A Junior Library Guild Gold Standard Selection!
It’s a new star-crossed romance about the magic of first love from the acclaimed author of We Are the Ants and Brave Face, Shaun David Hutchinson.
Jack Nevin’s clever trickery and moral flexibility make him the perfect assistant to the Enchantress, one of the most well-known stage magicians in turn-of-the-nineteenth-century Europe. Without Jack’s steady supply of stolen tricks, the Enchantress’s fame would have burned out long ago.
But when Jack’s thievery catches up to them, they’re forced to flee to America to find their fortune. Luckily, the Enchantress is able to arrange a set of sold-out shows at Seattle’s Alaska–Yukon–Pacific World’s Fair Exposition. She’s convinced they’re going to rich and famous until a new magician arrives on the scene. Performing tricks that defy the imagination, Laszlo’s show overshadows the Enchantress, leaving Jack no choice but to hunt for the secrets to his otherworldly illusions. But what Jack uncovers isn’t at all what he expected.
Behind Laszlo’s tricks is Wilhelm—a boy that can seemingly perform real magic. Jack and Wilhelm have an instant connection, and as the rivalry between the Enchantress and Laszlo grows, so too does Jack and Wilhelm’s affection. But can Jack choose between the woman who gave him a life and the boy who is offering him everything?
It’s a stirring tale about the magic of love from award-winning author Shaun David Hutchinson.
The 1908 Alaska-Pacific-Yukon Exposition draws performers, entrepreneurs, and frauds to Seattle, and white 16-year-olds Jack Nevin and Wilhelm Gessler work for people who qualify on all accounts. Jack's boss, a magician and serial defrauder who calls herself Evangeline, took him in when he was seven; now her assistant, Jack's an expert pickpocket with an eye for money-making opportunities. Wil, taken from his family at age four by a sadistic thief calling himself Laszlo, is exploited as part of a magic show for his ability to travel invisibly. In alternating chapters, Jack and Wil narrate the story of becoming acquaintances, friends, and more, but their affection and freedom become highly risky as Laszlo monitors Wil constantly, even caging him. To pursue their future, the duo create an elaborate scheme, aided by all their friends. The world-building can feel bulky, slowing the book's pace, but can-do, brave Jack and Wil burdened by guilt, fear, and the likelihood that loving him will endanger Jack make a sweet couple. Hutchinson's (A Complicated Love Story Set in Space) novel has an intriguing setup and historical milieu, and the final trick, which relies on magic, fraud, planning, and friendship, makes for a bravado ending. Ages 14 up.