The Last Present

(Willow Falls Series, Bk. 4). 6 CDs. 7:15 hrs. Scholastic Audio. 2013. $34.99. ISBN 9780545600330.
Gr 4–7—Secretive Angelina DeAngelo, a mysterious centenarian, has special powers and the compunction to bestow a benediction of sorts upon every infant born in Willow Falls. She has used her spells and machinations to change Leo, Amanda, Tara, and Rory's lives by intervening during their birthdays and by using time travel to change the past and counteract an old family curse. In this series entry (Scholastic, 2013), focus shifts to 10-year-old Grace, who sees energy surrounding everyone and everything, and who will evidently replace Angelina in the future. Grace has gone into a strange frozen state on her birthday, and Amanda and Leo must travel in time in order to fix whatever's wrong. Though the dialogue is implausible and the current story is hard to follow without knowledge of the proceeding titles, and therefore really cannot stand alone, narrator Kathleen McInerney does a stellar job of creating many distinctly different character voices. It would be a wise purchase only where the series was popular with students who have enjoyed the previous installments. An interview with the author and narrator is included.—Lonna Pierce, MacArthur Elementary School, Binghamton, NY

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