cover image Eva Evergreen, Semi-Magical Witch

Eva Evergreen, Semi-Magical Witch

Julie Abe, illus. by Shan Jiang. Little, Brown, $16.99 (400p) ISBN 978-0-316-49388-8

In Rivelle Realm, Apprentice Witch Evalithimus Evergreen, 12, is prepared to embark on the quest that will grant her Novice Witch status, the first phase to following in her Grand Master mother’s footsteps. But Eva’s stores of magic are so meager that she falls asleep after casting the simplest of spells, and if she fails her quest, the Council of Witches and Wizards will strip her of magic altogether. With only a month to prove her worthiness, Eva travels to the littoral town of Auteri, whose domineering mayor allows her to stay under one condition: she must protect the town from “a strange, cursed force of nature” known as the Culling, a near-impossible task even for full-fledged witches. Eva’s only hope is to combine her affinity for repair magic with mundane solutions, no matter how unorthodox a witch it makes her. In this thoroughly charming debut, Abe centers Eva’s ingenuity, resilience, and adaptability, as well as the strength of friendship. Though the subtle but unmistakable Japanese influence in this bildungsroman invites comparisons to Miyazaki, Abe’s combination of magic and modern technology in an original world ensures this series starter has a place all its own. Ages 8–12. [em]Agent: Sarah Landis, Sterling Lord Literistic. (Aug.) [/em]