Eva Evergreen is determined to earn the rank of Novice Witch before she turns thirteen years old. If she doesn't, she'll lose her magic forever. For most young witches and wizards, it's a simple enough test:
ONE: Help your town, do good all around. TWO: Live there for one moon, don't leave too soon. THREE: Fly home by broomstick, the easiest of tricks.
The only problem? Eva only has a pinch of magic. She summons heads of cabbage instead of flowers and gets a sunburn instead of calling down rain. And to add insult to injury, whenever she overuses her magic, she falls asleep.
When she lands on the tranquil coastal town of Auteri, the residents expect a powerful witch, not a semi-magical girl. So Eva comes up with a plan: set up a magical repair shop to aid Auteri and prove she's worthy. She may have more blood than magic, but her "semi-magical fixes" repair the lives of the townspeople in ways they never could have imagined. Only, Eva's bit of magic may not be enough when the biggest magical storm in history threatens the town she's grown to love. Eva must conjure up all of the magic, bravery, and cleverness she can muster or Auteri and her dreams of becoming a witch will wash away with the storm.
Julie Abe is the author of the EVA EVERGREEN, SEMI-MAGICAL WITCH middle grade fantasy series; the middle grade fantasy ALLIANA, GIRL OF DRAGONS; and the young adult novel THE CHARMED LIST. She has lived in Silicon Valley, spent many humid summers in Japan, and currently basks in the sunshine of Southern California with never enough books or tea, where she creates stories about magical adventures.
This book was an absolute ray of sunshine. It took me a little while to get through because of life but everytime I sat down to read it was a delight. It showcases the power of friendship, how much willpower and support can do and that we all have self-doubt that we sometimes need help to overcome.
My official blurb: "Eva Evergreen sparkles with magical whimsy that will remind readers of Kiki's Delivery Service! With a delightful cast of characters, Abe creates a rich world filled with intrigue, friendship, and of course magic. Eva is a charming, sometimes bumbling, but always well-intentioned Novice Witch who will have readers rooting for her from page one!"
This book is a pure boost of serotonin. This whole story was such a happy experience and everything was so wholesome and sweet, but never faltered from approaching deeper emotional depth with nuance.
Eva Evergreen is the daughter of a very powerful and renowned witch but she herself “only” holds a pinch of magic. Spells don’t come to her as easily as they do to other witches and wizards, they sometimes go awry, and using her magic makes her fall asleep. However, she is determined to go on her Novice Quest to prove herself and help out a town in need. Eva ends up in Auteri and she wonders how much she can help the townspeople before The Culling, an ominous magical storm, reaches them. She is however determined and sets up a semi-magical repair shop and while her techniques might not be 100% magical, doing things her own way might just be what will save them.
Eva is such an easy character to root for! She is determined and passionate, and she just wants to do good. She wants to make life better for the people around her while still being realistically portrayed as a 13 year old with some mood swings and pouty moments. Ultimately she believes in herself and what she’s striving for and she won’t back down no matter how kind and accommodating she can still be to others.
This story goes in a lot of depth when it comes to discussing the weight of expectations. Eva has to wrestle with her own expectations as well as the expectations of others. She looks up to her mother (who is by the way very encouraging, nurturing, and really believes in her daughter’s potential and power) a lot and wishes she could be that powerful. There is also the world’s expectations of what it means to be a witch and Eva does not quite fit in with those preconceived notions. Throughout the book she feels the gaze and judgment of many people but she slowly finds her own way, understanding how to put her magic to the best use possible, how her unique way of doing things works and is not to be dismissed.
Despite the obstacles and naysayers in her way, Eva also finds true and strong friendships along the way. What I liked about all of them is that they were each a little different and the dynamics were distinctive between all these different characters. It made for a heartwarming and wholesome read where all these interactions made me feel a lot of emotions and happiness. I just love good friendships and this was spot on.
The one character that truly stole the show though was Amber, Eva’s new flamefox. Amber is loyal, mischievous and a bit of a troublemaker which makes him into a perfect, very personable and lovable, sidekick. Amber’s and Eva’s bond also felt truly special and there wasn’t a moment where I doubted they loved each other fiercely and his presence brought me a lot of joy.
