This is an immediately relatable story of a girl who is struggling to keep up with the evolving maturity of her best friend and classmates, finding her place within her family's Jewish faith, and coping with how little control she has over everything. I think every 7th grader has moments like Zippy does, including the (un)intentional dramatic haircut and finding the right words to describe the chaos of growing up.— Rhi
A young girl preparing for her bat mitzvah discovers she has mysterious abilities in this magical contemporary coming-of-age story from the beloved author of Orphan Island.
Hi, whoever is reading this. I’m Zipporah Chava McConnell, but everyone calls me Zippy.
Things used to be simple—until a few weeks ago. Now my best friend, Bea, is acting funny; everyone at school thinks I’m weird; and my mom is making me start preparing for my bat mitzvah, even though we barely ever go to synagogue. In fact, the only thing that still seems to make sense is magic.
See, the thing is, I’m a witch. I’ve been casting spells since I was little. And even if no one else wants to believe in magic anymore, it’s always made sense to me, always felt true. But I was still shocked the day I found a strange red book at the library and somehow...I conjured something. A girl, actually. A beautiful girl with no memory, and wings like an angel. You probably don’t believe me, but I swear it’s the truth.
Miriam is like no one else I’ve ever met. She’s proof that magic is real. And, it’s hard to explain this part, but I just know that we’re connected. That means it’s up to me to help Miriam figure out what she is and where she came from. If I can do that, maybe everything else in my life will start to make sense too.
Anyway, it’s worth a try.
Laurel Snyder is the author of picture books and novels for children, including National Book Award nominee Orphan Island and the Theodor Seuss Geisel Award winner Charlie & Mouse. A graduate of the Iowa Writers’ Workshop, she currently teaches in Hamline University’s MFA in Writing for Children and Young Adults program. She lives in Atlanta with her family and can be found online at www.laurelsnyder.com.
"This lively middle-grade read offers a spirited exploration of the strength required to know and stay true to oneself in adolescence." — Booklist
“Snyder leans into the tween’s candid, fourth-wall-breaking narration to interrogate interpersonal difficulties and mysteries of faith, resulting in an evolving portrait of a nearly 13-year-old growing up before her own eyes.” — Publishers Weekly
"Zippy’s awkwardness, from her fights with her best friend to the way she dabbles in both Judaism and witchcraft, is painfully, believably genuine. And as the rabbi teaches her, her struggles with Judaism and her attempts to make it fit into her witchiness are exemplars of Jewish learning." — Kirkus Reviews
“Compelling from the first page. There’s much to ponder here in friendship, family dynamics, and religion, and Zippy’s growth is hard-earned and deserved.” — Bulletin of the Center for Children’s Books