an evil spirit. They find the trouble witch who is sending out this creature not knowing the full consequences of her actions. It's up to Aster to save the day with help from his friends. He is also needing to help his grandmother save Aster's uncle, Mikasi, an evil witch taken over by his fetch. I would love to own this series. It's a lot of fun to read and I enjoy the story. It's a great book for young readers. It's got magic and friends and all the good stuff in storytelling. Molly does a wonderful job with this. As I said, she needs to keep going with this story. We need more.

  3. 4 out of 5

    Eilonwy

    Life has settled down for the kids from The Witch Boy: Aster is happily taking spell-casting classes with his sister and cousins, and Charlie starts off eighth grade ready to play basketball on her healed leg, and use her charm to make friends with the new girl at school, Ariel. But then a shadow attacks Charlie, leaving an injury only magic can remove. Now Aster and Charlie have another mystery to solve: where did that shadow come from, and why would it want to hurt Charlie? This story was Life has settled down for the kids from The Witch Boy: Aster is happily taking spell-casting classes with his sister and cousins, and Charlie starts off eighth grade ready to play basketball on her healed leg, and use her charm to make friends with the new girl at school, Ariel. But then a shadow attacks Charlie, leaving an injury only magic can remove. Now Aster and Charlie have another mystery to solve: where did that shadow come from, and why would it want to hurt Charlie? This story was great! I liked it even better than the first book, although that was partly because I went into it already knowing who everyone is and how the world works; the familiarity let me enjoy the plot without any distractions. And what a story. I really felt for Ariel and her difficulties, and I got so absorbed in what was happening that I came the closest I ever have to missing getting off at my work train station; I had no idea so much time had passed while I was reading! The kids in these books are very well characterized. They’re true to their ages, and their motivations are believable (a combination of wanting to do what’s right, and unavoidable childhood self-absorption and self-interest). Ariel is especially good -- her mistrustfulness and cynicism are hard-earned and true to life, as is the little sliver of hope for something better that keeps her going. I also really love the artwork. I hate that so much of my enjoyment of a graphic novel depends on whether I enjoy looking at the pages, but it does. The way these kids are drawn makes me love them as much as knowing what they’re thinking and experiencing does. Their facial expressions are great, their body language expressive. Definitely recommended if you like middle-grade graphic novels, and I’m still recommending it even if you don’t. :-)

