The Infinity Year of Avalon James

224p. Feiwel & Friends. Oct. 2016. Tr $16.99. ISBN 9781250085696.
Gr 4–6—Avalon James and Atticus Brightwell, both aged 10, are waiting for their "infinity" powers now that they are at the height of their Infinity Year. As explained to them by Attitcus's grandfather, your Infinity Year commences when you turn 10; if you obey the rules of the Infinity Year, you will develop magical powers before turning 11. While waiting impatiently for her powers, Avalon deals with a bully who ridicules her for her father's incarceration and she prepares for the upcoming spelling bee. When Avalon inadvertently reveals Atticus's secret, she endangers their friendship and her own Infinity Year. Avalon has a bright and relatable sensibility that will endear her to readers; her friendship with Atticus is genuine and refreshingly free of boy-girl antagonism and snark. Atticus is a vegetarian and requires medication to address bed-wetting issues, two situations not rare among preteens but seldom addressed in middle grade fiction. Though the bullying aspect is resolved a bit swiftly, Middleton subtly tackles outdated adages about bullying and inconsistent zero-tolerance policies. Although dedicated fantasy fans might find the mystical elements too light for their liking, this will appeal to readers looking for an overall upbeat story with realistic drama.
VERDICT Featuring a positive depiction of boy-girl friendship and appealing characters, this is recommended for general purchase.

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