The Magical Imperfect

Chris Baron. Macmillan/Feiwel and Friends, $16.99 (320p) ISBN 978-1-250-76782-0
It’s autumn 1989 in the San Francisco Bay Area, the Giants have a chance at the World Series, and small earthquakes are occurring with increasing frequency. After his mother is admitted to a hospital (“The roads/ her thoughts take/ are too windy”), 12-year-old Etan, a budding artist, largely stops speaking. Since his father works construction all day, Etan spends afternoons with his Jewish grandfather, who immigrated from Prague in 1940; Etan watches him repair jewelry, listens to his musings on faith and the old days, and runs errands for the neighbors. One errand leads him to the home of Malia Agbayani, a solitary Filipina girl known cruelly among schoolchildren as “the creature” due to her acute eczema. Etan and Malia quickly bond; he admires her singing, she his artwork, and as their friendship deepens, they find solace and support—and, in the nearby forest, seek a magical cure for Malia’s skin. Telling Etan’s story in first-person verse, Baron (All of Me) creates a close-knit community of adults and authentic intergenerational relationships, but it is Etan’s honest and lovable voice, and its growing strength, that carries this tender novel. An extensive author’s note discusses the earthquake of October 1989 and the history of Angel Island. Ages 9–12. Agent: Rena Rossner, Deborah Harris Literary. (June)
Reviewed on : 05/06/2021
Release date: 06/15/2021
Genre: Children's
Paperback - 336 pages - 978-1-250-83307-5
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