A Pinch of Magic

HMH. Aug. 2020. 416p. Tr $16.99. ISBN 9780358193319.
Gr 5-8–“Adventure awaits the audacious!” 13-year-old Betty tells herself, longing to shake free of Crowstone and her duties at her aunt’s inn, Poacher’s Pocket. Betty’s plans to sneak off to the Halloween Fayre take a turn for the worse, and when her aunt swoops to the rescue, Betty and her sisters find out just how close to home they must stay. Each girl has been gifted with an enchanted item, but the pinch of magic comes with a curse: Leaving Crowstone for more than a day means death. Middle child Betty rallies her siblings, and armed with their magical gifts and their wits, the Widdershin sisters set out (some more enthusiastically than others) to lift the curse and solve the mystery behind it. Harrison weaves an atmospheric story, with a maiden (or is she a sorceress?) locked in a tower, escaped prisoners, a missing parent, and a surly tavern guest who might know more than he’s letting on. Kim’s illustrations at each chapter heading add to the appeal.
VERDICT A good choice for middle grade fairy-tale fans craving something with an occasionally dark twist, and some sisterly double crossing.

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