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RIVER MAGIC by Ellen Booraem Kirkus Star


by Ellen Booraem

Pub Date: April 27th, 2021
ISBN: 978-0-525-42804-6
Publisher: Dial Books

The river near her home in Maine is central to everything real and magic in Donna’s life.

Donna is mourning the drowning death of her beloved aunt Annabelle, who was her mentor, guide, and inspiration. Now things are falling apart; there are huge bills to pay, and her mom is considering sending Donna to a hated relative for the summer. Donna’s sister is nasty and hateful, and her best friend is drifting away. Dealing with all this is difficult enough, but an awful lot of strange things are happening. There is a voice in Donna’s head that seems to be Annabelle’s. Kids at school speak of pixies and ley lines. Vilma, an older woman who is a new neighbor, turns out to be an extremely powerful thunder mage; Margily, a river dragon, carries her on thunder forays. The magic builds slowly at first, but the pace quickens with twists and turns galore. Enemies become friends, and new friends are recognized, especially previously despised classmate Hillyard. There is greed, danger, breathtaking adventure, and even humor and joy. Donna narrates her tale, voicing her feelings, reactions, and confusion. Readers will recognize her as a kindred spirit and root for her all the way to a satisfying conclusion. The book situates Whiteness as the default.

A carefully constructed interweaving of reality and magic that will transport and delight.

(Fantasy. 10-14)