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To Come and Go Like Magic by Katie Pickard…

To Come and Go Like Magic

by Katie Pickard Fawcett

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From February 2010 SLJ:
As disparate pieces of cloth can be turned into a captivating quilt, Fawcett has arranged carefully-selected fragments of Chili Sue Mahoney’s thirteenth year to form a whole that is greater than the sum of its parts. Chili lives with her parents and her older brother Jack in the hills of Kentucky. Within a matter of months, her married and pregnant sister Myra moves back home, orphaned cousin Lenny comes to stay, and old Uncle Lucius takes up residence in the attic. The little house is full to overflowing, and Chili dreams of exotic travel and far-flung adventures. But in 1975, folks don’t leave Mercy Hill—while they may disparage their more poverty-ridden neighbors, at least the “welfares” can be trusted more than those citified northerners. Even old Miss Matlock, who left Mercy Hill when she was young and eventually came back, is viewed with suspicion as an “outsider.” Chili, however, is thrilled when Miss Matlock is assigned to their seventh grade classroom: finally, she can learn from someone who has seen the world. Miss Matlock’s accounts of her travels open up new possibilities for Chili, but as she discovers more about Miss Matlock’s early life, she has to question whether her teacher’s actions were truly courageous or remarkably self-centered. Chili is a likeable protagonist, and her descriptions of family and friends make them fully-realized characters in their own right. The brief glimpses into seemingly mundane events over the course of a year allow readers to realize how much she has grown in her relationships. Give this appealing novel to readers who enjoy the poignancy and lyricism of Barbara O’Connor or Deborah Wiles. ( )
  KimJD | Apr 8, 2013 |
This is exactly the kind of book I read as a kid - it's a sweet, slow, coming-of-age story, set in the south and a few decades ago. To Come and Go Like Magic reminds me a lot of Salted Lemons - a book I loved when I was growing up. I loved the crowded family feeling, and the way the main character, Chileda, learned that her friends and family weren't perfect. ( )
  periwinklejane | Mar 31, 2013 |
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Amazon.com Product Description (ISBN 0375858466, Hardcover)

Twelve-year-old Chili Sue Mahoney has never been outside of her small Appalachian town. Momma says Mercy Hill, Kentucky, is her “true home,” but Chili longs to see the world—to have the freedom to leave and to explore.

So when Miss Matlock is brought in as the 7th grade substitute teacher, Chili and her classmate Willie Bright are thrilled. Everyone knows Miss Matlock has traveled around the globe. Why she’s come back to her childhood home after all this time is a mystery, but Chili and Willie are eager to befriend her despite the rumors. As the three spend time together, Chili learns about the jungles and deserts and cities of the world. But she also discovers that there’s more to Mercy Hill than she thought: beauty, in the people and places she’s known all her life, and secrets, sometimes where they’re least expected.

Told in vignettes and set in 1970s Appalachia, To Come and Go Like Magic is a heartwarming and hopeful debut novel about family, friendship, and the meaning of home.

(retrieved from Amazon Thu, 12 Mar 2015 18:16:12 -0400)

(see all 3 descriptions)

In the 1970s, twelve-year-old Chili Sue Mahoney longs to escape her tiny Kentucky home town and see the world, but she also learns to recognize beauty in the people and places around her.

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