I have been waiting impatiently to finish my alphabetical blog posts so I could share this book with you. Finally, I’m able to do so! It’s an important new book from my cousin, Beverley Brenna. I hope it will be widely read and taken to heart.
Title: Fox Magic
Author: Beverley Brenna
Publisher: Markham, Ontario, Canada: Red Deer Press, 2017
Genre: Middle Grade Fiction for older middle grade kids
Audience Age: 10 and up
Themes/topics: Teen suicide, secrets, grief, hope, courage
Opening Sentences: The week after the Bad Thing happened, Chance is back in school.
Synopsis: As the review on the back cover says, “Beverley Brenna has done it again!” Actually, I think this is one of her best. It deals with a difficult subject, and some kids may find it hard to read. I strongly suggest that parents read it first, so they can help their child with questions and concerns as the child reads. As the book opens, we learn that Chance Devlin, the twelve-year-old main character, had been a part of a suicide pact with her two best friends. They went through with it, she chickened out. Now she’s dealing with grief, guilt that she didn’t stop them, guilt that she didn’t do it too, a feeling of obligation to them, continued bullying, and not feeling that she can talk to anyone about any of this. Through the help of her dad, and of a magic fox (perhaps an inner part of her?), she is finally able to face what happened and move on. This is an excellent book with a very good interview and topics for discussion as well as numbers to call and links to help websites for kids in need of counseling and/or immediate help, at the back of the book.
For Further Enrichment: There is a summary and a teacher’s guide at Bev’s website.
You can find the Kirkus review here.
There is an excellent (though brief) television interview with Bev available on the Fitzhenry & Whiteside publisher’s website.
The Canadian Association for Suicide Prevention gives resources for Canadians,
The Lifeline Canada Foundation has links to crisis lines in the United States, Canada, and other places across the globe, as well as resources.
Know the crisis line numbers for your own area, and keep them available. Talk with your kids. Make sure they know that they can reach out to crisis lines without being judged.
Availability: Readily available. Check your local or online independent bookstore!