The book does not shy away from darker topics as The Culling approaches and the townspeople start to worry about what could happen to them. There are also mentions of grief and absent parental figures and how they affect the children concerned.
At the end of the day it was just heartwarming to see the power of everyone coming together, of believing in yourself and your abilities, and of relying on your friends and the people who support you.
I’m honestly very excited for the next book to come out as the ending hints at broader issues in this world and I also just want to spend forever following Eva’s and Amber’s adventures with magic!
2022 Reread: I read this aloud to my kids and it really is a great book, though on re-read I think it's a bit slow to start and could be faster paced for this age group. That said, it's still lovely and charming. I look forward to book 2!
If you're looking for a charming, whimsical middle grade fantasy that you could hand to an advanced reader as young as 8, definitely check this one out! I loved my time with Eva, a young witch with just a pinch of magic going on her Novice quest to prove herself as a witch. Her mother is a powerful witch and Eva questions whether she can live up to that, but she perseveres despite the odds stacked against her!
It's a beautiful story about friendship, found family, hard work, and creativity. Absolutely loved it! Also she has an adorably mischievous fire fox companion. Definitely check it out.
Wow, what a spectacular debut! Eva Evergreen, Semi-Magical Witch is a wholesome witchy middle-grade and I adored it!
- Follows Evalithimus "Eva" Evergreen, a young witch who only has a pinch of magic. To earn her rank as a 'Novice Witch', Eva must travel to a distant town, help its townpeople, and 'do good'. - The world of this book is wonderfully realised and has a hint of Japanese influence. Readers will delight in how imaginative, charming, and visual the storytelling is. - Eva Evergreen is such a wonderful character and I loved her. She faces many adversaries, doubts herself, and has many vulnerable moments, but I loved how the story embraces the validity of these doubts while also being incredibly empowering and heart-warming. - Though this story is incredibly wholesome, I was also excited by the ever-present threat of 'The Culling', a powerful and magical storm that threatens Eva's world every year, and how this tied into the overarching story, Eva's development, and the book's sequel. - I went into this book expecting this book to be heavily influenced by Kiki's Delivery Service - and I was wrong! Though superficial elements of both stories have similarities, the heart of both stories are very different. While Kiki is a coming-of-age about a girl who grapples with change and growing up, Eva Evergreen is more about fighting people's expectations of you and doing your best anyway and celebrates the friendships that empower us.
I received a copy of this book for free as part of an Instagram book tour (Storygram Tours) I did to promote the book.
This was the cutest book ever! Seriously. It was like a Studio Ghibli movie in book form.
First off, the world building in this book was incredible. I could easily picture the quaint seaside town of Auteri with all its little shops and its Festival of Lights. I wish it was a real place!
The characters were another highlight. They were all so lovable. I loved Eva’s friends, Davy and Charlotte. Watching their bond and friendship grow throughout the story was so heartwarming. The townspeople were also charming. I loved how they came together and helped Eva.
The book also had cute illustrations at the beginning of each chapter. The art style is similar to the cover art, very Japanese inspired. The pictures added to the whimsical nature of the book.
The only thing that this book needed was a map. The world wasn’t overly complicated that it needed a map to be comprehensible, but maps in fantasy books are always so helpful, so I prefer them.
Overall, this was a feel good, wholesome, witchy read, perfect for spooky season. Readers of all ages will love reading about Eva and her adventures. I can’t wait to get my hands on the sequel!
My kid loved it. I had mixed feelings about the obvious Kiki's Delivery Service elements, which are cool but also intentionally derivative. Anyway, it's its own thing and overall a lovely experience. There are some very tense scenes that had my kid begging me to keep reading!
I was so excited to pick up and read EVA EVERGREEN, SEMI-MAGICAL WITCH, and it was wonderful to have this middle grade fantasy be just as excellent as I’d hoped! With hallmarks that brought to mind its comp title Kiki’s Delivery Service, Julie Abe has truly written a charming story about a semi-magical witch trying to make a way for herself and falling in love with a small town and its residents (and a flamefox) along the way! Cannot wait for the sequel.
