Emma and the Love Spell

Bloomsbury. Jan. 2024. 288p. Tr $17.99. ISBN 9781547612604.
Gr 4-7–Sixth grade has ended, and Emma can’t wait to spend the summer with her best friend, Avangeline. Unfortunately, Avangeline shares the news of her parents’ upcoming divorce and her family’s move to New Orleans in a month. Emma is devastated—Lina is her only friend and her biggest crush. The girls come up with a plan to make Avangeline’s parents fall back in love. What Lina doesn’t know is that Emma has magical powers and is planning on using them in this Parent Trap–esque scheme of theirs. Her powers are connected to her emotions; flowers bloom when she’s happy and storms rage when she’s upset. Her parents treat her magic as something to fear, and Emma must learn how to control her powers and conjure the perfect love spell if she wants Avangeline to stay. Along with being the only witch in town, Emma is a Korean transracial adoptee. This sweet story touches on self-identity, belonging, and otherness in an accessible way.
VERDICT Ireland’s character development is sophisticated yet approachable, much like in Kelly Yang’s Front Desk. Readers of all ages will appreciate Emma’s journey of self-discovery in this fast-paced fantasy.

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