I enjoyed this multiple award-winner, but I can’t decide if it is more of a realistic young adult novel, a fantasy, or a science fiction novel.
The novel is told in first person by Morwenna (Mori) Phelps, who tells us that her mother is a mad witch who tried to take over the world and that Mori and her twin sister defeated her mother with the help of the Welsh fairies that the twins talked to. However, in the process, Mori’s sister died and Mori was crippled. It sounds like a fantasy, yes – but we never actually see this action. We have to take Mori’s word for it. The story starts a year later, when Mori is sent off to boarding school. Most of the book seems like a young adult diary, mostly centered around the SF novels that Mori absorbs. She has lots of time to read at school because she can’t play sports. There is also a romance and more talking to fairies – maybe. Is Mori telling the truth or is she imagining what has happened in her life?
What is undeniably excellent about this book is its depiction of the “outsider” in school, the bright teenager who does not fit in, is not interested in being part of the crowd, but feels lost in her defiance at the same time.