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Publication date: September 2018
Middle Grade Fiction
(Age Range: 8 - 14 Years)
After more moves than they can count, Isabel and Junie’s family finally put down roots. People in town whisper strange stories about the abandoned orchard behind their new home, but the sisters are happy to have acres of land to explore and trees to swing beneath. For the first time in a while, life feels perfecterrific.
But then Junie is diagnosed with cancer and everything changes. Isa’s mom falls into a deep depression, and mounting medical bills force Isa’s dad to work longer and longer days. As for Isa… well, she’s slowly becoming invisible. No one seems to notice that her clothes are falling apart, her stomach is empty, and her heart is breaking.
In an act of frustration, Isa buries her out-grown sneakers in the orchard. The trees haven’t produced fruit in decades, but the next day something magical happens: a sapling sprouts the strangest, most magnificent buds Isa has ever seen. When they bloom to reveal an entire harvest of new shoes, Isa feels inspired. Can she use the magical tree to save her family?
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ADVANCE PRAISE & REVIEWS
"Warmhearted and compelling." ―Kirkus Reviews
"Caprara pens an emotional first novel about the fear that accompanies hope. The fragile relationship between the sisters is well drawn, and though the family’s life seems on the brink of blowing apart, Caprara skillfully shows that good things are quietly blossoming."
"A community of likable and well-drawn major and minor characters provides support for Isa as she negotiates raw emotion with little help from her credibly distracted parents. The emotional responsiveness of the magical tree is a perfect foil for Isa, highlighting the difference between things that can be easily fixed and things that are more complicated...Readers who appreciate magical realism will find the premise of the tree intriguing, and they’ll enjoy a solid story about the family’s emotional rollercoaster and the sisters’ love. "
―The Bulletin of the Center for Children’s Books
"This is magical realism at its best…this story is a heart-warming hug that belongs on every shelf."
―Melissa Taylor, Imagination Soup
"Readers will fall in love with strong-willed, spunky Isa in this magical story about hope, resilience, and what it means to be family."
―Abby Cooper, author of Bubbles and Sticks and Stones
"A beautiful bloom of a book, rooted in friendship, hope, and love. This stunning debut will make you believe in magic―on the page, and in your heart!"
―Bridget Hodder, author of The Rat Prince
"Rebecca Caprara has beautifully walked the line between magic and real life in The Magic of Melwick Orchard. For families with children who have illnesses, they will see the truth of what it is like when one member of the family is sick. This story will hold your heart, break it, and then mend it back together."
―Kati Gardner, author of Brave Enough
"Caprara beautifully captures the unbreakable bond between sisters when life throws a curveball. A tender and imaginative debut."
―Jenn Bishop, author of 14 Hollow Road and The Distance to Home