I had a bit of a witchy night last night, as after reading Kiki I determined I had to at least start Eva Evergreen and ended up staying up until about 5 am to finish it. Honestly, I'd say Eva is Kiki's slightly more mature older sister, even if she is younger than Kiki.
Eve Evergreen is the daughter of Nela Evergreen, a Grandmaster witch, one of the two most powerful witches in the realm. Eva wants nothing more than to be like her mother, unfortunately for Eva, she not only came into her magic late in life, she has only just a pinch of it and that pinch seemingly always does the exact opposite of what Eva wants it to do. But Eva is not going to go give up so on the morning of the Council meeting to present twelve-year-old witches with their Quest Ticket Eva and her mother are both dismayed to find that her name isn't on the list; quite the opposite actually as Hayato, who is the head of the Council has decided to strip Eva of her magic entirely! Eva is terrified but stands up to Hayota reminding him that even if she only has just a pinch of magic she must be allowed to go on her novice quest! Ticket in hand Eva is off to find the town that needs her the most only she falls asleep on the boat and discovers that she may have missed her stop. Having little choice (she certainly can't go back to Hayato and tell him she fell asleep) she gets off the boat at Auteri, the last stop. This may not be where Eva was *supposed* to be but it's where she is now, and if Rin the kindly woman she met on the boat has any say on it, it will be where she stays. The Mayor of Auteri and Rin's mother however is adamant that Eva is too young to be of any help to her town, only a chance situation convinces her that Eva can stay. That and the stipulation that Eva *must* protect Auteri from the Culling, a magically formed storm that even her mother has never been able to stop. Eva agrees to this even though she has no idea how she can do what so many other witches and wizards cannot, especially since she only has a pinch of magic. But the longer she stays in Auteri the more determined Eva is to save her new friends.
This really was the perfect coming-of-age book. Eva struggles with the many issues that kids her age face from feelings of inadequecy to not knowing how to handle interpersonal relationships. She's also very stuck with this idea that there's only one way to solve a problem which interferes with her ability to see her own strengths. She compares herself to everyone around her and even as an adult I can relate to that. It's hard to see what your good at when you look around and it seems like everyone else is doing so much better than you are. Abe addresses this very well and instead of Eva seeming wishy-washy (as I was afraid was going to happen) Eva comes across as a child genuinely struggling to find herself and never giving up. While the coming of the Culling is her big test in this instead of it being Eva all of a sudden discovering that she *can* do this the entire book leads up to this moment, with small victories along the way.
What really stood out for me the most with this book was Eva's support group. Her family and friends were such an integral portion of her story. They never push her too hard they are just constantly there for her reminding her that her magic may not work like everyone else's but that's what makes it so unique and perfect for the tasks placed in front of her. Charlotte though, I think I enjoyed the most because her character represented an issue a lot of children their age face and that's not really knowing how to interact with other children. I don't think this is something that is addressed often enough. We put her children in school for socialization as well as education but so many kids reach middle school and they don't know how to deal with other kids and so they take the route that Charlotte does and that's to be very standoffish. She wants to be friends with Eva desperately and Eva does as well but they simply don't know how to communicate that. In the book, this, of course, ends well but in reality, more often than not it doesn't and I don't think as adults and as parents, it's something we think about ever. There are so many other things to think about when raising a child and as adults, we have no choice in the matter we have to interact with people, we truly forget how difficult it can be. I appreciated the addition of this as something that both Eva and Charlotte have to overcome. As a parent, it was a great reminder of something my own children may struggle with.
Overall, this is another one I would recommend to someone of any age. For adults, this book was a great reminder to believe in yourself and to rely on your support group when things get rough. As a parent, it reminded me to think like a child again, especially in terms of things they face when it comes to socializing and self-esteem. And for the middle-grade group, I think this is a wonderful story that they can really see themselves in. That they aren't so alone in the world. An easy five stars and I'm heading to the library first thing Monday morning to grab the next book in the series.
4.5/5 Well this was so heartwarming and the ending definitely made me cry a little bit. Where's book 2!?!
