“A well-crafted blend of realism and fantasy.” —School Library Journal (starred review) “A lyrical story of love and loss. The way the sisters fight and love in equal measure, as well as their basic need for one another, rings poignantly true in this touching and heartwarming story, which contains a ‘tiny bit of magic, right here in the real world.’” —Booklist (starred review) In the tradition of Sharon Creech and Wendy Mass, Corey Ann Haydu's sparkling middle grade debut is a sister story with a twist of magic, a swirl of darkness, and a whole lot of hope.
Silly is used to feeling left out. Her three older sisters think she's too little for most things—especially when it comes to dealing with their mother's unpredictable moods and outbursts. This summer, Silly feels more alone than ever when her sisters keep whispering and sneaking away to their rooms together, returning with signs that something mysterious is afoot: sporting sunburned cheeks smudged with glitter and gold hair that looks like tinsel.
When Silly is brought into her sisters' world, the truth is more exciting than she ever imagined. The sisters have discovered a magical place that gives them what they truly need: an escape from the complications of their home life. But there are dark truths there, too. Silly hopes the magic will be the secret to saving their family, but she's soon forced to wonder if it could tear them apart.
Eleven-year-old Silly and her three older sisters have always tiptoed around their alcoholic mother and her unpredictable moods. Things are even worse this summer now that the family has moved into their mother's childhood home in New Hampshire, and Silly's sisters are acting especially distant. Soon, Silly comes to share in the secret her sisters have been keeping from her: the house's closets can transport them to a magical realm. It also turns out that Silly can manipulate this magic in a way that none of her sisters can. Like the dancing princesses of fairy-tale legend, the girls discover new wonders and gain much-needed escapes from their day-to-day lives whenever they go inside. Each closet is different, and while some bring delight or contain memories, others hold darker secrets. The siblings' relationships are complex and believable, and their pain at their fractured family life is raw and real. Haydu (Making Pretty) makes skilled use of her story's fantastical overlay to create a haunting narrative about the ways family members can fail but also support each other. Ages 8 12.