The Other Side of Luck

Ginger Johnson. Bloomsbury, $16.99 (240p) ISBN 978-1-68119-655-8
Johnson’s (The Splintered Light) lyrical novel, set long ago in the fictional city of Antiquitilla, centers two motherless friends with extraordinary senses who were born on the same day. Una, who perceives through scents, is the eldest child of Antiquitilla’s ruler, the Magister Populi. Julien, who understands the world through sound, is the only child of a gifted but poor botanist, Almus—once chief gardener to Una’s late mother. Una’s mother lived until the girl was six, dying in childbirth with Una’s brother, who is marked to become the next Magister; Julien’s mother died during his birth. The families grieve differently: Una’s father’s anguish is so overwhelming that he ignores his daughter’s sorrow and loneliness, while Julien and his father are bound deeply in love. Circumstances bring the children together when they are almost 12, and they join forces on a difficult quest for a unique flower that is also desperately sought by others. Johnson tenderly depicts their growing friendship, as well as Una’s memories of her mother, and the bond between Julien and his father. While a concluding event seems somewhat facile, it brings about well-earned results for both children, who each come to a mature peace with their loss. Ages 8–11. (July)
Reviewed on : 05/13/2021
Release date: 07/06/2021
Genre: Children's
Book - 978-1-68119-656-5
Paperback - 240 pages - 978-1-5476-0993-2
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