Karina Jha // Blog Assistant
As spring is just beginning, here are some books that will add a little magic to the last of your gloomy winter days. Each of these books employs magic in some way or another. Sometimes, it’ll be as clear as writhing “mawmouths” and portals shaped like doors; sometimes, it’ll be up to you to interpret how the magic appears.
- A Deadly Education by Naomi Novik (Book #1 of the Scholomance Series)
Harry Potter meets The Hunger Games in this dark, action-packed book chock-full of magic. The story follows El, a student at Scholomance, a living school for the magically gifted. The catch? Failing at this school means certain death. This book will have you reading at the speed of sound with its witty humor and artfully-written tension. Not to mention, it contains one of the most well-rounded and diverse cast of characters ever encountered in popular contemporary magical fiction. Once you’ve swallowed this book, get your hands on the newly-released second installment: The Last Graduate, released just this past September!
- The Ten Thousand Doors of January by Alix E. Harrow
Follow January Scaller, a curious young girl, as she embarks on a journey to discover the mysteries behind a strange old book, dozens of magical doors, and her own past. This coming-of-age novel isn’t like any you’ve read before; it’s full of magic and history and beautifully poetic writing. It comes as a surprise that this is Alix E. Harrow’s debut novel, but after reading, it’s no surprise at all that she has been nominated for the Hugo Award.
- The Snow Child by Eowyn Ivey
The Snow Child follows a childless couple, Jack and Mabel, as they move to Alaska in the 1920s. Struggling to survive and find light in their new life, the couple’s lives change when they meet Faina, a quiet little girl who lives all alone in the forest. Based on the Slavic folktale The Snowgirl, this story is a heart-warming and very seasonally-appropriate read, as we see what will hopefully be the last of the snow this season!
- The Particular Sadness of Lemon Cake by Aimee Bender
Having just baked a lemon cake this past weekend, I thought it would be fitting to include this book in the list! In this novel, nine-year-old Rose Edelstein finds that she can taste the emotions of the cook through the food she eats, a discovery made by tasting her own mother’s sadness in her ninth birthday cake. So begins Rose’s journey of uncovering the truths about those around her, particularly the emotional intricacies of her family. Be prepared to walk away from this book a little confused, though: Aimee Bender does an artful job of mixing touches of magic into reality so subtly that when you’ve put down the book, you’re not quite sure where reality ended and the magic began.
- A Tale for the Time Being by Ruth Ozeki
This metafictional novel may not include as much magic as the others uyhgon this list, but it includes the magic of chance, for those who wish to believe in it. Ruth, a novelist living on a small island, finds a Hello Kitty lunchbox washed up on a nearby shore. Inside of it are a number of mysteries, including the diary of sixteen-year-old Nao from Tokyo in which she documents her own life and that of her great-grandmother, a Buddhist nun who has lived more than a century. A touching read, this book is sure to have you combing the shores near you to discover a time capsule of your own.
We hope these books will help you welcome in the magic of spring, despite New England’s capricious weather. Happy reading!