  4. 4 out of 5

    Sara the Librarian

    Is there anything more marvelous when the second book in a series delivers on all the promise of the first? If you read my reviews you'll know I live in almost perpetual fear of what I call second novel syndrome. You read a terrific first book in a trilogy or new series and then BOOM everything goes to hell in a handbasket in book two. The fun, quirky sidekick with one or two clever bon mots in book one is now front and center spouting wisecracks every two minutes till you want to puke. The magi Is there anything more marvelous when the second book in a series delivers on all the promise of the first? If you read my reviews you'll know I live in almost perpetual fear of what I call second novel syndrome. You read a terrific first book in a trilogy or new series and then BOOM everything goes to hell in a handbasket in book two. The fun, quirky sidekick with one or two clever bon mots in book one is now front and center spouting wisecracks every two minutes till you want to puke. The magic/sci fi badassery/ghostly hijinks are ten times as elaborate and a billion times as bright and also substituting for anything resembling a plot. Instead of one bad guy now there's ten! That hero you loved so much? Oh well now he's a total dickhead because of some brand new backstory you knew nothing about. Blessedly Ms. Molly Ostertag clearly took her vaccinations against second novel syndrome because she delivers nothing but delights in the second in her "Witch Boy" series. We begin some time after the events in the first book with young Aster, the first (acknowledged) male witch in his families history, frustrated in his magic lessons. Though accepting on the surface his family still seems reluctant to actually train him. Everyone is also still dealing with the fallout from the attacks of his great uncle (a male witch like Aster who was ostracized by the family as a boy and subsequently became an evil shape shifter trapped in his beast form) that occurred in book one. Meanwhile Aster's human friend Charlie has started school again after a summer apart from her friends. She's feeling out of sync with almost everyone until she meets the new girl, Ariel who moves to the beat of her own drum just like Charlie. The trouble starts when a mysterious dark spirit being controlled by an unknown witch begins attacking Charlie and people around her. Now Aster and Charlie are going to have to confront their fears about moving forward and test their friendships to find out who the dark witch is and whether they can be saved or must instead be stopped forever. Everything about this series just works beautifully. Charlie and Aster continue to be wonderful compliments to each other. Charlie is wise beyond her years and stunningly confidant and I love it. She never, ever doubts herself and she trusts her own judgement. If Charlie likes you she will move heaven and earth to help you. But she's a realist too and she still gets scared and confused about what the right thing to do is. That's where Aster is such a great balance for her. He's the magic and fancifulness to her practical problem solver. The total lack of a romantic angle also couldn't be more important. Their friendship is so solid and so routed in mutual respect and admiration you never question whether they have feelings for each other. I also just love this world. Despite its fanciful setting there's something very grounded about Aster's family and their lives. I love the sense of ancient tradition that permeates everything and how that makes change so difficult. There's a gravity to Aster's family and their history. But as with Aster and Charlie is wonderfully balanced by Charlie's world where things move at a much faster pace and more easily. Of course I'd be remiss to just leave out how well Ostertag incorporates social issues into her narrative because its so often done but so often done badly. What she does so brilliantly is simply set her stage and then move the story right along. She takes traditional fantasy tropes and quietly turns them on their head without saying a word. Its our heroine who is logic and reason and our hero who's free wheeling and spell casting. Sure the idea of magic versus shape shifting as a metaphor to the myriad identity issues real life teens face is obvious but the issues that Aster and his family deal with feel like their own thing. You don't read this and immediately go "oh "magic" just means "gay" in this world." There's other little touches too that just feel normal and right. Charlie has two dads, the waitress who serves the kids in a diner scene is wearing a hijab, tiny bits of character and seemingly unimportant moments that become important because they're so normal. I love how Ostertag is expanding her universe slowly so you have time to take everything in. Her artwork continues to be out of sight with hints of old school superhero styles and just a touch of fairy tale mystique. She loves bright, rich colors (Aster's world being more brown and red while Charlie's leans more toward blues and blacks) and there's a wonderful wild energy to her scenes no matter what is happening. Even her tableau's give off this sense of strong, pulsing life. The Witch Boy books explore the traditional themes of friendship and growing up that YA books have been telling for years but Ostertag's voice is wonderfully fresh and fun. I love that she celebrates the strength and spirit of young adulthood even while she highlights the insecurity and fear that comes with it. Too often we tend to zero in on the dark stuff and the bad feelings and the pain of being a teen. Ostertag provides a beautiful, funny, and exciting reminder that its a time of wonder and magic as well. Highly, highly recommended.

  5. 5 out of 5

    Prabhjot Kaur

    The Hidden Witch starts right after The Witch Boy. Aster is now attending classes for the witchcraft but he is lagging behind and he seeks help from his grandmother. His grandmother in turn seeks Aster's help to link minds with the captured dragon monster. That dragon monster happens to be Aster's grandmother's twin brother, Mikasi whose magic was corrupted long ago. Meanwhile, a new girl, Ariel starts at Charlie's school and Charlie welcomes her but when Charlie doesn't spend enough time with A The Hidden Witch starts right after The Witch Boy. Aster is now attending classes for the witchcraft but he is lagging behind and he seeks help from his grandmother. His grandmother in turn seeks Aster's help to link minds with the captured dragon monster. That dragon monster happens to be Aster's grandmother's twin brother, Mikasi whose magic was corrupted long ago. Meanwhile, a new girl, Ariel starts at Charlie's school and Charlie welcomes her but when Charlie doesn't spend enough time with Ariel she sends a shadow to scare Charlie. Charlie ends up at Aster's house and Aster and his grandmother help Charlie. They end up realizing that Ariel is a witch and the shadow belongs to Ariel and it will end up corrupting Ariel just like it had corrupted Mikasi. Mikasi ends up helping the young witch but sacrifices his life in the process. Ariel starts witch classes with Aster and his family and Aster's shapeshifter cousin ends up going to the local school with Charlie. This was another delightful read. I love Aster and his friendship with Charlie. I also liked Sedge in this. Ariel was okay too but certainly not my favorite. All the illustrations are beautiful and this was a really good follow up to the first book. I am so glad that I found this series. 5 stars

  6. 5 out of 5

    Rod Brown

    While falling a little short of the first book, this is a pretty strong follow-up that establishes an appealing Scooby gang for ongoing adventures, which I will gladly read.

