All Our Hidden Gifts

Candlewick/Walker. Jun. 2021. 384p. Tr $19.99. ISBN 9781536213942.
Gr 9 Up–Getting detention is not out of character for Maeve Chambers, but when she is assigned to clean out the closet in the basement of her private school, she finds a mixtape and a deck of tarot cards that set her on a dark path. O’Donoghue expertly blurs the lines between the real and the unreal as readers are swept up in Maeve’s journey to undo the wrongs she thoughtlessly causes, from causing the disappearance of her former best friend to unintentionally empowering the cultish leader of a conservative youth group that promotes hate speech and cruelty. With a deft hand, O’Donoghue crafts a narrative that is steeped in both classic gothic atmosphere and contemporary representation: Maeve, who is white, grapples with her privilege against the backdrop of the paranormal as she considers the ways in which Roe, her nonbinary love interest; Fiona, her Filipina friend; Jo, her queer sister; and Lily, her former BFF with hearing loss have to navigate the complex and sometimes hostile landscape of modern Ireland. Stefanie Caponi’s tarot card illustrations are hauntingly perfect companions to the text. Much like the novel, the cards appear deceptively familiar at first glance. The stakes are high, the narrative is nuanced, and the climax and resolution are refreshingly unexpected.
VERDICT Expect readers to fall into this blurred tale of the normal and the paranormal.

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