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On the Eighth Day of Christmas…

December 20, 2013

ThresholdsToday I’m giving away two books that are personally very important to m; Thresholds and  Meeting by Nina Kiriki Hoffman.  Together, they comprise the Magic Next Door series and, like everything else I’ve ever read by Nina Kiriki Hoffman, I love them.  These books are aimed at a middle grade audience, which is a little unusual for the books I’ve read by her.  Most of them have been more on the adult side, although still perfectly accessible for younger readers.  There is something really special about these two books though.
Part of it is the covers, I won’t lie.  Joshua Middleton did beautiful, luminous covers for both books.  But even more, the story that stretches out inside these covers really touched me.
Maya is a young girl whose family has just moved halfway across the country.  Ostensibly, the move was sparked by her parents finding new jobs, but an even bigger part of the move was that Maya had lost her best friend to cancer.  Everything back in Idaho had reminded her of Stephanie, now, in a new town, she has the chance for a fresh start.  And she gets more of one than she ever could have dreamed.
One night, on their second week in the house, a fairy flies into Maya’s bedroom.  It’s come from the unusual apartment house next door.  It doesn’t stay long, but it touches her with the magic of another place and that provides her with a key across the threshold of the house next door and the entire realm of magic.  Before Maya knows it, she has a secret new friend, one who will never leave her, who knows her as well as she knows herself, who can help her heal.

meeting(This is where we get really autobiographical, so feel free to skip down to the next section.)  Thresholds came out in August of 2010.  My dad, who had cancer, had already been through his first round of chemo and was about to start on his second.  At the time, I was avoiding any books that touched on cancer, I just didn’t want to deal with them, but I gave this one a chance, partly because nothing on the jacket copy mentioned Stephanie and cancer, and then, once I found that (on page 3, it’s not a secret that gets sprung on you) I kept reading because it was Ninia Kiriki Hoffman, and I trust her.
I trust her not to write the kind of story that would leave me feeling worse than I did before I read it.
I trust her not to have included Stephanie to exploit her death for shock value or for pity.
And she didn’t.  Sometimes, people die.  It’s terrible and it’s sad and it can break us apart.  But, we’re still here.  And there is still magic in the world.  Threasholds made me feel better for a little while during a period where everything was scary.
Those of you who know me in real life, or who follow me on social media may know this already, Dad didn’t make it.  He passed away in November of 2010.  Meeting came out in August of 2011, but I managed to get an advance copy much earlier.  And it helped.
These aren’t the sort of books that are typically understood as grief recovery books.  They certainly don’t have to be read that way.  But they, along with a picture book by Oliver Jeffers (The Heart in the Bottle) were my grief recovery books.  They’re beautiful stories, even if you aren’t recovering from something, and really, how many of us don’t need to be reminded to look for everyday magic?

(Ok, the autobiographical dump is over.  You’re safe now.)
This giveaway is for a hardcover copy of both books in the Magic Next Door series.  To enter, just leave me a comment below telling me about a moment of everyday magic in your life.  It can be anything, any moment you felt magic.

Now, the winner of the Wednesdays in the Tower giveaway: Soonhee Blackburn.  Please email your address to and I’ll get your book in the post.
And don’t forget to check out the other giveaways that are still running.
House of Many Ways
Soulless manga
Chimes at Midnight
The Human Division 

7 Comments leave one →
  1. Meredith permalink
    December 20, 2013 8:06 pm

    I went through a difficult time a couple of years ago, and there were a lot of things that seemed to fall in place at exactly the right time to help me make it through. I met the right people who guided me to the other side. Some books in my queue waiting to be read happened to come up just when I needed them most. At a time when I was struggling to let go, I’m at a restaurant and the pen they give me to sign the bill says “let go and let God.” And without this experience I would not have shared a common bond with my dog I rescued from the shelter. I do not consider these things coincidences, and it has helped me open my my eyes to other wonderful moments of “everyday magic.”

  2. Isa Delgado permalink
    December 20, 2013 8:40 pm

    Thanks for the autobiographical piece. You had me in tears while I remembered how hard it was to have my dad fight cancer right after I had gotten past the 7 month long bed rest to have Ana. I was fortunate to have friends bring me books that helped. I’ll get these for Ana.

  3. Jasmine permalink
    December 25, 2013 8:53 pm

    A moment of magic for me was flying into St John’s last year before my brother’s wedding. I’d lived there for six months, so when I looked down at the city lights I could recognize them. I had this completely unexpected wave of “I’m Coming Home” hit me as we landed, and then I was pretty much bubbling with joy for the last leg of the trip. I don’t get homesick or excited about a place very often, so that was quite magical for me.


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