Twelve-year-old Rebecca realistically deals with the fallout of her parents’ separation, aided (surprisingly) by a magical bread box.
Rebecca’s mother, fed up with her husband’s lackadaisical attitude, abruptly moves out, taking the teen and her toddler brother from their home in Baltimore to live with their grandmother in Atlanta. There, Rebecca discovers a magical bread box. Almost anything she wishes for immediately appears in it. Initially, this seems like the answer to all her problems: She can wish for attractive clothes to make herself more popular in her new school, or for money that might ease her parents’ problems, or even for the perfect birthday present for her mother, although she continues to seethe at the woman’s self-focus. But not surprisingly, the magic comes with a significant catch, as magic often does. The discoveries Rebecca makes about herself and her relationship with her parents are achingly authentic. While the bread box provides a nice infusion of fantasy, this tale is as much focused on Rebecca’s maturing understanding of her family’s problems as it is on magic. Her appealing first-person narration rings true, and the characters around her are also believably portrayed, creating a tight tale with broad appeal.Elements of magic add to this enjoyable coming-of-age tale of family problems and personal growth. (Fantasy. 10-14)