Magenta McPhee

Catherine Bateson, Author . Holiday House $16.95 (171p) ISBN 978-0-8234-2253-1

With a personality as colorful as her name, Bateson's (Being Bee ) eponymous heroine has a narrative voice that is smart, wry, and down-to-earth. Splitting her time between the homes of her divorced parents, 12-year-old Magenta leaps in to help them sort out their lives. Her mother is trying to piece together the particulars of her upcoming wedding, a process that can strain Magenta's patience. A higher priority is bolstering the spirits of her father, who has lost his job, is on an antitechnology kick, and spends his days holed up in the library. She and her best friend—an aspiring witch nearly as spunky as Magenta—create an online dating profile for him, which leads to some amusing but also affecting scenes. Magenta uses her real life, including her crush on an older boy, as fodder for a romantic medieval fantasy she is writing (“I wasn't sure what a parapet was. I googled it.... Perhaps a garden would have been a better place for them to make out”), and excerpts from it add a fanciful dimension to this real and ultimately reassuring story. Ages 8–12. (Mar.)

Reviewed on: 02/01/2010
Release date: 02/01/2010
Genre: Children's
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