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Salt Magic

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When a jealous witch curses her family's well, it's up to Vonceil to set things right in an epic journey that will leave her changed forever. When Vonceil's older brother, Elber, comes home to their family's Oklahoma farm after serving on the front lines of World War I, things aren't what she expects. His experiences have changed him into a serious and responsible man who d When a jealous witch curses her family's well, it's up to Vonceil to set things right in an epic journey that will leave her changed forever. When Vonceil's older brother, Elber, comes home to their family's Oklahoma farm after serving on the front lines of World War I, things aren't what she expects. His experiences have changed him into a serious and responsible man who doesn't have time for Vonceil anymore. He even marries the girl he had left behind. Then a mysterious and captivating woman shows up at the farm and confronts Elber for leaving her in France. When he refuses to leave his wife, she puts a curse on the family well, turning the entire town's water supply into saltwater. Who is this lady dressed all in white, what has she done to the farm, and what does Vonceil's old uncle Dell know about her? To find out, Vonceil will have to strike out on her own and delve deep into the world of witchcraft, confronting dangerous relatives, shapeshifting animals, a capricious Sugar Witch, and the Lady in White herself--the foreboding Salt Witch. The journey will change Vonceil, but along the way she'll learn a lot about love and what it means to grow up. Hope Larson is the author and illustrator of the Eisner Award nominated All Summer Long and the illustrator of the Eisner Award winning A Wrinkle in Time: The Graphic Novel. Salt Magic is an utterly unique graphic fairy tale complete with striking illustrations by Rebecca Mock.


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When a jealous witch curses her family's well, it's up to Vonceil to set things right in an epic journey that will leave her changed forever. When Vonceil's older brother, Elber, comes home to their family's Oklahoma farm after serving on the front lines of World War I, things aren't what she expects. His experiences have changed him into a serious and responsible man who d When a jealous witch curses her family's well, it's up to Vonceil to set things right in an epic journey that will leave her changed forever. When Vonceil's older brother, Elber, comes home to their family's Oklahoma farm after serving on the front lines of World War I, things aren't what she expects. His experiences have changed him into a serious and responsible man who doesn't have time for Vonceil anymore. He even marries the girl he had left behind. Then a mysterious and captivating woman shows up at the farm and confronts Elber for leaving her in France. When he refuses to leave his wife, she puts a curse on the family well, turning the entire town's water supply into saltwater. Who is this lady dressed all in white, what has she done to the farm, and what does Vonceil's old uncle Dell know about her? To find out, Vonceil will have to strike out on her own and delve deep into the world of witchcraft, confronting dangerous relatives, shapeshifting animals, a capricious Sugar Witch, and the Lady in White herself--the foreboding Salt Witch. The journey will change Vonceil, but along the way she'll learn a lot about love and what it means to grow up. Hope Larson is the author and illustrator of the Eisner Award nominated All Summer Long and the illustrator of the Eisner Award winning A Wrinkle in Time: The Graphic Novel. Salt Magic is an utterly unique graphic fairy tale complete with striking illustrations by Rebecca Mock.

30 review for Salt Magic

  1. 5 out of 5

    Madison

    This was really lovely! It has an Emily Carroll creepiness coupled with Studio Ghibli cozy-weirdness. It's surreal and beautiful and thoughtful, and I think kids that gravitate towards darker, more intense stories will totally devour it. This was really lovely! It has an Emily Carroll creepiness coupled with Studio Ghibli cozy-weirdness. It's surreal and beautiful and thoughtful, and I think kids that gravitate towards darker, more intense stories will totally devour it.

  2. 4 out of 5

    Celia McMahon

    I’m on a book tour for this book, so I’ll keep my thoughts to myself until then, but OMG. Do not sit out on this book!!

  3. 4 out of 5

    Maggie Tokuda-Hall

    I need to know why every single person I know isn't screaming about how perfect and beautiful this book is. Affecting, and surreal, just what I want from a fairytale. Absolutely gorgeous. I need to know why every single person I know isn't screaming about how perfect and beautiful this book is. Affecting, and surreal, just what I want from a fairytale. Absolutely gorgeous.

