A Wilder Magic

Juliana Brandt. Sourcebooks, $16.99 (272p) ISBN 978-1-72820-964-7
In this gentle rural fantasy set in WWII-era Tennessee, Sybaline Shaw attempts to save her family home from destruction by wielding the natural magic that flows throughout the valley. The Tennessee Valley Authority is evicting everyone so they can construct another dam to assist the war effort, drowning the only place Sybaline has ever called home. Determined to stay, Sybaline evades her implied-white family during the move, and, joined by her cousin Nettle, uses magic to keep the rising waters at bay. After a short period of relief, however, the water keeps coming, eventually covering their refuge and trapping them in a bubble under the growing lake. Now they must escape, but magic has a price: using it unwisely will transform them into trees. Sybaline’s yearning for stability and familiarity is relatable, even if her methods prove predictably shortsighted. The relationship between magic, nature, and intent adds a thoughtful level of complexity and cost to this sophomore novel by Brandt (The Wolf of Cape Fen), adding to the poignant blend of loss and optimism as readers empathize with Sybaline’s rebellion against inevitable change. Ages 8–12. Agent: Natalie Lakosil, Bradford Literary Agency. (May)
Reviewed on : 08/18/2021
Release date: 05/01/2021
Genre: Children's
Paperback - 272 pages - 978-1-7282-4573-7
Book - 978-1-7282-0965-4
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