Will Do Magic for Small Change

Tor.com. Oct. 2022. 464p. ISBN 9781250808738. $27.99. FANTASY
Hairston (Redwood and Wildfire; Master of Poisons) writes a magical coming-of-age story. The novel was first independently published in 2016 and is now getting picked up by Tor.com. Beginning in 1980s Philadelphia with the overdose of Cinnamon’s brother, Sekou, readers follow Cinnamon’s grief and discovery as she struggles to keep her brother’s gifts and memory safe from her mother’s anger and sorrow. Sekou was guardian to the story of the Wanderer, an alien who first came to Earth in the late 19th century, arriving in Africa. Guardians keep stories alive—including those of the Wanderer, who gains power from being remembered. Alternating between Cinnamon’s and the Wanderer’s stories, the novel is a rich exploration of a young Black girl finding friends and purpose. The novel also beautifully focuses on the idea that remembering and telling stories keeps people alive. The text is sometimes dense, but Hairston’s novel is a provocative reading experience that confronts current societal issues.
VERDICT This new edition is recommended for public libraries and readers who have an interest in African history and science fiction and who missed the book when it came out as an indie.
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