Story Magic by Laurel Gale
Jolly Fish Press, 2020, 157 pages
Content Warnings: Sexism, mentions of violence, death (discussed)
About the Author: “Laurel Gale writes books for children. Her middle grade novels include Dead Boy and Story Magic. She lives with her husband and their ferrets in Washington. In addition to writing, she enjoying hiking, playing board games, and reading. She loves animals and is easily distracted by squirrels.” (Bio taken from the author’s website.)
Hashtags: #storymagic #middlegradefantasy
Kaya A’Dor longs to learn how to do story magic. The only problem? She’s a girl, and girls are forbidden to practice this magic. But when twelve year-old Kaya’s older brother is captured and held as a prisoner in the faraway capital city, Kaya decides to break the rules in order to save him. She embarks on a journey across the country, facing dangers and running for her life, but also learning things about herself and her magic that she never would have realized otherwise. To make it to the capital and rescue her brother, Kaya will have to leave behind everything she’s ever known and venture into a new life.
This was a short, sweet, and fun read. I enjoyed the story-telling elements and loved watching Kaya become increasingly more creative with every story she told. The characters—especially Kaya—and the magic are really what drive this story. Kaya is a wonderful heroine: brave, persistent, and immensely loyal to her brother. Her curiosity and ambition are very relatable for readers, and the themes of overcoming obstacles, fighting for what’s right, and never giving up shine through. I especially loved the feminist message, and I think this story will be well-received with a younger crowd. Fans of adventure, fantasy, and magic will love this middle-grade novel.
(Pine Reads Review would like to thank NetGalley and the publisher for providing us with an ARC in exchange for an honest review. Any quotes are taken from an advanced copy and may be subject to change.)
PRR Writer, Wendy Waltrip