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Even and Odd, by Sarah Beth Durst

Review copy provided by the publisher.

Imagine a world where border closings are disrupting environments and separating families, dividing parent from child. Further imagine that the villain responsible for these atrocities is confronted publicly and declares that they simply don’t care and won’t stop. Sarah Beth Durst has done that here, but the border is that between a mundane world and a magical one, and the villain is…a spoiler to be determined later.

Even and Odd are two sisters who share one person’s normal amount of magic between them, alternating days. Even loves magic and wants to dedicate her life to its practice. Odd would rather help out in an animal shelter, rescuing strays and socializing new puppies and kittens. Both of them have to help out in their parents’ border shop, which sells mundane items to magical beings. But when magic stops working, Even is stuck as a skunk–and their mother is on the wrong side of the border. Distressed centaurs and worried unicorns only add to their complications.

This is a fun kids’ book whose social conscience will probably dawn on some of its target readers only years later. Some of the plot twists are pretty clear if you’re an adult who has read extensively in this genre, but one of the joys of MG is getting to be the place where kids discover a particular trope in the first place.

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