CM Magazine: Sleight.
________________ CM . . . . Volume XXIV Number 40. . . .June 15, 2018



Jennifer Sommersby.
Toronto, ON: HarperCollinsCanada, 2018.
304 pp., hardcover, $21.99.
ISBN 978-1-44341-885-0.

Grades 7 and up / Ages 12 and up.

Review by Janet Johnson.

**** /4



Three minutes into our medley I open my eyes to make sure we’re still in sync.

Instead of dancing, Delia is standing on the lyra, staring into nothingness. “No matter how hard you come at me, you will never find it, “she says.

“Mom!” I yell.

Delia smiles at the shadow only she sees---

Something slams into her. The lyra whirls like a half dollar spinning on its edge.

My mother is thrown backward.

And she falls.


Sleight is the story of Genvieve Flannery or Genim, a 17-year-old who lives and works in a circus. The novel begins with the death of her mother and tells the story of Geni’s quest to find a magical book called the Avrakedavra which was bequeathed to her by her mother. This special book is one of a set of three books that an evil magician is trying to locate and keep. Each book in the set represents one of Life, Death or Memory, and they give their owner and family special powers. For instance, Geni was endowed with the power to heal. Furthermore, the owners of each book are also given the gift of longevity. When Geni inherited this book, an evil magician by the name of Dagan pursues her for the book of Life. At the same time, an evil entity plagues Geni in the forms of a black abyss and spiders. This entity may have been created or summoned by the evil magician.

      There are several layers or back stories in the storyline, and all are related to events that happened in ancient Mesopotamia.

      There was a lot of description in Sleight, but it is important in order to set the stage for the story and to make the circus world come alive. The plot is fast paced, and suspense builds up to the end as Geni and her new friend Henry try to escape from Henry’s father, the evil magician, with two of the magic books.

      Sleight contains excellent character development as the author uses the first person as narrator and the story unfolds through her eyes and experiences. Geni is a good and loyal friend, and her love of animals is evident in her relationship with the circus performing elephants that she uses in her act.

      Sleight is a fantasy with some paranormal aspects as well a romantic interest that will appeal to a teenage reader aged twelve and older. I enjoyed reading the novel, and it kept my attention to very end, leaving me with the wish to read more about the heroine.


Janet Johnson, a retired librarian, used to teach Children’s Literature for the Library Technician Program at Red River College in Winnipeg, MB.

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