Linus Baker is an overworked case worker at the Department in Charge of Magical Youth. He is also kind of a square who always does everything by the book and lives for his routines. His quiet life gets upturned when he is unexpectedly summoned by Extremely Upper Management and given a classified assignment. He must spend a month at an orphanage that holds some of the most dangerous magical children in the world to determine if the man running the place is fit to do so. During his time there, Linus struggles to maintain his objectivity while determining what is best for the children and attempting to uncover this orphanage’s secrets.
What I Liked
Everything. Seriously though, I loved everything about this book: the characters, the plot, the pacing, the LGBT+ representation, and, most of all, the message. This book took me through a wide range of emotions as the story unfolded. I was amused, angry, heartbroken, and ecstatically happy all within a span of several hundred pages. I teared up from both sadness and happiness multiple times while reading this book. Although, I won’t admit to crying…much.
The characters in this book were adorable and well-written. There was a great deal of depth to all of them, including the children, and getting to see their distinct personalities and backstories was a treat. Following Linus’s journey was particularly enjoyable. He started out as a stick in the mud who kept himself closed off from everyone, and the plot of the story helped him to expand his world and slowly let the children into his heart. It was a joy to read from start to finish.
This book conveyed several heartwarming messages through the plot of its story. It illustrated the healing that can come from acceptance while highlighting the damage caused by experiences of discrimination. The story of Linus also showed how stepping outside of your box and taking a risk can pay off and help you find exactly what you didn’t know you needed. His growth reminded me that the main thing usually standing in the way of my happiness and success is myself because of the limits I place due to what I think others expect of me. Finally, this story beautifully illustrated how powerful and important a ‘found family’ can be.
The romance in this book was well done. It developed subtly over the course of the book and does not take over the story. It was a believable build-up, which I appreciated.
What I Didn’t Like
Nothing. I enjoyed everything about the book. My only complaint was that there isn’t more of it. I will say, however, that the plot was predictable, but in a way that was cozy and enjoyable.
This a great book with a heartwarming story. The characters are fantastic and provide the vehicles for excellent story telling and important life lessons. I cannot recommend this book enough. Therefore, I rate it 5 out of 5 stars.