Gosh. This was such a delightful book, full of yummy food, new friendships, and so much magic!
I keep wanting to read Alechia Dow’s books because the themes are always exactly my jam, but I struggle with scifi, so when I saw she had a contemporary fantasy middle grade coming out, I couldn’t wait to get my hands on it!
Wini is from a family of Food Enchanters, but the small town she lives in all seems to hate her because her mother cast a curse that made them all get stuck in the town, to the point that if they try they would lose all their magic. Because of the animosity of the town, the bakery Wini’s family owns is slowly going out of business, so she decides to use one of her grandmother’s experimental spells to create a source of Love to be used in their baked goods. When she casts the spell, though, it doesn’t go the way she expects and suddenly the weather is acting funky and a shadowy figure keeps whispering her name ominously. The only good thing is Kal and her family just moved to Honeycrisp Hill, so have no knowledge of the history, and that gives Wini a chance to make a new friend.
I really loved all the magic and the food (there are like 4 or 5 recipes throughout the book!) and the way Wini and Kal build each other up. This is such a great story of friendship and interrogating what “wicked” even means. There’s a line repeated a couple times that “wickedness is all about perspective,” and that’s absolutely the truth. It’s also dealing with how community views can influence experiences in such a big way. And the way things resolved was really well done. All-in-all this was an excellent read that I highly encourage folks pick up!