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Release Date
February 14, 2023
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After Winna's little sister breaks her glasses, her grandfather gives her an old-timey pair of spectacles that belonged to her great-aunt Estelle. The specs are silver and perfectly circular, with tiny stars on the bridge and earpieces that curl all the way around her ears.

Best of all, they're magic.

Because when Winna makes a wish beginning with the words "What if"--that is, when she speculates--the spectacles grant it. Winna wishes she could see ghosts ... and soon she meets not only the real Estelle, but Estelle's mother, Winona. Nearly a century before, Winona escaped from slavery and ran north with her baby, Key. But Key was stolen from her under mysterious circumstances, and now Estelle and Winona have a mission for Winna: Find Key.

He's still alive. He doesn't know the whole truth. And unless Winna can solve the mystery and bring him home, a powerful curse called the Burden will smother out their family's lives--and Winna's mom could be its next victim.

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1 review
(Updated: April 06, 2024)
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When eleven-year-old Winna's younger sister Tupelo breaks her glasses, Winna's grandfather gives her some older glasses that once belonged to her great-aunt Estelle. Through these lenses, Winna can see the ghost of Estelle. She also finds out about a history that involves Estelle's grandmother Winona some hundred years ago. Winona escaped slavery and ended up North with her baby Key. But Key was stolen and now Winona and Estelle have a mission for Winna to find Key and break the Burden or else her sick mother might be the next victim.

What worked: Magical historical mixed with the paranormal. I especially love the mission Winna is set on to find Key. The idea of researching family history has always been exciting to me. Winna finds some missing parts of Winona's history and tries to put it all together. Her grandparents are supportive.

The magical glasses are a fun twist to this very engaging story. Winna finds a way to communicate with the ghost of Estelle through misting the glasses. Estelle gives her some clues on where Key might be. Winna also has a dream that shows Key is still alive.

This story is set in the 1962 South. The elements of that time are authentic down to the views of some on segregation.

The family dynamics are strong. Tupelo is the annoying kid sister, but in her own way wants to help. The mystery behind Key affects Winna and her family in a way that is surprising, but not all too uncommon. There's also bullying and racism from the town's twin boys.

Engaging, historical where a a pair of glasses sets a girl off on a magical quest to solve a century-old mystery.
Good Points
1. Great mix of historical and paranormal
2. Love how the eleven-year-old protagonist tries to break a family curse
3. Magical glasses
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