In a multilayered fantasy set in the world of Sparkers (2014), lawmakers segregate the magical kasir elite from the impoverished and powerless halan, even when it means breaking families apart. That’s how twins Rivka and Arik were separated, with strict orders never to see or speak about each other again. But the political tides are turning, and as Rivka launches a search for her brother, she is caught up in a radical plot to force the parliament to abolish Family Law. Glewwe’s city-state of Ashara is an immersive world with social divisions that are simultaneously familiar and foreign. The ghettos and mistreatment of the lower class hark back to the Nazi occupation of Jewish neighborhoods, the integration of a deaf halan boy into a kasir school recalls Brown v. Board of Education–era America, and the faceless Society—magicians with hidden identities who use brute force to keep the peace—evoke images of modern-day police in riot gear. Rivka and her friends are strong-willed, fiercely intelligent, and fearless as they set out to take down the status quo. Ages 10–up. Agent: Daniel Lazar, Writers House. (Nov.)
Rivka is one of the magical elite and the daughter of an important ambassador. But she harbors a deep secret: She once had a twin brother, Arik. When Arik failed to develop his own magical abilities, the government declared him a wilding, removed him from his home, placed him with non-magical adoptive parents, and forbade him any contact with his birth family. Now it is as if he never existed at all.
But Rivka refuses to forget her twin brother. Even though she knows she could lose everything—her father, her friends, even her freedom—she sets out to find Arik. She has nothing to go on except her still-new magical powers and her love for her brother. Can that possibly be enough to bring them together again, when all of society believes they belong apart?
Praise for Wildings
“This is a thoughtful adventure, with magic seeping through the pages.”—School Library Journal
"This book features a richly developed world, with a strong, young female protagonist who fights to correct a social wrong against long odds. . . . Will appeal to fans of fiction with strong elements of fantasy and magic."—VOYA
"Glewwe’s city-state of Ashara is an immersive world with social divisions that are simultaneously familiar and foreign."—Publishers Weekly
"Rivka’s not always easy to like but she is easy to respect, and her fierce, unwavering determination to get her twin back is inspiring."—Bulletin of the Center for Children's Books
"Examines the difficulty of completely eradicating systemic injustice. . . . Bittersweet but hopeful."—Kirkus Reviews
Praise for Eleanor Glewwe's Sparkers
"I love a well-built world, and this is as deep, delightful, and lived-in as any I've visited. It's a place where combating terrible evil requires not just magic but music, friendship, and an abiding love of books. I hope SPARKERS is just our first foray into Glewwe's imagination; I'm already ready to visit again!" —Rachel Hartman, author of The New York Times bestseller Seraphina
"Sparkers will draw readers in to an incredible world where magic is real—and dangerous—but a brave pair of kids can make all the difference. The twists and turns and surprises kept me riveted all the way to the end." —Margaret Peterson Haddix, author of The New York Times bestselling series The Missing
"Rich with music, magic, and devotion to friends and family, the world of Sparkers will ignite your imagination." —Ingrid Law, author of the Newbery Honor Book Savvy
“In the entrancing Sparkers, terrible secrets are hidden among lost spells, forgotten languages, and forbidden books, and still one beautiful truth shines clearly through: Adults may have all the power, but it’s kids who can change the world. I loved this book.” —Anne Ursu, author of Breadcrumbs
* "Social injustice is a rare theme in middle-grade fantasy, but Glewwe conveys the insidious poison of prejudice by grounding the narrative in evocative details. . . A compelling story on a difficult topic, addressed with maturity and grace." —Kirkus Reviews, starred review
"This book holds all that fantasy readers could desire: magic, intrigue, mysterious characters, ancient curses, and a dark evil that must be defeated. Not everything is wrapped up neatly, and the various characters are multilayerd, neither all good nor all bad. A worthy and worthwhile stand-alone book in a genre so often serialized." —School Library Journal
Gr 5–8—Rivka Kadmiel accompanies her ambassador father to Ashara for one reason: to find her lost twin brother, Arik. At age 10, Rivka passed her magic test, remaining in her kasiri (upper-class) family while Arik, a nonmagical wilding, was immediately placed with a halani (lower-class) family in the country of Ashara. Rivka works fiercely to locate her brother with the help of her new school friend, Caleb. Rivka shares class notes with Caleb, since he has hearing loss, and Caleb connects Rivka to Arik and other halani families. The strict "family laws" prohibit kasiri and halani from mixing, and Rivka's future with Arik seems uncertain unless the laws are overturned. She works with her brother and social activists Marah Levi and Azariah to legally reunite wilding families in an exciting courtroom battle. This sequel to Sparkers, Marah and Azariah's story, is not a stand-alone novel. Kasiri and halani terminology are not clearly explained from the beginning, although there is a glossary in the back. Glewwe writes Rivka's tale in first-person present tense, which seems choppy and awkward at the start but immediate and urgent in the final scenes. While Arik doesn't match Rivka for loyalty and bravery, Rivka's growing understanding of the function of law and her passion for creating a just society are inspiring. This is a thoughtful adventure, with magic seeping through the pages. VERDICT Don't hesitate to purchase this morality-driven fantasy where Sparkers has fans.—Caitlin Augusta, Stratford Library Association, CT
Aug. 30, 2016
After the revolution, the hard work begins.Four years ago Ashara overthrew its genocidal “kasir” (magician) leaders for a United Parliament of both kasiri and the “halan” underclass, but oppression—legal and otherwise—still continues. Rivka Kadmiel, of aristocratic kasir lineage, thinks little about prejudice until her twin brother, Arik, lacking magic, is declared a “wilding” and removed to a halan family. Rivka vows to find him again, but both law and society forbid her even to learn his new name. This follow-up to the well-received Sparkers (2014) examines the difficulty of completely eradicating systemic injustice. Glewwe portrays not only the corrosive (and mutual) enmity between kasiri and halani, but also the complex, layered intersections of class, nationality, ethnicity, and disability (but not, surprisingly, gender). Characters from the first novel reappear, although in irritatingly saintly guise, but the focus is firmly on Rivka. With her unacknowledged privilege, her stubborn, unconscious bigotry, her deliberate alienation from family and friends, and her tendency to evaluate every acquaintance for potential usefulness, Rivka is difficult to like. Still, her fierce determination and ferocious devotion to her twin demand respect, and she gathers friends almost against her will. The final confrontation between the bitter halani in Ashara’s government and the children representing the city’s future is inspiring in its depiction of the power of simple family love. Bittersweet but hopeful. (Fantasy. 10-15)
Read an Excerpt
“I’m ashamed of you, Rivka,” Father said. Even though I hated him, his words still made me feel worthless. “I thought you had grasped how the world worked. Evidently you have not, so listen to me. You are a kasir. You are a magician. You are not like the halani. They are not like us. None of them. And we do not mix with halani. Do you understand?”
What I heard was: Your brother is a halan. He is dead to us. You are never to see him again.
“Do you understand?” Father demanded.
“Yes,” I lied.