  4. 5 out of 5

    Nore

    Oof, ow, my heart. I was already in love with it, but that ending really cinched it for me. Maybe because I loved Little House on the Prairie as a kid (I joined the fan club!), but everything about this did it for me. The setting. The magic system, which felt intuitive and grounded despite being fantastical. The characters, including one very tragic villainness, which gets me as a fan of well-written terrible people. The gorgeous art, which made me slow down just to appreciate the pages even thou Oof, ow, my heart. I was already in love with it, but that ending really cinched it for me. Maybe because I loved Little House on the Prairie as a kid (I joined the fan club!), but everything about this did it for me. The setting. The magic system, which felt intuitive and grounded despite being fantastical. The characters, including one very tragic villainness, which gets me as a fan of well-written terrible people. The gorgeous art, which made me slow down just to appreciate the pages even though I wanted to devour the story. An endearing if annoying main character, who was just bratty and hard-headed enough to sell me on the wild adventure. I'm definitely buying a copy of this for my shelf at home - this blew me away.

  5. 4 out of 5

    Sarah

    4.5 stars. I need this to be a movie ASAP. It would look so beautiful animated

  6. 5 out of 5

    Rickele Bello

    I definitely need time to process this book before I give it a review. It was good, but I'm not really sure what I read. I definitely need time to process this book before I give it a review. It was good, but I'm not really sure what I read.

  7. 5 out of 5

    Doreen

    This stunningly original graphic novel tells a tale of life in Oklahoma after the Great War, when a young soldier returning from Europe triggers a curse, leaving his younger sister to find a way to save their family farm. Vonceil Taggart is the youngest of five children growing up on a farming homestead ten miles north of the nearest town. The Taggarts' farm has a freshwater spring that sustains them even when the rains fail, as they're threatening to do around the time Vonceil's beloved oldest b This stunningly original graphic novel tells a tale of life in Oklahoma after the Great War, when a young soldier returning from Europe triggers a curse, leaving his younger sister to find a way to save their family farm. Vonceil Taggart is the youngest of five children growing up on a farming homestead ten miles north of the nearest town. The Taggarts' farm has a freshwater spring that sustains them even when the rains fail, as they're threatening to do around the time Vonceil's beloved oldest brother Elber returns from fighting in Europe. To Vonceil's disappointment, Elber barely has time for her now, having eyes only for Amelia, the sweetheart he left behind. Vonceil finds Amelia crushingly dull, and had secretly prayed that Elber would meet and marry a sophisticated European beauty while deployed and whisk Vonceil off with them afterwards to tour the world. Instead, Elber seems fairly intent on being boring and grown-up and marrying Amelia and settling down in Oklahoma for good. When a beautiful Frenchwoman sweeps into town shortly after Elber's wedding, Vonceil feels instantly drawn to her. Greda is exotic and lovely, but has come bearing a grudge. Apparently, she and Elber had embarked on an affair while in Paris, and now she wants him to come away with her again. Elber refuses, at which point Greda curses the farm's spring, telling Elber and Vonceil that it will only run salt water till he forsakes his family and comes lives with her in Sere. Guilt-stricken at the thought that it was her own injudicious longing that caused all this, Vonceil embarks on a perilous mission to find Greda and Sere and lift the curse. Resourceful and smart, she figures out how to find this mythical place, making unlikely friends and rescuing the helpless in the process. But Greda won't lift the curse without exacting a price, one that may be more than even brave Vonceil can pay. Gosh, I cried at the end of this lovely, moving book, which moved me in a way I haven't felt since reading Mark Siegel's brilliant Sailor Twain. Salt Magic effortlessly blends American history and folklore with entirely new fantastic constructs to build a truly unique fairy tale suitable for ages 10 and up. Rebecca Mock's wonderfully emotive illustrations breathe life into Hope Larson's smart, thoughtful story, occasionally hiding important plot points in plain sight, where they can sneak up on the reader for another emotional sucker punch after you've just gotten over the first few. I really hope these authors write more set in this wildly original universe they've created. There are so many rich, wonderful characters I'd love to revisit in future books, especially if their stories are told as movingly as Vonceil's was here. Salt Magic by Hope Larson & Rebecca Mock was published October 12 2021 by Margaret Ferguson Books and is available from all good booksellers, including Bookshop!

  8. 4 out of 5

    Meredith

    Fairytale witches and the American West make for strange bedfellows, but I enjoyed it. I do wish this had been a little bit longer. The cast of characters is vast, and as a reader, you don't get to spend much time with any of them. I don't think that pages of backstory are needed, but I didn't feel like anyone's plight was very compelling because I didn't really know the key players at all. On the story alone, I'd probably have given it a solid three stars, but the illustrations are so stunning Fairytale witches and the American West make for strange bedfellows, but I enjoyed it. I do wish this had been a little bit longer. The cast of characters is vast, and as a reader, you don't get to spend much time with any of them. I don't think that pages of backstory are needed, but I didn't feel like anyone's plight was very compelling because I didn't really know the key players at all. On the story alone, I'd probably have given it a solid three stars, but the illustrations are so stunning that I had to bump up my rating.

