A poignant tale about missing mothers that will leave readers anxious to read more.

THE FORGETTING SPELL

From the Wishing Day series , Vol. 2

Thirteen-year-old Darya Blok struggles to unravel the mystery of her mother’s eight-year absence and to do the right thing on her return.

There is powerful, unpredictable magic in Willow Hill, where, on the third day of the third month of their 13th year, girls make three wishes which may or may not come true. If you are one of the three white Blok sisters, with Baba Yaga in your family tree, they will. You’d better use them wisely. Darya’s mother, who left when Darya was 5, is back in town, shakily recovered from serious depression and not yet ready to resume her old roles. She wants Darya to use one of her wishes to right a wrong she committed at 13. Darya finds this unfair. She isn’t even sure she believes in magic. Aching and angry, she’s also infuriated by her new friend Tally’s insistence that Darya’s lucky. Tally lives in a foster home, and her mother, diagnosed as schizophrenic and institutionalized, refuses to see her, so her perspective is understandable. In this second book in the Wishing Day series, readers are drawn into middle-child Darya’s changing moods by the first-person, present-tense narrative. Though set in the present day, occasional flashbacks provide insight into childhood events. A convenient conclusion offers plenty of room for her little sister’s story.

A poignant tale about missing mothers that will leave readers anxious to read more. (Fiction. 9-13)

Pub Date: April 4, 2017

ISBN: 978-0-06-234209-6

Page Count: 352

Publisher: Katherine Tegen/HarperCollins

Review Posted Online: Feb. 14, 2017

Kirkus Reviews Issue: March 1, 2017

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A fun, new magical world that promises more adventures to come.

THE LAST FALLEN STAR

When a spell goes wrong, a girl sets out on a quest to save her sister.

Riley Oh and her sister, Hattie, are typical Korean American girls except for one thing: They know magic is real. When she turns 13 in two days, Hattie will finally become a full member of the Gom clan, able to wield magic on her own. But because Riley is adopted and saram, or nonmagical, the other clans will not allow her to have an initiation ceremony when she turns 13 in a month. Struck by this unfairness, Hattie finds a spell that will share her magic with Riley. Unfortunately, their plan goes spectacularly wrong, fracturing Riley’s community and endangering Hattie. Feeling responsible for the calamity, Riley, along with her best friend, Emmett, will do whatever it takes to make things right, whether that means striking deals with fickle magical beings or considering the help of an ostracized magical clan. Exploring familial bonds, belonging, and community, this is a fast-paced urban fantasy drawing on Korean mythology. Riley and her friends navigate Los Angeles’ Koreatown and run-ins with dokkaebi and inmyeonjo with a frantic, upbeat energy. Complications and twists keep the plot engaging and snappy. Emmett is cued as biracial (his mother was a Gom elder who married a saram with a Western surname; his father’s ethnicity is not specified).

A fun, new magical world that promises more adventures to come. (glossary) (Fantasy. 9-13)

Pub Date: May 4, 2021

ISBN: 978-1-368-05963-3

Page Count: 336

Publisher: Rick Riordan Presents/Disney

Review Posted Online: Feb. 9, 2021

Kirkus Reviews Issue: March 1, 2021

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Entrancing and uplifting.

STAY

A small dog, the elderly woman who owns him, and a homeless girl come together to create a tale of serendipity.

Piper, almost 12, her parents, and her younger brother are at the bottom of a long slide toward homelessness. Finally in a family shelter, Piper finds that her newfound safety gives her the opportunity to reach out to someone who needs help even more. Jewel, mentally ill, lives in the park with her dog, Baby. Unwilling to leave her pet, and forbidden to enter the shelter with him, she struggles with the winter weather. Ree, also homeless and with a large dog, helps when she can, but after Jewel gets sick and is hospitalized, Baby’s taken to the animal shelter, and Ree can’t manage the complex issues alone. It’s Piper, using her best investigative skills, who figures out Jewel’s backstory. Still, she needs all the help of the shelter Firefly Girls troop that she joins to achieve her accomplishment: to raise enough money to provide Jewel and Baby with a secure, hopeful future and, maybe, with their kindness, to inspire a happier story for Ree. Told in the authentic alternating voices of loving child and loyal dog, this tale could easily slump into a syrupy melodrama, but Pyron lets her well-drawn characters earn their believable happy ending, step by challenging step, by reaching out and working together. Piper, her family, and Jewel present white; Pyron uses hair and naming convention, respectively, to cue Ree as black and Piper’s friend Gabriela as Latinx.

Entrancing and uplifting. (Fiction. 9-12)

Pub Date: Aug. 13, 2019

ISBN: 978-0-06-283922-0

Page Count: 320

Publisher: Katherine Tegen/HarperCollins

Review Posted Online: April 10, 2019

Kirkus Reviews Issue: May 1, 2019

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