Reviewed by Allison Fraclose for TeensReadToo.com
One night, Polly is awakened from a sound sleep to find her older sister, Bree, kissing her. As Bree's blood red aura trails behind her like the tattered wings of a ruined fairy, she tells Polly that she's leaving for the woods, so that she can try to be alright again. Half asleep, and not sure if she's really seeing her emaciated, drugged out sister or an actual fairy, Polly lets her go, with no argument over how much Bree has destroyed since she started using drugs.
No one believes her when she tells them Bree has run to the woods, so it's up to Polly to provide everything her sister will need. Winter is almost there, and a developer is coming soon to trade out the trees for a housing development. Following the guidance of her grandmother, Baba, Polly knows that she could rely on herself to survive alone in the forest, and, with her help, so can Bree.
Luckily, Polly finds that she doesn't have to be alone. Others may not be able to see the colorful bands of light around each other that display exactly who they are inside, but they will believe her. Under the protection of the hidden grove that Baba has shown her, Polly and her friends will learn that, with a little magic and a little faith, anything is possible.
Beautifully written and with vibrant imagery, this book will strike a chord with anyone who has found magic and solace in their own secluded spot of wilderness. The explanations that head each chapter of the different wildflowers and their medicinal uses are also fascinating, as is the descriptions of various auras and what they mean. The back cover states that the author wrote this as a gift for her daughter, and she will be writing one for her son next. I'll be looking forward to reading that.
I think that this is more of a children's book than a YA one. It's very environmentalist, which I liked, but overall it came across as pretty futile and disheartening. Maybe I'm too jaded to get a happy ending out of it, but I found it more depressing than anything else.
I don't want to give away too much since most of my complaints are pretty specific, but it didn't help that I wasn't really a big fan of the main character.