Review published on May 16, 2017.
A YA novel with trees, magic and an alternative community ticks quite a few of my boxes so I was primed to enjoy this book. Thirteen-year-old Rainbow spends most of her time hanging out in her treehouse and hoping that her hippy mum and musician step-dad will notice her, when she discovers she has a mysterious gift – the ability to bend trees to her will. What first appears exciting soon reveals the potential to become much darker and then Rainbow is involved in an accident that changes her life in ways she could never have imagined.
There is a lot more to the story than might first appear. Through Rainbow the reader is led to consider the long-term effects of our decisions, the parent/child bond and the perennial question of what happens to the turns we don’t take in life. The writing is sometimes lyrical, mainly in descriptions of the natural world. There were moments when the pace flagged and it felt as if the author was just getting the characters from A to B. But Rainbow, her mum and her friend Trish among others are great characters who engage and demand empathy from the reader.
I really enjoyed the book, but then coming of age stories are a bit of a weakness of mine and I don’t know how gripping a young adult audience would find it due to the lack of real action. I would definitely read another by this writer, but I won’t recommend the book to my reading group.
Rebecca Kershaw 4/2
Tree Magic by Harriet Springbett
Impress Books 9781911293002 pbk Mar 2017
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