Unseen Magic

by Emily Lloyd-Jones (Author)

Unseen Magic
Reading Level: 4th – 5th Grade

The trick to all magic is: you can only see it if you know where to look.The magic-infused town of Aldermere is the first place eleven-year-old Fin has ever felt safe--and she'll do whatever it takes to save her home when she accidentally unleashes a shadow self who wreaks havoc everywhere she goes. Emily Lloyd-Jones's middle grade debut is an enchanting exploration of self-discovery and finding the place you truly belong. Unseen Magic is for fans of A Wish in the Dark and A Tangle of Knots. Aldermere is a town with its own set of rules: there's a tea shop that vanishes if you try to force your way in, crows that must be fed or they'll go through your trash, and a bridge that has a toll that no one knows the cost of. Some say that there may even be bigfoots wandering through the woods.

For Fin, Aldermere is her new home. But she's worried that she'll do something to mess it up--that she was the reason she and her mother have constantly moved from place to place for so long. When an upcoming presentation at her school's science fair gives her increasing anxiety, Fin turns to magic to ease her fears. The cost is a memory, but there are things from her past Fin doesn't mind forgetting. This will be the last time she relies on magic anyway, she's sure. Except things don't go exactly as planned. And instead of easing her anxiety, Fin accidentally unleashes an evil doppelganger. Suddenly Aldermere is overrun with unusual occurrences--and Fin is the only one who knows why. She will have to face her fears--literally--to stop it.Emily Lloyd-Jones crafts an atmospheric novel full of magic and mischief while exploring what it means to stand up to your fears and accept yourself. 

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Kirkus Reviews

A deliciously atmospheric, full-bodied magical brew. 


Starred Review
Highlighted by as neat a switch on the “evil twin” trope as ever was, this tale has much to offer readers who prefer a “quiet and creeping” sort of magic over “bright flashing spells or turning people into toads”—though there’s a certain amount of that, too.

Publishers Weekly

"The Tea shop tended to vanish" begins Lloyd-Jones's (The Bone Houses) middle grade debut, immediately immersing readers in the magic-infused town of Aldermere, Calif., situated at the edge of a redwood forest. In order to avoid releasing dangerous magic, the town's residents follow a number of rules: "Doors must be labeled or they can lead anywhere. Pay the ravens or keep your garbage bins inside. Never keep a knife that's tasted your blood." Eleven-year-old Finley Barnes has lived in Aldermere for three years, since her mother decided they should settle in her hometown after a life on the move. It's the first place Fin's felt at home, but she's still bothered by her crayon-scrawled list of "things that were to be avoided at all costs." For the price of one memory, though, Aldermere's tea shop will give her a brew that temporarily relieves her anxiety. But when she removes tea from the shop and brews it herself, Fin accidentally unleashes a monster made of the leaves who looks just like her. Could it be responsible for the string of incidents occurring in usually peaceful Aldermere? Offering suspense, reassurance, and magic in a deeply alluring setting, Lloyd-Jones shows how erasing bad memories doesn't make fear disappear through a presumed-white heroine's arc toward bravery. Ages 8-12. Agent: Sarah Landis, Sterling Lloyd Literistic. (Feb.)

Copyright 2022 Publishers Weekly, LLC Used with permission.

Review quotes

"At turns gentle and mischievous, Unseen Magic cleverly reveals the hidden pockets of magic that shimmer in the world—and within ourselves. This is a story to adore—one that thoughtfully reflects on the fears we keep closest to our hearts, and embraces every precious piece that makes us who we are."—Heather Kassner, author of The Plentiful Darkness
Lexile Measure
Guided Reading Level
Publication date
February 20, 2022

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