Finding the Childlike Magic Within

Guest Post by Haydyn Wallender.

For as long as she can remember, Scarlett Dragna has dreamed of Caraval: a magical show where fantasy and reality collide. Legend, the mastermind behind the show, has declined to return any of Scarlett’s letters of urgency to see his magic—until now.

Swept off of her island by a mysterious sailor, Scarlett and her sister Tella aren’t just players of the show—they are the main attractions. Whisked into a world where nothing is as it seems, and with countless warnings to not believe what her eyes tell her, Scarlett learns that following her heart is the only way to find the truth—and her sister—before it’s too late.

Garber’s language and characters make the magic of her story come to life. Creating a strong bond between her readers and her characters using childlike wonder, hope infuses the pages with every turn, despite all the tension, confusion, and panic that is a common theme throughout this novel.

This book marvelously captures what it’s like to be caught in between a child and a young adult, where themes of love, sisterhood, and courage fill the pages. Garber’s ease of writing a story so full of twists using these themes is evident in her style and the composition of her work; each chapter seems to build up to something larger, as if Legend himself is creating the storyline. It is a wonderful novel for all who are grasping for that little bit of child—and magic—still left in oneself.

“Magic will find those with pure hearts, even when all seems lost.” ―Morgan Rhodes


Caraval by Stephanie Garber. Flatiron Books, May 2018.

Reviewer bio: Haydyn Wallender is an insatiable reader, writer and reviewer. Her experience with written work(s) extends back through her undergraduate, where she earned a Bachelor of Arts in English at Washington State University. Her writing style and English-based experiences can be found at her website: (haydynwallendershowcase.com).

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