Life is always changing but not necessarily in the ways we expect.
Kate Mitchell needs some magic. Her father, who has depression, left four months ago, and no one knows where he is; her best friend, Sofia, has broken their promise to be best friends forever; and her grandmother, who moves in with Kate and her mom, suffers from dementia. Grammy, whose good days include knitting and baking cookies, tells Kate about Everyday Magic and its three rules: Believe in magic or it won’t work, give magic to people you love, and trust the magic to work. If skeptical Kate can believe, maybe magic will bring Dad home and help her win Sofia back. Perhaps it will make Kate, who hasn’t played music since Dad left, feel like singing again. Narrated in Kate’s quiet first-person voice, the book is divided into three parts, one for each rule, and is punctuated with Kate’s unsent letters to Dad. Although depression is referred to as a sickness, it’s also oversimplified as mere sadness that may be susceptible to cookies and magic knitted hats. Certainly this could be an 11-year-old’s understanding of depression, but debut author Hill misses the chance to challenge this damaging belief. Whiteness is assumed for those characters whose skin color isn’t called out. Important supporting characters include Chinese-American and Spanish-speaking classmates.
Reading cultivates empathy. This should do the trick. (Fiction. 8-12)