The Bookshop of Dust and Dreams

Viking. Oct. 2021. 336p. Tr $16.99. ISBN 9780593110379.
Gr 4-6–If you had access to forbidden magic and could use it to save a life of a close friend, would you do it? The Fulbright family has run the Rhyme and Reason Bookshop for three generations—one of a handful of bookstores that exist outside of time and maintain the world’s magic. But the Dark side of magic is always looking for a way in. It has found one in Poppy’s older brother Al, who is devastated by the death of his best friend on a World War II battlefield. The Dark tempts Al to use the store’s magic to save his friend, which is absolutely forbidden. Poppy is similarly tempted when their father is struck by a mysterious illness, but she has a closer relationship to the bookstore, and knows she must stop Al, no matter what the cost. She is helped by old friend Ollie Bell and new friend Theo Devlin, plus the shop’s many customers, who come from various times and backgrounds. Poppy is a likable and realistic character, with a strong sense of duty that adds gravity to the hard decision she must make. She and her family are white, Ollie is Black, and the rest of the cast is diverse.
VERDICT A cozy fantasy with a heartbreaking twist.

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