  9. 5 out of 5

    Bonnie (A Backwards Story)

    There is nothing quite like the magic of picking up a new work and discovering an instant classic, one you could instantly see animation studios fighting over movie rights for. SALT MAGIC has that sparkle and has a bit of a Studio Ghibli aesthetic that would make the perfect pairing, but also has a whimsy that would appeal to Disney lovers. I first discovered the writing / illustration team of Hope Larson and Rebecca Mock a couple of years ago when I read former New York Times Best Selling Graph There is nothing quite like the magic of picking up a new work and discovering an instant classic, one you could instantly see animation studios fighting over movie rights for. SALT MAGIC has that sparkle and has a bit of a Studio Ghibli aesthetic that would make the perfect pairing, but also has a whimsy that would appeal to Disney lovers. I first discovered the writing / illustration team of Hope Larson and Rebecca Mock a couple of years ago when I read former New York Times Best Selling Graphic Novel Compass SouthCOMPASS SOUTH and its sequel Knife's EdgeKNIFE'S EDGE. Larson has since won an Eisner Award for A Wrinkle in Time: The Graphic NovelA WRINKLE IN TIME: THE GRAPHIC NOVEL, and an Eisner Nomination for All Summer LongALL SUMMER LONG. SALT MAGIC is just as adventurous and big-hearted as COMPASS SOUTH, full of magic and whimsy and the lengths one will go for family. Set in Oklahoma during the early 1900s, our spunky heroine Vonceil is ecstatic when her her older brother Elber returns home after serving during World War I, but is quickly upset when he instantly proposes to his sweetheart Amelia. Vonceil resents Amelia, who isn't "right" for her beloved brother. She isn't adventurous enough, and Vonceil wishes he'd found a girl in Paris and she could have gone abroad with him, and the three of them could have gone on adventures together. She doesn't understand why he would want to settle down in Oklahoma and become a boring adult. When a spurned nurse who helped heal Elber in France comes to Oklahoma to claim his hand only to find out he is married, she reveals herself to be a powerful Salt Witch and curses the family. From now on, there will only be salt water and their land will be ruined. Vonceil refuses to let this witch ruin her family's livelihood and happiness, and sets off on a quest to find her and make things right -- but is she willing to make a hard sacrifice in order to save her family? Middle-grade readers will embrace Vonceil and go on the journey of a lifetime with her. She's a plucky youth unafraid to brave the wild west on her own in the dead of night, knowing little about her opponent or where to find her, and encountering various horrors and unexpected help along the way. It is a spoiler to say too much about some of the plot, but some of the stand out characters are Crazy Great Uncle Dill, who seems at first to be a stereotypical throwaway character but turns into so much more, and a dangerous but beautiful Sugar Witch, who you can see in the below panel. Once I met her, I couldn't stop seeing an animated movie in my head! (And also, I kind of want a spin-off centered around her now because SPOILERS......) The graphic novel is a perfect blend of whimsy and danger, and balances itself well. Sometimes stand-alone stories can feel rushed and incomplete, but SALT MAGIC paced itself well and never felt like too much or too little. Vonceil's quest felt epic and full, and the stakes were properly high, as was the payoff. This is the perfect enchanting, captivating tale to appeal to readers of all ages and genders. If you need a great holiday impulse gift this year, take a look at SALT MAGIC!

  10. 5 out of 5

    kell_xavi

    A story about a young girl’s quest to save her family’s water source and her brother’s choice not to love a powerful, beautiful woman. The artwork, especially the colours, create a wondrous atmosphere and bring out the characters, who are rich and multiple, well. Vonciel is a protagonist with great instincts and the intelligence, bravery, and love to support them. There are a couple of moments that fed into one another a bit too easily, which I questioned, and it was wrapped up more cleanly than A story about a young girl’s quest to save her family’s water source and her brother’s choice not to love a powerful, beautiful woman. The artwork, especially the colours, create a wondrous atmosphere and bring out the characters, who are rich and multiple, well. Vonciel is a protagonist with great instincts and the intelligence, bravery, and love to support them. There are a couple of moments that fed into one another a bit too easily, which I questioned, and it was wrapped up more cleanly than necessary—ambiguity aids imagination (and sequels)!—but these weren’t prominent faults. This is a lively story, blending the realism of war, rural family life, and exploring the land for better well-being with the astonishment of magic and its particular shades and rules. A little Diana Wynn Jones, a little Ghibli. What pleased me most, though, was how a sprinkling of tropes (talking animals! spells! romance!) brought their precedents to life while creating a whole new, suspenseful folkloric narrative with so much to love. Terrific!

