cover image The Magic of Melwick Orchard

The Magic of Melwick Orchard

Rebecca Caprara. Carolrhoda, $17.99 (376p) ISBN 978-1-5124-6687-4

“There was no place for magic in a world where a six-year-old gets cancer,” states 12-year-old Isa, whose younger sister, Junie, was diagnosed five months earlier. The family of four had finally arrived in a town that they liked after many moves due to job transfers. With all the displacement, Isa relied on Junie as her only friend, and now Junie lives at the hospital. Their mother has fallen into a deep depression, and their father is always working to pay the mound of medical bills. Isa feels invisible around her family and resists letting anyone else get close to her; even her genuinely kind schoolmate Kira is “a major violation of my don’t-need-friends policy,” Isa says. One day, in the neighboring orchard, a tree sprouts a pair of shoes that Isa needs, then gives her cookies. Inspired by local myths, she wonders whether the trees can save her family. Caprara pens an emotional first novel about the fear that accompanies hope. The fragile relationship between the sisters is well drawn, and though the family’s life seems on the brink of blowing apart, Caprara skillfully shows that good things are quietly blossoming. Ages 8–14. [em](Sept.) [/em]