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*****= An all-time favorite
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****Millicent's Gift

by Ann Rinaldi

Reviewed June 17, 2003.
HarperCollins Children’s Books, New York, 2002.  218 pages.
Available at Sembach Library (JF RIN).
A Sonderbooks’ Stand-out of 2003:  #7, Young Adult Fantasy

On her fourteenth birthday, Millicent MacCool will receive her Gift--One wish that she can use any way she wants in life.  All the women and some of the men in her family have it, along with certain minor powers like being able to cast spells, shape-shift and have out-of-body experiences.

Like the Harry Potter books, this book is fantasy--Millicent MacCool and her family have these powers, and there’s never any suggestion that the spells she uses might work for the reader if they tried hard enough.  The book is simply a delightful “what if” scenario--What if you had one wish that you could use in your life, as well as power to do “everyday” magic?

It’s not quite as simple as it sounds, though.  For five years, Millicent has been studying in an apprenticeship with her aunts.  During that time, she cannot ever lie, or she will lose her Power.  (Imagine how different the Harry Potter books would be if Harry had such a requirement!)

The magic has already caused problems in her family.  Her guardian is her brother, and he urges her to give up the Power.  He has her stop home schooling with her aunts and start going to the local high school.  Once the other students hear about her Gift, people start coming to her with requests of how she should use her one wish.

This is an intriguing and well-written book for middle grade readers and up.

Another book by Ann Rinaldi:  Taking Liberty

Copyright © 2003 Sondra Eklund.  All rights reserved.

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