Book Review: NEW BEGINNINGS by Victoria Schwab (Middle Grade Monday)

Title in swirlng white against a purple and blue background
Genre: Contemporary
Age Range: MG
Star Rating: 4 stars
Series: Yes - first book

Synopsis:

Book cover for EVERYDAY ANGEL: The outline of an angel against a blue sky above a few houses with windows. The title in swirling yellow

At a first glance, Aria seems like your average twelve-year-old girl. She has coppery hair, colored shoelaces, and a passion for cupcakes. But there’s more to Aria than meets the eye. She can dream things into existence, use her own shadow like a door, and change the world in small, important ways. Aria is a guardian angel. She’s been sent here to earn her wings. But to do that, she’ll have to help three different girls.

Aria’s first mission is Gabby Torres. Gabby’s always been quiet, but ever since her brother got sick, she’s barely said a word.When a new school offers her a fresh start, Gabby wants badly to be someone new, but she quickly learns it’s hard to make friends while keeping half her life a secret.

And then Aria shows up. Aria, who knows exactly what to say and do to make Gabby feel better. Will she be able to help Gabby find her voice? And will Gabby still trust Aria when she finds out exactly what she is?

Synopsis taken from Goodreads. Add to your shelves here.


Review:

This was a really cute, easy read.

The magic is so whimsical. I loved that Aria could change the colours of her shoelaces to match her mood, and that her personality was so well expressed by her love of bright colours – and so she changes her surroundings to express that. The hospital steps was a particularly lovely moment.

However, the magic is a very minor part of the story, more an undercurrent than the focus. Even though Aria is a guardian angel she mostly uses her ability to see the smoke around Gabby to work out what makes her upset and what helps her feel better. Her attempts to help are much more human, not magicking the problems away.

While the challenges faced by Gabby are rather serious, it’s written in such a way that it doesn’t feel heavy. It was a relief to read something quite light given the current situation. It handles child cancer in a way that was both realistic (and very emotional at times) but it also left hope without seeming patronising and unrealistic.

Of course, Aria is rather new to it all, so she’s learning at the same time – both about herself and humans. The two girls grow at the same time, as lovely mirrors of each other.

I’m glad I have the bind up, so I can keep reading the series.


Read my reviews of other books by Victoria Schwab:

Middle Grade:

Everyday Angel (this series):

City of Ghosts:

Young Adult:

The Archived:

Standalones:

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