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Literature / Jennifer, Hecate, Macbeth, William McKinley, and Me, Elizabeth

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Jennifer, Hecate, Macbeth, William McKinley, and Me, Elizabeth is a 1967 children's novel by E. L. Konigsburg.

Elizabeth is an only child, new in town, and the shortest kid in her class. She's also pretty lonely, until she meets Jennifer. Jennifer is... well, different. She's read Macbeth. She never wears jeans or shorts. She never says "please" or "thank you." And she says she is a witch.

It's not always easy being friends with a witch, but it’s never boring. At first an apprentice and then a journeyman witch, Elizabeth learns to eat raw eggs and how to cast small spells. And she and Jennifer collaborate on cooking up an ointment that will enable them to fly. That's when a marvelous toad, Hilary Ezra, enters their lives. And that's when trouble starts to brew.


  • Death by Newbery Medal: Subverted. The book won the 1968 Newbery Honor, but Hilary Ezra actually does survive.
  • Department of Redundancy Department: Jennifer sometimes, to Elizabeth's annoyance. It makes her feel like Jennifer thinks she's an idiot.
  • Initiation Ceremony: Jennifer makes Elizabeth go through a lot of things to become a witch.
  • Manipulative Bitch: Jennifer makes Elizabeth eat things like raw eggs and raw onions while making her leave hard-boiled eggs and raw carrots for her.
  • Maybe Magic, Maybe Mundane: Elizabeth becomes convinced that their witchcraft is real. She's had several small things happen that look like coincidence, but Jennifer assures her are not; as a journeyman she begins attempting small spells, which seem to work, especially against Cynthia, the class Alpha Bitch. When she and Jennifer fight and separate, she decides to try casting a spell to bring her back. And Jennifer does come back.
  • New Transfer Student: Elizabeth starts the book as the new kid at school, because her family just moved.
  • Pseudo-Romantic Friendship: The book's main focus is on the intense, all-consuming, and at times toxic friendship between Jennifer and Elizabeth. When they have a fight near the end, it's much like a break-up.
  • Team Pet: Hilary Ezra, their toad, who they keep as a familiar.
  • Took a Level in Kindness: At the end of the book, Jennifer starts treating Elizabeth as a real friend, and they both stop pretending to be witches. (Or do they?)
  • Toxic Friend Influence: Jennifer is often this to Elizabeth.