cover image Root Magic

Root Magic

Eden Royce. Walden Pond, $16.99 (352p) ISBN 978-0-06-289957-6

1960s South Carolina comes to life in this middle grade debut filled with magic and heart. Eleven-year-old twins Jezebel and Jay Turner have just lost their grandmother when an unexpected visit from a racist police deputy spurs their uncle, Doc, to begin teaching them how to engage with their heritage through root magic, which offers healing and protection. Jez must also contend with a new school year: she’s been placed in the grade above Jay and must weather her classmates’ taunts alone. It’s only the presence of her doll, Dinah, who is more than she seems, and a strange new girl, Susie, that help Jez navigate the growing distance she feels with her brother and the otherworldly occurrences going on in the marsh behind their house. If Royce occasionally meanders, her depictions of the kids’ daily life and inner strength more than makes up for it. Ages 8–12. [em]Agent: Adriann Ranta Zurhellen, Foundry Literary + Media. (Jan.) [/em]