There seems to be an uptick of books with a magical way to escape reality. I find it eerily disturbing and yet understandable. Life seems to be getting bogged down with bad news and there are authors wondering what would happen if you found a way to circumvent anything going wrong? I first read it in Eventown, and came across a similar situation in The Root of Magic, by Kathleen Benner Duble.
Thank you to Blue Slip Media for a review copy. All opinions are my own.
Willow and her family (sans father) find themselves in Kismet, Vermont after nearly going off a bridge during a snowstorm. Willow’s younger brother is very sick, though the doctors can’t figure out what is actually wrong with him. While their mother initially wants to get back on the road as quickly as possible, there is a magical undertone to the town that is luring her in.
Willow knows that something is off about the town the moment they get there. Cora, the woman who owns the B&B, makes up a room for 3, including a roll-away bed with a bucket next to it in case Wisp gets sick. In the morning, Cora gets Willow grapefruit juice, an unusual choice, before she even asks for it. Somehow everyone is always one step ahead of them. Willow tries to go along with it and gets enjoyment out of a friendship with young Topher, whose mother is the town doctor and who is trying to help Wisp.
When the truth comes out, Willow faces the question of whether knowing what the next day holds is a good thing or a bad thing. Should we follow what is out “fate” or should we be able to have free will over our own lives? Both Willow and Topher struggle with the question and the painful choice that if they don’t want to adhere to the town secret, they must leave and never see their families again.
The story is somewhat dark, but engaging just the same. It really forces the reader to think about life and whether knowing the future is worth it. Just as the kids in Kismet get to make the decision when they turn 13, readers young and old can consider it as well. For 8-12 year olds who enjoy a little bit of magic with their stories, this is a good choice.