Even and OddFeatured
When the hidden border between the mundane world the sisters live in and the magical land they were born in shuts abruptly, the girls are trapped, unable to return home. With the help of a unicorn named Jeremy, they discover a wizard is diverting magic from the border to bolster her own power. Families are cut off from each other on both sides of the border, and an ecological disaster is brewing. But the wizard cares nothing for the calamitous effects her appropriation of magic is having. Someone has to do something to stop her, and Even realizes she can no longer wait until she’s ready: she needs to be a hero now.
Strengths: Durst successfully thrusts us right into Even and Odd's magical world and it was easy to go along without missing a beat. We get just enough of the shop and the family situation before going right to Firoth, with a unicorn who has an invisibility cape, no less! This was particularly well paced, and never dragged for a moment. There were plenty of funny moments, such as Joj and the mermaids for whom he cares, and even has a bit of an environmental message! This is a fantastic book for readers who aren't quite ready for high fantasy but want to have an adventure in a magical world.
I love that Durst writes stand alone fantasy titles, and these are popular with my students, so I'll definitely purchase this one. The cover is fantastic! I have older titles like Enchanted Ivy and the Into the Wild duology, and Catalyst, The Stone Girl's Story, and especially Spark all circulate well, although I have to admit that the cover of The Girl Who Couldn't Dream dissuaded me from buying it. It was also a bit young.
Readers who can't get enough of books like Lee's Pahua and the Soul Stealer, Kim's The Last Fallen Star, and Doshi's Rea and the Blood of the Nectar will love this fantasy adventure with two sisters who need to harness their own magic in order to preserve their family and their world.