4 star review: Michaela's Gift by @grammy2kiera Happily recommended for pre-teens.

Michaela's Gift

Written by Cordelia Dinsmore

Genre: Young Adult

Book Synopsis

Michaela Cochran and her family make the trip to her father’s ancestral home every year, but this year is special. Michaela is now twelve, the age when every girl in the family receives a special gift. When Aunt Sharon explains that Michaela’s gift is a magical ability to bring one of her drawings to life, Michaela begins making plans. What she wants most is a castle high on the mountain, where her family can live together. But if she can’t figure out how to resolve the growing hostility between herself and her mother, her gift is meaningless.

Lyn S's Rating

Lyn S's Review

As a former English teacher, I've always taken a keen interest in stories for the pre-teen age group and still often get asked to make recommendations for younger readers. What I look for in these stories is a plot that is unique enough to fire the imagination during these formative years, appealing characters who will create a positive impression and craftsmanship that will impart good language habits while simultaneously engrossing and entertaining the reader. "Michaela's Gift" ticked all these boxes and I would happily recommend it for this age group.

It's a delightful story of twelve year old Michaela coming to terms with many major changes in her life. The magical elements are charmingly interwoven with some very real and at times painful issues about families and relationships which Michaela has to face. The fantasy setting is enchanting and so finely drawn as to make it powerfully visual. A haunted house on a magic mountain might not convince all 10-12 year olds, but I'm willing to bet most will suspend disbelief long enough to be drawn in by the escalating mysteries and intrigues.

What will hold younger readers' fascination the most will be Michaela's surprising gift - handed down through the female line of the family when a girl reaches the age of twelve - how this came about and, most importantly, how Michaela will use it. To say any more would be to spoil the pleasure of discovery.

My only reservation was that at times the dialogue didn't quite convince - particularly with the three year old Chloe, who was, incidentally, trusted far too much to Michaela's care for my liking.. Occasionally, too, Michaela's speech and mannerisms showed a mature understanding which I felt was beyond her years and made her a bit of a Goody Two Shoes. However this was a minor irk and didn't spoil the overall reading experience.

In fact "Michaela's Gift" is a delightful story and I would happily recommend it as middle grade reader. I would also recommend watching out for more stories from Cordelia Dinsmore as I suspect this is an author young readers will demand more of in the future.

Review Disclaimer: Book was provided free of charge in exchange for an honest review.