Just a Pinch of Magic
Feiwel & Friends
Published October 10, 2023
About Just a Pinch of Magic
Alechia Dow’s middle-grade debut is as warm and sweet as a cinnamon bun, bursting with magic and sure to please the pickiest readers.
Wini’s family of enchanters runs a little bakery, but with the prices of magical ingredients skyrocketing, they’re going under. Desperate to save her family’s business, Wini takes a risk by casting a (sort of illegal) spell that would allow them to gather their own supply of their most needed magical ingredient: Love. But the spell doesn’t work. And Wini soon discovers that it didn’t just not work, it backfired. Badly. Now the whole town is in danger, and the Enchantment Bureau is sniffing around for whoever cast the wayward spell.
It’s just been Kal and her dad for as long as she can remember. They’ve weathered everything together, including Kal’s mental health struggles. But just as they’re about to move to a new town for a fresh start, Kal’s grandfather—who mysteriously vanished years ago—has suddenly reentered their lives with a desire to make amends. He joins them in opening their bookstore in the new town, but Kal can’t help but wonder if he has anything to do with the whispers around her new home about wicked magic. And it’s not just the whispers of the magical books in their shop.
When Wini and Kal cross paths—both hoping for the chance to finally make a friend without worrying about their family histories following them—the girls bond over being fellow outcasts. Together they search for the solution to fixing the magic gone awry in their beloved town—and just maybe get their dads to go out on a date.
If you, like me, have followed Alechia Dow on social media, you’re probably not at all surprised to see a book centered around delicious baked goods. I was SO excited for that component of this book. I’ve enjoyed the author’s posts about her baking experiences.
I loved both Wini and Kal’s characters. The story alternates chapters from both girls’ points of view. They both feel isolated from the magical community, Kal because she grew up in a nonmagical world, and Wini because of her family history and its impact on the town.
Both girls are smart and really need a good friend. They tentatively try to be that for each other, but friendship doesn’t happen without its bumps and bruises.
I loved the small magical town where they live, and the way the people relate to one another. It felt rich and interesting, and I would love to revisit the same setting for another story. The last few chapters of the story covered a lot of ground, but I enjoyed every page of this book, especially the recipes included between chapters! I am really excited to try a few of those out.
All in all, I’d say this is a perfect middle grade debut. It’s got magic, friendship, and delicious cookies. Who could ask for more than that?
Recommended for Ages 8 to 12.
Wini and her family are Black. Wini’s dad and Kal’s dad are attracted to one another.
Profanity/Crude Language Content
Wini’s dad and Kal’s dad are attracted to one another.
Some characters have the ability to perform magic. Mentions of vampires, ghosts, and other supernatural creatures.
Situations of peril.
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