Eva Evergreen: Semi-magical witch is about young Eva who is getting ready to take her novice quest. She must pass this quest in order to begin her witch training or she'll have her magic taken away forever. Normally this is very easy, but Eva only has a pinch of magic. When she arrives at the town of Auteri, they're expecting a powerful witch, not a semi-magical girl. But Eva is determined to prove her worth. She opens a repair shop and her semi-magical fixes repair the town in ways they never expected.
I loved this book so much. It's a magical book about a girl determined to prove her worth and finding the friends who help her make it family. The friendships Eva makes while in Auteri made me so happy. I really hope we get to see her come back to Auteri one day.
I loved seeing Eva come up with her semi-magical fixes. She tries so hard and I love how clever she is. I can't wait to see her continue to grow her magical powers and her intellect. I have several theories about the Culling (mysterious and disastrous storms) and who is behind them. Can't wait to see if book 2 has answers!
Rep: Japanese inspired cast and setting. female side character uses a wheelchair.
CWs: Bullying and intimidation, natural disasters specifically storms and flooding. Moderate: Grief, presumed death of parent (they are missing), medical content (healing a deep gash with magic), injury/injury detail, fainting (from overworking herself).
"I've learned that sometimes it takes time to make friends, but those friendships feel stronger than anything I've found in the realm, I've learned that magic takes so many forms"
Its an adventure filled story of an apprentice witch Eva, daughter of a grandmaster witch and one of the most powerful witch in the realm, who is going on a quest to become a novice witch by helping a town to safety from the Culling. The only obstacle is that she has very little to no magic which often does more harm than help.
We go alongside Eva on a journey of self discovery and forge friendships along the way. A very nice, comfy, magical read.
I got the book because I saw really great reviews from people I follow. However I just didn't really like it. I did like the images created of the sceneries. I also appreciate what the author wanted to do and what emotions they wanted to invoke. Unfortunately it just felt quite forced and the writing in general came across as amateur. I noticed it early on in the book and figured I would just ignore it and have fun with the story, but I felt like I was breaking immersion all the time. I think this works well as a children's book as the writing is simple and the reader is led along. It is also nice and lighthearted, with good messages for younger readers.
Wow! What an absolutely charming middle grade novel. With a beautiful, Ghibli-esque world, whimsical magic, and a protagonist who you can't help but root for, EVA EVERGREEN, SEMI-MAGICAL WITCH will grab readers and keep them hooked the whole way through.
I have oodles of praise, and middle school me would have adored this (adult me adores it too!). It's an absolute romp with charming animal sidekicks, fun rhyming spells, and clever solutions to problems. I'd highly recommend to give to young people you know, or enjoy it yourself!
The audiobook is perfect for a drive with family. I listened on CloudLibrary at 2x speed. Caitlin Kelly does a great job with the narration, and sometimes pulls out some fun voices, especially for children or a passing side character.
Absolutely adored the magical fantasy adventure for middle graders!
Reminiscent of Kiki's delivery service, Eva Evergreen is a witch with only a pinch of magic, and her worries and insecurities will resonate with people of all ages. I loved her growth and courage, and her animal companion is so cute!
For such a long time I wished that someone would write a book sorta like Kiki's Delivery Service; a book similar to the magic I felt watching it for the first time, but not so close as to be a carbon copy. THIS IS THE BOOK, EVERYONE!!!
Eva is semi-magical which causes a ton of problems. She's almost not even let in the Novice Witch trial and to top it off, she ends up in a town she may not even know is hers. Because you see, to complete her quest to become a Novice, she ust stay in a town for one full moon and prove that she can do good there. When Eva lands in Auteri, she discovers more than just a pretty coastal town. She finds heartbreak and loss that even her repair affinity magic cannot fix. Along with her newfound friends, she preps the town for a storm that could cause major damage is left to its own devices. Will her small magic be enough to stop it?
Reading this book put me right into a Ghibli film. If you follow my review you know that when I say that, I am probably going to give the book a high rating because of GHIBLI. The world that Julia Abe created took her child in me and brought her back to a time in her life where everything was magical and fun and amazing. I won't compare this to Kiki anymore than I have to because it does Eva Evergreen a disservice. This book has set its self apart and in all the right ways.