  7. 5 out of 5

    laurel [the suspected bibliophile]

    I wasn't as bowled over by this one as I was by the first one, but that's because it feels like this plot was less original. As soon as you see Ariel, you kinda know what's going to happen. But that's okay. It's enjoyable, and the illustrations are a gorgeous riot of color and emotion. I love the quiet yet overt LGBTQIA+ representation, along with diverse POC, and the idea that people can change for the better. That no one is irredeemable, even if they did horrible things in the past. I wasn't as bowled over by this one as I was by the first one, but that's because it feels like this plot was less original. As soon as you see Ariel, you kinda know what's going to happen. But that's okay. It's enjoyable, and the illustrations are a gorgeous riot of color and emotion. I love the quiet yet overt LGBTQIA+ representation, along with diverse POC, and the idea that people can change for the better. That no one is irredeemable, even if they did horrible things in the past.

  8. 5 out of 5

    Rose

    A vibrant and adorable graphic novel about children dealing with life, Ostertag amazingly couches topics like gender non-conformity, depression, and mental-illness with a fantastical shroud, making it beautifully accessible to children who may need diverse role models like the children in this book. As with the Witch Boy, it makes me wish that something like this had been on the shelves when I was young.

  9. 5 out of 5

    Loz

    Real cute. Great story, great messages, adventurous and exciting. Art is cute and expressive. Colors are warm and enveloping.

  10. 4 out of 5

    Hunter

    This installment in the Witch Boy series was adorable. The character development was great, especially because most of the characters are children, they're growing into great young adults. When kids go through things, kind or otherwise, it shapes who they are, and I feel as if Molly Ostertag did a great job at relaying that in the characters. I enjoyed Ariel, the new character, and her character arc. I can't wait to see what happens with her in the future. Overall, this was amazing. If you enjoy This installment in the Witch Boy series was adorable. The character development was great, especially because most of the characters are children, they're growing into great young adults. When kids go through things, kind or otherwise, it shapes who they are, and I feel as if Molly Ostertag did a great job at relaying that in the characters. I enjoyed Ariel, the new character, and her character arc. I can't wait to see what happens with her in the future. Overall, this was amazing. If you enjoy magic and graphic novels, for sure read this. I would also recommend this to children that aren't that into reading, I think it could show them the power of books and what they can do for the soul. I can't wait for the next installment!

  11. 5 out of 5

    Lata

    4.5 stars. Loneliness and anger make for poor companions, and can be both destructive to others, and self-destructive. New kid Ariel is quickly welcomed by Charlie at the start of the new school year. Ariel’s experiences as a foster child and of being bullied make her slow to trust. Meanwhile Adter is helping his grandmother with a special project. I like the way the kids are learning from their experiences, and widening their circle to include new friends. There’s so much hope and kindness in As 4.5 stars. Loneliness and anger make for poor companions, and can be both destructive to others, and self-destructive. New kid Ariel is quickly welcomed by Charlie at the start of the new school year. Ariel’s experiences as a foster child and of being bullied make her slow to trust. Meanwhile Adter is helping his grandmother with a special project. I like the way the kids are learning from their experiences, and widening their circle to include new friends. There’s so much hope and kindness in Aster and Charlie, in this and the previous story, and I love these young people.

  12. 4 out of 5

    rachel ☾

    #1) The Witch Boy ★★★★★ ➸ Trigger warnings for (view spoiler)[sexism discussed, queermisia implied, foster care discussed, burns, grief depiction, death of a brother & grandfather (op), benevolent suicide (self-sacrifice), and captivity (hide spoiler)] . Blog • Goodreads • Twitter • Instagram #1) The Witch Boy ★★★★★ ➸ Trigger warnings for (view spoiler)[sexism discussed, queermisia implied, foster care discussed, burns, grief depiction, death of a brother & grandfather (op), benevolent suicide (self-sacrifice), and captivity (hide spoiler)] . Blog • Goodreads • Twitter • Instagram

  13. 5 out of 5

    Soren_P_Jr.

    I wish this book was longer because it is so so so good! This book has a good theme of not judging people by their outward appearance because they may have more going on in your life. This book is for everyone. Older kids can appreciate the storyline, and younger kids can appreciate the pictures. I love this series and wish I could read more of it!