  11. 4 out of 5

    Ellen Achey

    This book was such a genuinely lovely story. I love a good graphic novel, and this one was a pleasure. Characters may not be who they seem, but isn’t that always the case when magic is involved? In many ways, this is a coming of age story…albeit, one with witches, lost love, and the realization that sometimes we don’t know people as well as we thought. It’s also a testament to the lengths that we will go to for family. Make sure you check this book out for yourself to experience the magic! For t This book was such a genuinely lovely story. I love a good graphic novel, and this one was a pleasure. Characters may not be who they seem, but isn’t that always the case when magic is involved? In many ways, this is a coming of age story…albeit, one with witches, lost love, and the realization that sometimes we don’t know people as well as we thought. It’s also a testament to the lengths that we will go to for family. Make sure you check this book out for yourself to experience the magic! For teachers: this could be a great book to pair with other fairy tales, to look at characterization, motivation, or theme.

  12. 5 out of 5

    Lata

    A creepy, beautiful and wistful story of a young girl, Vonceil, who goes on a journey to save her family (and their farm’s water) after a jealous witch transforms it all to saltwater because Vonceil’s older brother rejected the witch’s offer of an immortal relationship with her. Vonceil’s tough, brash, and willing to make hard choices and bargains, and the artwork’s lovely.

  13. 5 out of 5

    Mii

    Oh wow..magic and so beautiful. I thought I was going to hate our little Vonceil, but she turned out great and I ended up loving her instead..it also helps that she was sooo pretty in that dress.. The ending kinda confuse me though? About the years.. Other than that, this was definitely a nice read :)

  14. 4 out of 5

    Jace

    the art is amazing, i read compass south a while back, they never miss, especially the atmosphere of every setting, each character stood out in design, story, and personality, it is 100% recommended from me

  15. 5 out of 5

    Sinistmer

    This was a great adventure; I am a sucker for stories with fairy tale and mythology inspiration. The story weaves historical elements and has a determined, brave heroine in Vonceil. The art is lovely and took me to both the prairie and witches’ houses ; some of the designs have a bit of a manga feel.

  16. 4 out of 5

    Caleb

    A magical tale of a little girl, a salt witch and family. A beautiful read with beautiful art to pair with it. I didn't love the ending but thought that the general story overall was wonderful! I'm not a huge fan of time skips in stories and that's my only problem with it. A magical tale of a little girl, a salt witch and family. A beautiful read with beautiful art to pair with it. I didn't love the ending but thought that the general story overall was wonderful! I'm not a huge fan of time skips in stories and that's my only problem with it.

  17. 4 out of 5

    Ksenia

    Hope Larson is one of my faves and this did not disappoint!

  18. 4 out of 5

    Anna Beth

    I LOVED THIS!

  19. 4 out of 5

    Dewi

    favorite quote : The most dangerous men are the ones with something to prove.

  20. 5 out of 5

    Kamya P.

    This book was amazing. I loved all the drawings and the plotline keeps you hooked. The pictures really gave you the story and they really helped! I wished they had added a bit of background information. The book just started out and I was very confused. I really liked this book! If you like some magic and like graphic novels, this book is for you! If you don't like graphic novels, this book is probably not for you. This book was amazing. I loved all the drawings and the plotline keeps you hooked. The pictures really gave you the story and they really helped! I wished they had added a bit of background information. The book just started out and I was very confused. I really liked this book! If you like some magic and like graphic novels, this book is for you! If you don't like graphic novels, this book is probably not for you.

  21. 4 out of 5

    Darcy Roar

    Absolutely perfect. Larson has managed to distill that Ghibli essence onto a page (no doubt through her own magic powers), who could ask for more? Also, where do I sign-up to be a candy witch?

  22. 4 out of 5

    Jerry Bennett

    An unexpected delightful fantasy! What I thought would be a slice-of-life story, which is how it joyfully starts out, with great characters and a solid beginning, quickly transforms into a surprisingly mesmerizing and non-stop whimsical fantasy I couldn’t turn pages fast enough to absorb. It’s a fantastic adventure with a lot of heart. The main character, Vonceil, who was a delight to follow through her entire journey. I blazed far too quickly, because now I shall have to go back to better take in An unexpected delightful fantasy! What I thought would be a slice-of-life story, which is how it joyfully starts out, with great characters and a solid beginning, quickly transforms into a surprisingly mesmerizing and non-stop whimsical fantasy I couldn’t turn pages fast enough to absorb. It’s a fantastic adventure with a lot of heart. The main character, Vonceil, who was a delight to follow through her entire journey. I blazed far too quickly, because now I shall have to go back to better take in and appreciate the gorgeous art from Rebecca Mock, who creates some fantastic imagery.