The writing was easy to follow and super descriptive enough for us to fall into Eva's magical world. The side characters who help her along the way hold their own. I'd rec this book to anyone looking for a Ghibli inspired middle-grade or anyone looking for a witch book with heart.
The only thing I did not like was the ending and that probably brought it down a star. But shoot, you know I'll pick up the second book in a heartbeat.
Stunning cover, but unfortunately the inside didn't live up to my expectation.
Things I loved: -Japanese inspired world -Natural disasters (tho poorly executed, interesting concept) -Eva's mother was a girl boss, loved her -There's a school in this realm for potential queens! how cool
However, everything else was lacking. -I kept being told the Culling was terrible, killed of tons of people, but ... when it actually hit, we weren't even there... because Eva fainted, and it was resolved so easily (and unconvincingly). But then, to be fair, the targeted audience of this book is def not a 20 years old, so can't be too critical about the practicality behind the resolution. -Eva's development was sudden and stilted. Never had I once thought Eva won't be able to figure out her magical abilities, so there were really no stakes. -Overall pacing of the story was off. The plot in the middle portion was extremely repetitive (i.e. Eva gets up, no repair orders from customers, found something else to do, chat with a few friends, going back home very tired, fell asleep while talking to her fox), and the action did not kick in until 250 pages in. -The side characters were ok, i'd say better written than Eva, but the reconciliations between characters was unnatural and seemingly out of nowhere.
I cannot get over how charming and precious Eva Evergreen, Semi-Magical Witch is. Full of strong "Kiki's Delivery Service" vibes, if you love that movie, you are going to need to buy yourself a copy of this whimsical middle grade. Eva Evergreen, Semi-Magical Witch is whimsical and detailed. The setting comes alive before your very eyes and I could practically smell the sea breeze. While I adored the world building - Flamefoxes meets the concept of making up original rhyming spells - the characters are what stole the show for me.
Eva Evergreen, Semi-Magical Witch focuses on a young girl named Evalithimus Evergreen and her quest to pass her Novice Witch Test and become a Novice Witch. Despite only having a pinch of magic, falling asleep when using too much magic & her spells not working properly Eva is determined to become a witch and follow in her mother Nelaithmus Evergreen’s footsteps. For her dream to become a reality, she must travel to a town in need of help and stay to do good for the town. Will Eva and her pinch of magic be able to do good and become a Novice Witch?
The plot was utterly magical and something straight out of a Studio Ghibli film! It gave off Kiki’s Delivery Service vibes. The Culling was presented as a clear and present danger to this realm and it was a major driving force for the story and our main character. Without giving anything away I will say that you learn more about The Culling and what it may be. Eva’s journey of learning her magic and the limitations it gives is something all of us can relate to at some point in our life.
The world is so vibrant, from Okayama a town that houses the last few remaining witches and wizards to Auteri a beautiful seaside town that holds a Festival of Lights every year. Auteri sounded like such a lovely town to live in and the food felt like it could be eaten right off the pages. The animals felt like they belonged in this world, The Flamefoxes were my favorite. If they were real I would want one for sure! The locations that we did see were both unique and didn't feel too similar to each other.
The characters are very well written and interesting! They were the best part of the book for me! Eva was a young soon to be witch who wanted to make her family proud and achieve her dream but she felt like she never would because of her magic’s limitations and her accidental spells. She was a heroine that not only kids could relate to but adults as well. The fear of not being good enough and the anxieties that come along with it are more relatable now than ever. Eva’s friends Charlotte and Davy were great characters too. They balanced Eva and were there for her in their own ways. Charlotte with her slightly serious, hardworking exterior and Davy with his optimistic and imaginative view of the world. Rin was another of my favorites because of her unwavering belief in Eva and always being by her side no matter what. The side characters even got time to shine.
Eva Evergreen was such a joy and pleasure to read. A book that will give you a warm and cozy feeling as you are reading it. A book about overcoming self-doubt and becoming the person you want to be. 100% recommend this to kids and adults alike! You won't regret going on this magical journey!