Wildings by Eleanor Glewwe Review

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Glewwe, Eleanor. Wildings. Viking/Penguin Random House, 2016. 336p. $16.99. 978-0-451-46885-7.

Twins Rivka and Arik have been brought up in a system that requires all children to be tested for magic on their tenth birthday.  Most have magic skills, but those who do not are declared a “wilding” and removed from their family. They are placed with an adoptive, nonmagical family and forced to break off all contact with their birth family. When Arik is adopted as a wilding, Rivka refuses to give up on reuniting with her twin—even under threat of imprisonment.  A deathbed confession by her mother leads Rivka to narrow down Arik’s location to a distant land, where, serendipitously enough, her father has just been appointed an ambassador.  Rivka will use every resource at her disposal to find her brother and overturn the system that separates families.

This book features a richly developed world (the city-state of Ashara), with a strong, young female protagonist who fights to correct a social wrong against long odds. While not a direct sequel, this story exists in the same world as, and shares several characters with, the author’s previous book, Sparkers (Penguin, 2014/VOYA October 2014), and will strongly appeal to fans of that book. Family loyalty and the strength of sibling bonds are vivid themes throughout the story. The intermingling of magic and music is compelling, as both are used as powerful tools to overcome evil. Wildings is a highly recommended purchase for libraries serving readers of middle school age and up, where it will appeal to fans of fiction with strong elements of fantasy and magic.—Sherrie Williams.