Mori is a young girl growing up in Wales in the late seventies and early eighties. She writes in her diary, describing her life and the books that she reads.
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At the start of the book it is 1979 and Mori has just moved away from her mother after a tragic event. He twin sister was killed and Mori was injured while fighting a magic spell orchestrated by their mother, who practices dark magic. The spell involved fairies that live in the fields near her home.
She goes to live with her father and her three stepsisters, and is enrolled in a boarding school which she hates. Coming from the Welsh countryside she finds the strict rules and uniforms of the school very uncomfortable. After some initial success making friends she gets into conflicts with some of the other girls there and ends up mostly isolated.
Her injury excuses her from physical education, so she spends a lot of time reading and writing in her diary about her favorite books. She frequents the library, and later on joins a science fiction book club in town, attending regularly. She makes several adult friends there and also meets a boy who she becomes romantic with.
Mori is reluctant to use magic, believing it will bring her mother's attention back on her and put her in danger. But feeling lonely she casts a spell to make friends. She also attempts a spell on Halloween during a visit to her relatives back home, hoping to help the ghost of her twin sister cross over into the after life.
These actions increase her fear of her mother, and also make her wonder if her friends and boyfriend are just under the control of the spell and wouldn't like her otherwise. She resolved to only use magic to protect herself and fend off her mother's magical incursions.
On one last trip home she finally confronts her mother and decides to try once more to free her sister.
Best part of story, including ending:
The description of a young girl becoming an avid reader of fantasy literature was just as magical as the plot related fairy stuff.
Best scene in story:
When Mori tries to send her sister on to the afterlife, it's spooky and sad and the magic is nice and organic, without a lot of props or rules.
Opinion about the main character:
She is a believable precocious 15 year old, earnest and intelligent but also full of self doubt and prone to being judgmental about other people's failures.