|Girl and the witch's garden
Author: Bowman, Erin
While living with her estranged mother at mysterious Mallory Estate, twelve-year-old Piper Peavey must undergo three trials to obtain from the enchanted garden an elixir that might save her dying father.
|Accelerated Reader Information:
Interest Level: MG
Reading Level: 5.50
Points: 9.0 Quiz: 508996
Kirkus Reviews (-) (03/01/20)
School Library Journal (04/01/20)
The Bulletin of the Center for Children's Books (A) (00/04/20)
Full Text Reviews:
School Library Journal - 04/01/2020 Gr 5–8—Twelve-year-old Piper Peavey lives with her father Atticus in Connecticut. As her father faces terminal cancer, Piper is dumped at the Mallory Estate, owned by her estranged mother Sophia and grandmother Melena. Steeped in magical rumors, Mallory Estate is also home to foster children Julius, Kenji, Teddy, and Camilla, who possess magical gifts. Under Sophia's instruction, they work to locate the estate's enchanted garden where the elixir of life is hidden. Desperate to save Atticus, Piper develops her own ability and reaches the garden first, teaming up with Teddy to solve three magical riddles. The children, Sophia, and Melena each are motivated by different goals, and Piper's family secrets guide the final outcome. Bowman's third-person limited perspective gives readers a close understanding of Piper's emotions as she faces her mother's desertion and her father's prognosis. The writing is smooth, and Piper's dialogue with the children and her mother purposefully advances the plot. As with any Faustean bargain, Piper's desire to have the elixir at any cost creates an uncomfortable tension that electrifies the story. The world-building, however, has a tenuous quality. At times, Bowman has to inform readers how Piper figures something out or what the magical rules are. Her explanations seem more the writer's construct than a tight-knit magical universe. VERDICT An intriguing premise whose execution is acceptable though not outstanding, saved by Piper's honest grief. Purchase where interest indicates.—Caitlin Augusta, Stratford Library Association, CT - Copyright 2020 Publishers Weekly, Library Journal and/or School Library Journal used with permission.
Booklist - 04/01/2020 While her father undergoes chemo, 12-year-old Piper must stay at Mallory Estate, where her estranged mother and aloof grandmother live. Piper is surprised to meet the mansion’s other residents, foster kids Julius, Camilla, and Kenji, and learn their secret: chosen for their affinities, magical abilities such as shape-shifting and teleportation, they have been recruited to search for the elixir of immortality, supposedly hidden on the estate. After Julius enlists her help in finding Teddy, a foster child who went missing while seeking the elixir, Piper discovers and develops her own magical affinity. Bowman creates an adventure story featuring a plucky heroine who shoulders heavy emotional burdens while facing an ethical dilemma: if she recovers the elixir, will she use it to help the foster kids or to save her father’s life? The book’s strength is its grounding in reality, both in its modern-day setting and in its limitation of magic as a problem-solver. Though unmasked in the end, the story’s villain remains unvanquished, leaving the door open for sequels. - Copyright 2020 Booklist.