  14. 5 out of 5

    Sarina

    CWs: (view spoiler)[ bullying, foster care, low self-esteem, toxic behavior (hide spoiler)] Emotionally, the Witch Boy was a really difficult read for me. Because of that, I almost didn’t read this one! But I’m so glad I did, because this is one of the best redemption stories out there. When Charlie sees the best in Ariel, it gives Ariel hope that maybe she can find some good in herself. The best part of the book is Charlie showing Ariel compassion while still setting some firm boundaries: “ CWs: (view spoiler)[ bullying, foster care, low self-esteem, toxic behavior (hide spoiler)] Emotionally, the Witch Boy was a really difficult read for me. Because of that, I almost didn’t read this one! But I’m so glad I did, because this is one of the best redemption stories out there. When Charlie sees the best in Ariel, it gives Ariel hope that maybe she can find some good in herself. The best part of the book is Charlie showing Ariel compassion while still setting some firm boundaries: “You try to scare people so you won’t get hurt by them, but I can see right through that. I know that you’re funny, and smart, and good… And I know that you get scared. I know that bad things have happened to you, even if I don’t know what they are. But you can’t keep hurting people… and you can’t expect to own me. You get to choose, right now, if we’re gonna keep being friends. If you’re gonna stop fighting and learn how to control your magic.” It’s a big, beautiful message in a deceptively small package.

  15. 5 out of 5

    Janna

    this was lovely :)

  16. 4 out of 5

    Bianca

    Another cute, thoughtful graphic novel that wraps up things from the first installment and nicely lays foundation for volumes to come. Was surprised to see some genuinely freaky, spooky panels in this one! I also really appreciated the range of experiences shown here -- If you've gone through intense stuff, there are different paths to healing and moving on. General care is helpful, support from someone who closely understands your situation is helpful, and then it's also totally okay to want to Another cute, thoughtful graphic novel that wraps up things from the first installment and nicely lays foundation for volumes to come. Was surprised to see some genuinely freaky, spooky panels in this one! I also really appreciated the range of experiences shown here -- If you've gone through intense stuff, there are different paths to healing and moving on. General care is helpful, support from someone who closely understands your situation is helpful, and then it's also totally okay to want to turn a new leaf. If something was scary or upsetting, you don't HAVE to keep enduring just because it's technically possible for you to make it out of that similar thing again - you can choose to move forward and enjoy new things. I dunno if that sentence makes sense, but that was another thing that I really liked here and I don't want to spoil stuff so I will leave it vague and potentially messy! Bottom line is I liked this and there is more great messaging supported by great artwork! On to the arc I have of the third volume!

  17. 4 out of 5

    Aisling Berube

    This is an unbelievably good sequel. It's not often that I can say I potentially loved the sequel more than the original but Molly has created a world that I can't help but get lost in. Her characters are instantly relatable, whether they're meant to be role models or whether they're meant to teach us a lesson. To continue to read about Aster's journey is perhaps the most relatable of all for many of us, to follow a kid who is just trying to find their place in their family when they don't belon This is an unbelievably good sequel. It's not often that I can say I potentially loved the sequel more than the original but Molly has created a world that I can't help but get lost in. Her characters are instantly relatable, whether they're meant to be role models or whether they're meant to teach us a lesson. To continue to read about Aster's journey is perhaps the most relatable of all for many of us, to follow a kid who is just trying to find their place in their family when they don't belong, when they want to follow a path that their family doesn't agree with. Suffice it to say that Molly's writing is incredible and I can't wait to see what she releases next.

  18. 4 out of 5

    Bookishrealm

    This was my second read for #PanelAThon and I enjoyed it! I completely read the books out of order haha, so that could be a reason why I didn't enjoy it as much as I thought I would. I'll be posting a full review on here once it goes live on my blog. This was my second read for #PanelAThon and I enjoyed it! I completely read the books out of order haha, so that could be a reason why I didn't enjoy it as much as I thought I would. I'll be posting a full review on here once it goes live on my blog.

  19. 4 out of 5

    kae (taylor's version) ON HAITUS AS OF FEB 2022

    *4 stars I read the 1st book a long time ago and it's my favorite graphic novel, and they had the second one at the library, so I thought I'd pick it up! *4 stars I read the 1st book a long time ago and it's my favorite graphic novel, and they had the second one at the library, so I thought I'd pick it up!

