Unseen Magic by Emily Lloyd-Jones

genre: middle grade fantasy

Magic exists in the town of Aldermere, but not the way you would expect. It’s not ghosts, witches, and vampires; it’s more unique than that. If you open a door that isn’t labeled, you might end up a random place in town. Sometimes the tea shop disappears, and winds up in a different spot.

When Fin moved to town with her mother, she was introduced to the type of magic that exists in Aldermere. She also got introduced to the magic tea in the tea shop – a special type of tea that can grant your requests in exchange for a memory. Fin has so much anxiety and so many fears, that she uses the tea to make her calmer. But one day the woman who runs the tea shop is rushed to the hospital, and Fin can feel her fears coming back. Having seen the tea made so many times, she feels confident that she can make it correctly, so she sneaks into the tea shop and does so. But when she disposes of the used tea leaves in the wrong way, they comes to life and start wreaking havoc on the town. 

The tea leaf monster looks exactly like Fin and seems bent on destroying some of the greatest parts of Aldermere and hurting Fin’s friends. But with the help of her cousin and a new friend, maybe she can defeat the monster. If only she can get the tea leaf monster to stop stealing things, burning sheds, and breaking and entering! 

If you, the reader, don’t know what the term “cottagecore” means, look it up and then come back to this review! This book is so cottagecore that the antagonist is made out of tea leaves! The story is told beautifully, and I loved the exploration of anxiety. The book makes it very clear that the magical tea leaves are not a cure for the anxiety, that professional help is the answer. But that lesson is interlaced with magic and enchanted shops and evil doppelg√§ngers. 

I highly recommend this one to middle grade readers. You won’t be disappointed! 

– Darcy Lepore, Library Director 

Unseen Magic by Emily Lloyd-Jones