Ellie Engle Saves Herself

Disney-Hyperion. (Ellie Engle). Apr 2023. 288p. pap. $8.99. ISBN 9781368090186.
Gr 4-8–Twelve-year-old Ellie Engle is preparing to start junior high, and wondering what to do with the fluttery feelings she has for Abby, who has been the center of her universe as long as they’ve been friends. But when a random earthquake leaves Ellie with superpowers (including the ability to resurrect the dead), Ellie finds herself with bigger worries. Add to that her mom’s struggles to pay the bills in the wake of a divorce, and Abby’s determination to “make her mark” in their new school at all costs—including, perhaps, their friendship—and Ellie’s whole world is turned upside down. Things get even worse when a viral video exposes her newfound powers and thrusts her into the spotlight. In lesser hands, these many plot threads might become tangled, but Johnson masterfully weaves them together to explore themes of belonging, identity, responsibility, friendship, heroism, and growing up. Ellie’s voice is honest, warm, and sharply funny, and readers will enthusiastically root for her as she learns to love and celebrate herself for all that she is. Ellie is Black and Abby is Latina.
VERDICT Joyful and magical. A first purchase for all collections.

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