Wendy Xu. Quill Tree, $12.99 paper (240p) ISBN 978-0-06-295580-7
Dark-haired, light-skinned aspiring witch Sophie Wu, 12, is determined to nail her Royal Magic Academy audition. Part of the Wu clan, whose lineage included a dragon-human pairing, and whose descendants retain “powers over storm and sea,” Sophie is excited to spend a year studying in Shulan, a quaint harbor town accessible by ferry, with her contemptuous great-aunt, Auntie Lanny, and young, ever-patient, catlike aunt Sage, an Academy alumna. But Auntie’s harsh discipline amplifies Sophie’s deep desire to prove herself, and in the midst of an ill-advised oceanside experiment, Sophie’s magic becomes entangled with that of Lir, the horned, light brown–skinned amnesiac son of a powerful dragon, who now can’t shift back from his human form. In fluid, Miyazaki-flavored graphic panels, scenes of smartly paced action follow Sophie’s continuing pattern of mishaps and self-recrimination (“My own selfishness brought this on. I deserve to be punished”), and she encounters the first stirrings of wholesome romance with gentle, refined Lir. Though the magic tutelage theme is familiar ground, Xu (Mooncakes) gives her solo debut fresh allure with richly evoked Chinese mythology–inspired dragons and a supporting cast of idiosyncratic, endearing characters. Back matter features an author’s note. Ages 8–12. Agent: Linda Camacho, Gallt and Zacker Literary. (Nov.)
Reviewed on : 10/14/2021
Release date: 11/16/2021
Genre: Children's
Paperback - 240 pages - 978-0-06-295579-1
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