  23. 5 out of 5

    Kat

    This was absolutely amazing!!!! Grand in scale, with a distinct Ghibli feel - the art is cute but the story is so much deeper than I was expecting. It’s a surreal fairytale and coming-of-age adventure mixed into one, with morally gray characters and a bittersweet ending. I cannot recommend this enough.

  24. 4 out of 5

    Nurdhiya Adriana

    This book is litterally my favourite book🥰🥰🥰🥰🥰❤️❤️.

  25. 5 out of 5

    Amitha

    This was so good. As soon as I finished it, I wanted to read it again!

  26. 5 out of 5

    Ashley

    A gorgeous, spellbinding fairy tale - I could have used at least 200 extra pages. Loved the epilogue, it made me cry.

  27. 4 out of 5

    Amanda Shepard (Between-the-Shelves)

    One of my favorite things about this graphic novel is the color palette. It is absolutely gorgeous. While I thought the story itself lagged a bit in the middle, the magical world building was well done. It was something I hadn't really seen before, and Vonceil is such a strong willed character. I loved her tenacity. She's really what makes the book, with the art! One of my favorite things about this graphic novel is the color palette. It is absolutely gorgeous. While I thought the story itself lagged a bit in the middle, the magical world building was well done. It was something I hadn't really seen before, and Vonceil is such a strong willed character. I loved her tenacity. She's really what makes the book, with the art!

  28. 5 out of 5

    Ben Truong

    Salt Magic is a graphic novel written by Hope Larson and illustrated by Rebecca Mock. It is an eerie graphic novel that slides from apparent historical fiction into an unsettling fairy tale. When her older brother Elber returns to Gypsum, Oklahoma from the First World War profoundly changed and ready to settle down, 12-year-old Vonceil misses his adventurous spirit, which previously matched her own. After Elber marries his sweetheart, Amelia – accused at the wedding of being a witch, his past intr Salt Magic is a graphic novel written by Hope Larson and illustrated by Rebecca Mock. It is an eerie graphic novel that slides from apparent historical fiction into an unsettling fairy tale. When her older brother Elber returns to Gypsum, Oklahoma from the First World War profoundly changed and ready to settle down, 12-year-old Vonceil misses his adventurous spirit, which previously matched her own. After Elber marries his sweetheart, Amelia – accused at the wedding of being a witch, his past intrudes in the form of the arrival of an elegant woman who nursed him in Paris. Spurned, the newcomer turns the family spring – the only reliable source of water in a drought affecting the farming community to saline. Determined to lift the curse, Vonceil rides out at night, encountering her bizarre family history and a hidden world of dangerous magical beings that will require grit, resourcefulness, and unexpected allies to navigate. Salt Magic is written and constructed rather well. Mock's washed-out, dusty palette and carefully observed fashion swiftly conjures rural Oklahoma in 1919, while occasional bursts of bright, clear color separate the magical from the mundane. Despite uneven pacing at some transitional moments, this story unfolds skillfully, taking time to develop memorable heroine Vonceil and her quotidian world, before setting her on an adventure that echoes fantasy classics yet feels entirely distinct. All in all, Salt Magic is an unusual and excellent graphic novel, containing wonder within.

  29. 4 out of 5

    Andrea

    Visually stunning with a fun story.

  30. 5 out of 5

    Andrew

    Salt Magic is an enrapturing mix of historical fiction and magical realism! Bold and hardy Vonceil is the youngest sibling in her big family, though she relates most to her older brother Elber-- but he hasn't been as fun since he returned to Oklahoma from the army. When Elber refuses to leave home with a witch he'd met in France, she curses the family's water supply, and it's up to Vonceil to undo it. Salt Magic is a gorgeously illustrated standalone adventure that's sure to captivate readers yo Salt Magic is an enrapturing mix of historical fiction and magical realism! Bold and hardy Vonceil is the youngest sibling in her big family, though she relates most to her older brother Elber-- but he hasn't been as fun since he returned to Oklahoma from the army. When Elber refuses to leave home with a witch he'd met in France, she curses the family's water supply, and it's up to Vonceil to undo it. Salt Magic is a gorgeously illustrated standalone adventure that's sure to captivate readers young and old.

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