All the Answers by Kate Messner

Published by Bloomsbury USA Children’s

Summary: Ava’s sweating it out through another math quiz when she hears a voice giving her the right answer. She’s surprised that no one else can hear the voice, but is grateful that it helps her ace the quiz. Eventually she discovers that the voice is coming from the pencil she found in the junk drawer as she was rushing to get ready for school. She and her friend Sophie learn how to use the pencil to uncover answers about the people around them. At first it seems great but then, as so often is the case with magic, complications arise. Ava discovers that knowing people’s secrets isn’t always for the best and learns that she really is brave enough to make it through the tough times in her life on her own. Recommended for grades 4-6.

Pros: Fans of Wendy Mass’s Willow Falls book will enjoy this realistic fiction story with a little magic thrown in.

Cons: Unfortunately, this is just a realistic story with a single magical element. It doesn’t quite come up to the level of Wendy Mass or Lisa Graff’s A Tangle of Knots in weaving magic through the whole story with a big wow at the end.

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