River Magic

Ellen Booraem. Dial, $16.99 (256p) ISBN 978-0-525-42804-6
Donna Landon grew up riverside near “a teeny little Maine town” with her white carpenter mother, older sister Janice, and beloved aunt Annabelle. But nine months after Annabelle drowns in a kayaking accident, Donna begins hearing Annabelle’s voice in her head—or someone who sounds a lot like her (“The thing to do with anger is blow it out your nose and hope it hits somebody”). It’s a comfort to the girl, whose mother is working three jobs to offset debt, and whose sister, now 16, has “nothing good to say” about Donna. Worse, Donna’s best friend, Rachel, also white, has abandoned her for basketball teammates. Afraid she’ll be sent to live with wealthier “Cousin Betty, plus her Evil Boy Twins,” Donna jumps at the chance to clean peculiar new neighbor Vilma Bliksem’s house, especially when Vilma pays in gold. But when Vilma reveals she’s a thunder mage who’s holding a grudge, Donna must step up to set things right. A dense emotional core, resonant voice, and themes of grief, shifting friendships, and family enliven Booraem’s (Texting the Underworld) contemporary fantasy, reminding readers that “hope is everywhere.” Ages 10–up. Agent: Kate Schafer Testerman, KT Literary. (Apr.)
Reviewed on : 03/17/2021
Release date: 04/27/2021
Genre: Children's
Book - 978-0-698-18312-4
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