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THE MAGIC HALF by Annie Barrows

THE MAGIC HALF

By Annie Barrows

Age Range: 8 - 12

Pub Date: Jan. 1st, 2008
ISBN: 978-1-59990-132-9
Publisher: Bloomsbury

Miri, singleton daughter sandwiched between two sets of twins, feels depressingly ordinary. When she finds a lens to a pair of eyeglasses taped to the baseboard of her room in the old Victorian home her family has just moved into, she is pulled through time to 1935, where the orphaned Molly relies on the dubious kindness of relatives. Molly’s aunt would happily send her to an orphanage, while her cousin, a brute of the first order (and a petty thief to boot), delights in torturing her. The two girls feel an instant kinship: Miri must save Molly, of course—but how? Barrows has crafted a serviceable time-travel fantasy with the right amount of moving back and forth (Miri’s own glasses are her ticket back to the 21st century) and reflection on the consequences of changing the past. Narrative nuance and finely tuned character development are sacrificed to quick pacing and plotting, however, a trade-off that will keep middle-graders turning the pages but that may make this offering a disappointment for fans of the superb Ivy Bean chapter books. (Fiction. 8-12)