“Polly Proggett is terrible at spells, which is rather unfortunate when you’re a witch.”
Polly’s magical ineptitude, a source of considerable frustration, has left her without a single witch or warlock to call friend. Luckily, she has Buster, “who is kind and lovely and likes Polly no matter what.” Polly and Buster have been thick as thieves since childhood, secretly meeting every day after school in their favorite backyard tree—but there’s a problem. Buster’s a member of the monster underclass, and monsters and witches do not mix. A field trip to an art museum draws Polly closer to a popular former enemy, but everything goes awry when she runs into Buster, whom she snubs harshly. Shrinking, quite literally, under the weight of her rejection, Buster becomes the target of abuse from his classmates. A repentant Polly rushes to defend her friend, accidentally casting an extraordinarily powerful Protector spell. A twisting of events transforms Polly into a local hero, but at what cost to her cherished friendship? Rippin cultivates an emotive third-person narrative with stark simplicity. Stylistic typographical gimmicks pepper the text throughout but never detract from the flow of the story. By contrast, the pacing feels rushed at times, sometimes jarringly so, but a lively marriage of magic and mayhem makes for an easy read even as tensions between witches and monsters rise. Humanoid characters default to white. Sequel The Mystery of the Magic Stones publishes simultaneously.
Quite bewitching. (Fantasy. 7-10)