Isabelle grapples with guilt and friendship as she works through Fairy Godmother Training, Level Two.
Isabelle’s in a funk because Nora has forgotten her, even though Isabelle broke the rules and left a stolen jar of magic-making sparkles for Nora to remember and contact her with. Level Two brings about massive changes, though: there’s a crackdown on saving excess sparkles (and sudden rationing), and Grandmomma is leaving the training center to investigate sparkle discrepancies and magical irregularities (Isabelle fears she’s responsible). Missing Nora, Isabelle attempts to befriend her classmates but is bullied and ostracized. Then, she gets her practice princess—Samantha, a former friend of Nora’s—and worries that Samantha’s happiness will come at the cost of Nora’s. Sure enough, Samantha isn’t a particularly pleasant girl, and both she and Nora dream of being in a big school play. Isabelle bends rules to help Nora out, until Samantha finally wishes for Nora to bungle her performance. Aronson neatly explores girl-on-girl nastiness in both faery-godmother school and human school, and the many quandaries Isabelle finds herself in make her easy to relate to. Details such as Grandmomma’s “fairy godmother bling” and the girlgoyles Isabelle likes to hide among make for fizzy magical worldbuilding. Racial descriptors are mostly avoided, and Isabelle, Nora, and Samantha all seem to be white; diversity is mostly cued with naming conventions.
The friendship fixes may be simplistic, but this book has an endearing lead. (Fantasy. 6-9)