Books, Gardens, Dogs
Stones to Ashes - Kailin Gow MY THOUGHTSLOVED ITFoster kid, Wirt inadvertently discovers he has magical ability when he is threatened by three boys with bodily harm and escapes when he disappears. The only problem is that he doesn't really believe in magic, so when he lands in a giant tree house that is home to a magical academy. The academy trains future magicians to help the rulers of all hundreds of worlds that overlap. There he is admitted to the academy on scholarship and soon makes a home among the students. He makes fast friends with three: Spencer, the smart, rich kid who takes him under his wing and the brilliant Alana, another scholarship student who is assigned to help Princess Priscilla rule in the future. These teens attend classes much like the ones in Hogwarts and have teachers that help them work through spells and transformations. As Wirt becomes used to the idea of magic, things start to go wrong at the school. Magical items entrusted to the school are disappearing and with the finances there in disarray, the kids are set out to find a missing chalice that has mythical powers. Their quest takes them through many obstacles and trails. Spencer makes Wirt realize that he has worth and that he is wanted at the school, something he has never felt before in all his foster homes. Alana also plays a part in welcoming Wirt and I can't wait to see where their relationship goes. She is smart and witty. Priscillia doesn't play that much of a role in this one but I can see her coming into her own. I really enjoyed this one and I have been meaning to read something by Gow for awhile after meeting her at the Orange County Children's Book Fest. I am sure that this one won't be my last. Parents: not much to worry about here and other than a kiss and not much violence, this should be alright for even the youngest teens.

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