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A Most Magical Girl
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A Most Magical Girl
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From the author of Ophelia and the Marvelous Boy comes the story of a friendship between two girls set in Victorian England, with magical machines, wizards, witches, a mysterious underworld, and a race...
From the author of Ophelia and the Marvelous Boy comes the story of a friendship between two girls set in Victorian England, with magical machines, wizards, witches, a mysterious underworld, and a race...
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  • From the author of Ophelia and the Marvelous Boy comes the story of a friendship between two girls set in Victorian England, with magical machines, wizards, witches, a mysterious underworld, and a race against time.
     
    Annabel Grey is primed for a proper life as a young lady in Victorian England. But when her mother suddenly disappears, she’s put in the care of two eccentric aunts who thrust her into a decidedly un-ladylike life, full of potions and flying broomsticks and wizards who eat nothing but crackers. Magic, indeed! Who ever heard of such a thing?
    Before Annabel can assess the most ladylike way to respond to her current predicament, she is swept up in an urgent quest. Annabel is pitted against another young witch, Kitty, to rescue the sacred Moreover Wand from the dangerous underworld that exists beneath London. The two girls outsmart trolls, find passage through a wall of faerie bones, and narrowly escape a dragon, but it doesn’t take long for Annabel to see that the most dangerous part of her journey is her decision to trust this wild, magical girl.
    Sparkling with Karen Foxlee’s enchanting writing, this is a bewitching tale of one important wand and two most magical girls.
    "[Foxlee's] heroines have grit and heart, and they are willing to get dirty. And they do. Foxlee’s nicely wry tone and moments of incongruous humor break up the tension, while Annabel’s race against time in a harrowing journey deep under London keeps the pages turning. Deliciously complex and convincingly detailed."—Kirkus Reviews, Starred Review
    "Kids who enjoyed Foxlee’s Ophelia and the Marvelous Boy and fans of Hardinge’s Cuckoo Song will find similar otherworldly appeal in this enthralling adventure."—The Bulletin, Starred review
    "Memorable for its vivid imagery and stylish, thoughtful prose."—Horn Book Magazine

Excerpts-

  • From the cover

    1

     

     

     

    “A young lady should find, in all manner of circumstances and predicaments, a way to be both cheerful and content.”

     

    —Miss Finch’s Little Blue Book (1855)

     

     

     

    Annabel Grey arrived late in the afternoon in her best  dress and her new red town cloak. She stepped down from the carriage and surveyed the street with her chin held high. She smiled. She smiled the way she had been taught to smile when things were terrible or even just a little bad. She smiled as though she’d just seen something lovely. A beautiful painting, perhaps, or a butterfly.

     

    It was exactly the sort of street she had imagined, although she had never once been to this side of London. It was a mean street, the buildings leaning, holding each other up like a mouthful of rotten teeth. It was a stinking, wet place. There were cattle being herded across intersections, and stone buildings and churches and factories streaming black smoke, all crammed side by side. It was a damp and dark street, choked with wagons and carriages and filled with foul weather. A temperamental wind stamped up and down the road, slamming doors and stealing umbrellas and tugging at her bonnet ribbon.

     

    She concentrated very hard on not letting her smile falter.

     

    The costermongers were cowering under eaves, calling out, “Hot cooked eels” and “Pickled whelks,” above the sound of the wind. The shop signs read usurer and milliner and haberdasher. ship broker and grain broker and silver broker. falconer and feather purveyor and supplier of fine tartan. But before her was a shop with the words misses e. & h. vine’s magic shop neatly printed on the glass. And opening the door was a tall, straight woman with a scowl on her face.

     

    “Annabel Grey?” said the woman.

     

    “Yes,” said Annabel Grey.

     

    The tall, straight woman wore a dark dress buttoned up to her chin. Her hair was black and in no way matched her face, which was very old—long and thin and crosshatched with grooves.

     

    The tall, straight woman did not smile. “I am Miss Henrietta Vine.”

     

    “My great-aunt!” cried Annabel, and she thought perhaps she should throw herself at the woman’s feet, but Miss Henrietta Vine did not look as if she would tolerate such a thing.

     

    There was nothing welcoming about Henrietta Vine.

     

    “ ‘Miss Henrietta’ will do,” she said sharply. “And you are nearly thirteen?”

     

    “On Friday I will be thirteen,” said Annabel.

     

    “You are small for your age, then,” the woman said. “And too young in my opinion to have had your skirts let down.”

     

    Miss Henrietta had grave blue eyes, and her expression was solemn, as though she were about to tell Annabel something terrible, something much more terrible than what had already happened. The terrible-news gaze was unwavering, and it made Annabel look away. She looked at her feet, at the footpath, at the shop glass behind Miss Henrietta.

     

    “So, here you are,” said Miss Henrietta. “Your mother has finally done what is proper.”

     

    Just the mention of her mother made Annabel sway.

     

    It was her mother who had sent her here. Her mother, who had suddenly needed to go abroad. Annabel felt the smile slipping from her mouth, and she fought very hard to keep it...

About the Author-

  • Karen Foxlee is the author of The Anatomy of Wings, The Midnight Dress, and the middle-grade novel Ophelia and the Marvelous Boy, which has received five starred reviews. She lives in Brisbane, Australia, with her daughter.

Reviews-

  • AudioFile Magazine Narrator Jayne Entwistle's characterizations anchor this Victorian fantasy. She begins with a convincing portrayal of fearful 13-year-old Annabel, who has been uprooted from her proper boarding school. After her mother leaves Annabel with two elderly aunties, Entwistle ably conveys their concern: Their niece is a "most magical girl," prophesied by aging magicians to vanquish evil. Soon that evil is revealed as Entwistle projects the menace of Mr. Angel and his dark magic. Entwistle's narration projects the thrill of dangerous adventures and Annabel's winding path to becoming a true heroine. S.W. � AudioFile 2016, Portland, Maine

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