Pippa North never wanted to be a Triumphant and get whisked away to the Triumphant Academy. She just wanted to stay with her huge family in their cozy cottage. But when Pippa is selected to be a Triumphant, she knows there's only one way out: find a fairy godmother and get her to grant her wish to no longer be a Triumphant. While trying to find a way home, Pippa meets a Magician, Oliver, a new friend, Ernest, and together, they discover what it really means to be a hero and find the place you belong.
Temre Beltz’s voice is reminiscent of Gail Carson Levine and Shannon Hale, combining an engrossing story with heartfelt messages on finding your own path and embracing your strengths. I adored the footnotes throughout the story where the narrator speaks directly to the reader. For younger readers adjusting to the higher stakes in middle grade books (compared to chapter books), they will find comfort from the narrator as they are guided through treacherous plots.
At the heart of Pippa’s story is the message that friendship can make all the difference. When Pippa and Oliver feel isolated in their respective situations, they discover a little comradeship can do wonders, which is further emphasized in the final climax where they face the rogue Magicians. And at the end of Beltz’s novel, you shouldn’t feel surprised to find that Pippa and her crew feel like friends of your own, ready to tell you their story again when you need it.