  20. 5 out of 5

    Mathew

    A much quicker read than The Witch Boy with an author/illustrator who just knows their story so well that it flows off the pages. Whilst Aster has finally won his case to learn witchcraft with the girls in his family, a new girl arrives in town. Her name is Ariel and being a foster child, she has found it difficult settling down anywhere. When she meets Aster's best friend, Charlie, a glimmer of hope appears but what cost comes with trusting someone and what happens to the dark magic within her A much quicker read than The Witch Boy with an author/illustrator who just knows their story so well that it flows off the pages. Whilst Aster has finally won his case to learn witchcraft with the girls in his family, a new girl arrives in town. Her name is Ariel and being a foster child, she has found it difficult settling down anywhere. When she meets Aster's best friend, Charlie, a glimmer of hope appears but what cost comes with trusting someone and what happens to the dark magic within her when she feels betrayed? The pace in this second instalment was great and Ariel, as a character, makes for an interesting mix to the group. Knox Ostertag is working hard to cover a range of issues in this book around identity & the sense of being a social outcast. Lots of readers heading into KS3 will begin to identify with Ariel and those that do can take solace from the fact that she is comforted and cared for by friends who are understanding and patient too. A solid addition to the series.

  21. 4 out of 5

    Sheila

    Aster's character development was amazing!! I love Aster even more. Aster's character development was amazing!! I love Aster even more.

  22. 4 out of 5

    Pickles

    THIS WAS TOO SHORT!!!! I definitely didn't cry, no sir, only dry eyes here In all seriousness, it did feel kind of rushed but I can't even be too mad THIS WAS TOO SHORT!!!! I definitely didn't cry, no sir, only dry eyes here In all seriousness, it did feel kind of rushed but I can't even be too mad

  23. 5 out of 5

    Shabani Kasongo

    This got better... I still hate how they call male magicians witches

  24. 5 out of 5

    aarya

    3.5 stars I liked this one more than the first installment; the Ariel storyline was the best part. Read via library.

  25. 4 out of 5

    elizabeth roberts-zibbel

    WHAT. Just - my heart is a puddle on the floor.

  26. 4 out of 5

    Maia

    This is a really nice follow up to the previous book. The story is less focused on Aster and spreads out into a group of teens, some magic, some not, all trying to figure out which direction they want to go in life. The story takes place over about one week, and in this one the big battle is not against a cursed dragon, but against the bruises and wounds life deals to every misfit teen. The art is clear and effective. I want to use this book as a model for my own next comic, keeping in mind that This is a really nice follow up to the previous book. The story is less focused on Aster and spreads out into a group of teens, some magic, some not, all trying to figure out which direction they want to go in life. The story takes place over about one week, and in this one the big battle is not against a cursed dragon, but against the bruises and wounds life deals to every misfit teen. The art is clear and effective. I want to use this book as a model for my own next comic, keeping in mind that an all ages comic does not have to be complex to be good: sometimes a sweet small story about feelings hits exactly right.

  27. 5 out of 5

    Tib

    Not my favorite out of the two, but still really good. This one deals with a new witch who lives with foster parents. She's been bullied and is now more likely to lash out than let someone get close to her, which is what happens with Charlie and Aster. This series deals with a lot of heavy topics really well and the art is simply beautiful. Definitely worth the read at like eleven at night while I waited for my parents to come back from vacation. Not my favorite out of the two, but still really good. This one deals with a new witch who lives with foster parents. She's been bullied and is now more likely to lash out than let someone get close to her, which is what happens with Charlie and Aster. This series deals with a lot of heavy topics really well and the art is simply beautiful. Definitely worth the read at like eleven at night while I waited for my parents to come back from vacation.

  28. 4 out of 5

    Sara

    You can enjoy this on the level of a magic adventure story, but you can also enjoy it on the level of a metaphor about the toxicity of having to suppress a core aspect of one's identity, as well as the toxicity that comes from self-hatred. Brilliant. You can enjoy this on the level of a magic adventure story, but you can also enjoy it on the level of a metaphor about the toxicity of having to suppress a core aspect of one's identity, as well as the toxicity that comes from self-hatred. Brilliant.

  29. 5 out of 5

    Lizzy // The Bookish Unicorn

    I love this series so much, I can't wait for more! I love this series so much, I can't wait for more!

  30. 4 out of 5

    Kathryn Kania

    I love these books T_T

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