Bright shadow

By Avi

On the shelf in the Library

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Summary: As assistant to the king's chambermaid, 12-year-old Morwenna is hardly a likely candidate for wizardly inheritance. Yet there's something to be said for being in the right place at the right time--or is that the wrong place at the wrong time? Either way, with no warning, Morwenna suddenly becomes the recipient of five wishes when a 1,000-year-old ailing wizard, desperate to pass on his magical legacy, finds Morwenna at hand the moment before his dusty demise. Unfortunately, no guidance or advice accompanies this mysterious gift. Morwenna soon flounders in confusion and danger, as her best friend Swen, through a series of mishaps, comes to believe he is the new wizard, and all the kingdom awaits liberation from a despotic ruler. This tense, moving tale raises painful questions about altruism and selfishness, as a mere child is asked to grant wishes, secretly and judiciously. Avi himself must have inherited mystical powers. With nothing in his hands (other than a pen) and nothing up his sleeve, Avi writes spellbindingly in just about any genre. The proof is in his more than three dozen popular books for young people, including Midnight Magic and the Newbery Honor-winning historical novel The True Confessions of Charlotte Doyle. (Ages 9 to 12) --Emilie Coulter