Jinxed! The Curious Curse of Cora Bell by Rebecca McRitchie

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Illus. by Sharon O'Connor. Angus and Robertson, 2019. ISBN: 9781460757642.
(Age: 9+) Highly recommended. Cora lives an ordinary life with her friend, Dot. Each day she leaves her house in the wall and goes out collecting bits and bobs, returning each night to share her finds with Dot who is no longer as agile. One day Dot asks her to find shoe polish and so Cora spends all day searching the city of Urt, running from scavengers and trappers and finally just as she loses hope she finds a tin of shoe polish and a wooden box. Cora opens the box and sets off a chain of events that lead her on a wild and magical journey away from Urt with the help of two fairies, Tick and Tock.
Cora's journey takes her to many magical lands as she attempts to escape from a furious warlock and a Jinx, find out who and what she is and discover where Dot is. Together with her fairy friends, Cora meets hobgoblins, trolls and many magical beings, some of whom are willing to help her, as she tries to escape the warlock and the Jinx and find herself.
This book is an easy read for competent younger readers with adventures, a couple of mild scary scenes, (but nothing that will lead to nightmares) and a great story line. The author has created a story that children will want to believe in and want to visit. Cora's backstory and the journey she takes in this book encourages children to think beyond themselves, wonder what life would be like if you didn't know who you were or where you fit and to imagine what life would be like if like Cora, you could only remember waking up with one eye and Dot looking after you.
My one gripe about the book is that it ends with "to be continued" which is also how the author ended her first book, Whimsy and Woe. I feel this is an unnecessary addition to the story as I felt that the characters had reached a conclusion. I look forward to reading more about Cora's adventures but felt that this made the story feel unfinished.
Mhairi Alcorn