Author: Natalie Lloyd
Category/Genre: Middle Grade, Magical Realism
Length: 311 pages
Felicity Pickle is an eleven-year old girl who is constantly moving from place to place with her mother and her younger sister. She struggles each time she begins school and has a difficult time speaking to strangers and making friends. Instead, is blessed with a unique talent: she sees words floating around people and objects telling her what they feel. Words such as hope, love, lonely, stormy, etc. These words may float or dance or come in any color or even be full of sparkles. Felicity collects her favorite words and writes them down in her journal.
At the beginning of the story, Felicity’s family moves to Midnight Gulch, Tennessee where her mother grew up and her aunt still lives. The residents say there used to be magic in the town, but it left about 100 years before after two magical brothers fought. In Midnight Gulch, Felicity is finally assigned a teacher than understands her. She also makes her first friend, Jonah. Felicity keeps seeing the words, Yes, Yes, Yes and realizes that she wants her family to settle in Midnight Gulch more than anything. She is fascinated by the stories that people tell her about its magical history and wants to learn more.
With Jonah’s help, they hatch a plan to keep her family in town. Felicity signs up to read a poem at the Duel for her school. To speak in front of a crowd and to get her family to finally stay in one place is going to require a snicker of magic.
This was a beautifully written book. Each page reads like a piece of poetry. The author paints a picture on each page so it is easy to see each scene with Felicity’s words hovering in the air. I believe it is a book to be read slowly so you can soak up the imagery.
The story is sweet about a girl who wants what most of us take for granted: a place to call home. Her friend Jonah’s goal in life is to make people in town happy. It is a feel-good story rather than a fast paced book. I believe it will appeal to both middle grade boys and girls who may identify with Felicity’s struggles. But I believe there is a larger audience: people of all ages who want to escape for a few hours into a beautiful story.
The main characters are well developed and many unique people are introduced. I particularly like that Jonah, her best friend, is in a wheelchair. However, the book is not about that. There is only a mention here and there about his wheelchair. Instead, the story concentrates on his friendship with Felicity and his big heart. I imagine this would appeal to people with their own disabilities to see someone who might be a bit like them, but prefer to be treated as a regular person rather than someone special simply due to their disability.
I am a member of two book clubs, and we read a variety of genres. Plus, as a Young Adult and Middle Grade writer, I am constantly reading YA books to improve my skills.
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