Title: Eva Evergreen, Semi-Magical Witch
Author: Julie Abe
Genre: Middle Grade Fantasy
Page Count: 400
Published by: Little Brown Books for Young Readers
Date Published: August 4, 2020
You can find it here: Bookshop.org
Eva Evergreen is determined to earn the rank of Novice Witch before her thirteenth birthday. If she doesn’t, she’ll lose her magic forever. For most young witches and wizards, it’s a simple enough test:
One: Help your town, do good all around.
Two: Live there for one moon, don’t leave too soon.
Three: Fly home by broomstick, the easiest of tricks.
The only problem? Eva only has a pinch of magic. She summons heads of cabbage instead of flowers and gets a sunburn instead of calling down rain. And to add insult to injury, whenever she overuses her magic, she falls asleep.
When she lands in the tranquil coastal town of Auteri, the residents expect a powerful witch, not a semi-magical girl. So Eva comes up with a plan: set up a magical repair shop to aid Auteri and prove she’s worthy. She may have more blood than magic, but her “semi-magical fixes” repair the lives of the townspeople in ways they never could have imagined. Only, Eva’s bit of magic may not be enough when the biggest magical storm in history threatens the town she’s grown to love. Eva must conjure up all of the magic, bravery, and cleverness she can muster or Auteri and her dreams of becoming a witch will wash away with the storm.
How many words exist for delightful? I might need to pull out the thesaurus to get this review finished … because that is the best word to describe Eva Evergreen, pure yellow-warm-sunshine delightful.
Not that the story enters into saccharine territory, but much in the same way that last year’s The House in the Cerulean Sea, by T. J. Klune, brought us a feel good fantasy that we could just feel safe in for awhile escaping into its merry-sweet pages, Eva Evergreen delivers this as a middle grade package.
Quirky, fully realized characters, adorable magical side characters, a charming, cozy town, supportive parents (that aren’t killed off just so our little tween heroine can have an adventure … say whaaa?) and all kinds of exciting, dynamic world building. Exploring central concepts of kindness, determination, goals, weaknesses, how to attain said goals with said weaknesses, overcoming obstacles, the power of grit … this is a really special book. I can fully understand and appreciate the references to Studio Ghilbli having read this, so if you yourself are a fan, go on and get reading.
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