The Gifts That Bind Us

Candlewick/Walker. Jun. 2022. 400p. Tr $18.99. ISBN 9781536222227.
Gr 9 Up–In this sequel to All Our Hidden Gifts, Maeve, Fiona, Lilly, and Roe have settled into a lovely, lazy summer, but as it winds down, the friends decide it’s time to really master their magical gifts. And just in time—something strange is stirring in their town. Time starts to run differently in the school, with classes going backward, and the friends’ magic begins behaving erratically. With the reappearance of Aaron, the leader of the hate-fueled youth group that squared off with Maeve and her friends in the previous book, the friends latch onto the idea that he is to blame for the oddities surrounding them. Maeve focuses her energy on stopping Aaron, unintentionally binding his fate to her own. When the real mastermind behind the magical manipulations reveals herself, Maeve and her friends are caught unprepared for the violence of the struggle to regain control of their magic and their lives. With the same deft narrative style that made the previous book shine, O’Donoghue now offers an introspective take on what privileges and responsibilities come with magic, and a more nuanced exploration of the ways in which the characters are bound, involuntarily and by choice, to one another. The pacing is slower here, but the mystery just as delightful, and the ending beautifully twists the success of Maeve and her friends into a catalyst for the return of the revenge spirit they defeated at the end of the first book.
VERDICT Fans of paranormal reads will be on the edge of their seats.

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