cover image Flowerheart


Catherine Bakewell. HarperTeen, $19.99 (352p) ISBN 978-0-06321-459-0

Sixteen-year-old Clara Lucas’s innate magic has always been out of control, resulting in overgrown flora and damaged property, but it has never harmed anyone until she accidentally curses her father, whose chest suddenly blooms with poisonous flowers. The only way to cure him is to perform a blessing, a complex spell for which she’s never completed training. Desperate to prevent his seemingly inevitable death, she turns to Xavier Morwyn, 16, a childhood friend turned calculating government magician, asking him to help her tame her magic. Though countless mentors have failed to accomplish the task, he agrees—and also offers to remove her wild magic by absorbing it into himself, post-blessing, to give her a chance at a peaceful life. As the pair work together, Clara learns the reason why Xavier pulled away from her all those years ago and uncovers secrets surrounding a mysterious potion cursing the populace. Bakewell (We Are the Song) delivers a sensitively cultivated magic system that, as evidenced by the anxiety that makes it difficult for Clara to control her abilities, operates as a commentary on mental illness and its effects on one’s ability to move through the world. It’s an uplifting and meaningful tale bursting with floral imagery and cottagecore aesthetics. Main characters cue as white. Ages 13–up. Agent: Jordan Hamessley, New Leaf Literary and Media. (Mar.)