HarperTeen. Mar. 2023. 352p. Tr $19.99. ISBN 9780063214590.
Gr 8 Up–An enchanting fantasy filled with lovely imagery and a sweet romance. All her life, Clara’s magic has been out of control. When her magic accidentally harms her father, she turns to her ex-friend Xavier for help. Clara is not sure why Xavier stopped talking to her all those years ago, but it seems that he is the only one willing to help her control her magic, for a price. Cottage core vibes abound in this book, with cozy cottages filled with dried herbs, simple healing potions, and benevolent magic. However, darkness is hinted at with Clara’s magic, which is insidious and negative, and characters struggling with mental illness. It is an issue that Clara’s magic has a literal mind of its own and it isn’t really explored or even deemed unusual by the other characters. Another issue is that struggles with mental illness seem to be used as a plot point and have no real substance. Main characters are white, although there is some diversity in the secondary characters. There is LGBTQIA+ representation with trans and nonbinary characters as well as multiple same-sex couples.
VERDICT Perfect for collections serving readers who love benevolent magic.

Be the first reader to comment.

Comment Policy:
  • Be respectful, and do not attack the author, people mentioned in the article, or other commenters. Take on the idea, not the messenger.
  • Don't use obscene, profane, or vulgar language.
  • Stay on point. Comments that stray from the topic at hand may be deleted.
  • Comments may be republished in print, online, or other forms of media.
  • If you see something objectionable, please let us know. Once a comment has been flagged, a staff member will investigate.



We are currently offering this content for free. Sign up now to activate your personal profile, where you can save articles for future viewing