The Gilded Girl

Farrar. Apr. 2021. 352p. Tr $16.99. ISBN 9780374313937.
Gr 5-7–Emma Harris has led a sheltered life, following her wealthy Magitect father from city to city as he designs fantastical buildings, and she rarely makes friends. When he drops her off at Miss Posterity’s Academy for Practical Magic, it is expected that Emma will do well and will kindle and cement her magic so that she may join her father in his business. Meanwhile, Izzy, the school servant girl, is expected to let her magic snuff out rather than be kindled so that she may serve the wealthy without them having to worry about rebellion. When Emma’s father unexpectedly dies, leaving her penniless, she must work alongside Izzy, cleaning up after her former friends. Emma learns about classism and friendship as she and Izzy make a secret pact to kindle anyway, even though it is illegal. Emma and Izzy, both cued as white, are likable and the book holds some fun action. The mood and enchanted atmosphere of Emma and Izzy’s world are immersive.
VERDICT While the characters are drawn a bit thin, this title will be enjoyed by students enamored with magic. Recommended for fans of A Little Princess by Frances Hodgson Burnett.

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