Magic in Our Own World

Sam Sharp ’20 / Emertainment Monthly Staff Writer

Magical realism is a genre that is not well known or often talked about, yet it is one of the most exhilarating genres in the reading world. Magical realism is a genre containing magic or magical circumstances in the current world. This genre brings a refreshing hope for those who live with their nose in a book; it makes the reader feel like magic is possible. Here is a compiled list of what can be seen as the most well-written and unique books in the magical realism genre.

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The Particular Sadness of Lemon Cake by Aimee Bender

The Particular Sadness of Lemon Cake is a magical realism novel that succeeds in maintaining its connection to the real world. Many magical realism novels can forget about reality and only have hints of it. The main character of this novel, Rose, continues on with her normal life while also having the magical ability to taste emotions. This 2011 Alex Award winner is the heartwarming story of a girl with a seemingly desirable power, yet it brings to light the idea of knowing things one isn’t supposed to. Dealing with an identity crisis, unrequited love, and family disfunction, this novel uses magical realism to discuss real life issues in an intelligent and lighthearted way.

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All My Friends Are Superheroes by Andrew Kaufman

This is a must read for anyone who is living, breathing, and who loves reading. Kaufman uses superpowers as a magical realism metaphor for more realistic issues. He takes the characters’ seemingly mundane characteristics such as perfection and charm and exaggerates them, making a perfectionist into The Perfectionist. It follows the main character, Tom, as he tries to get his wife to see and hear him after her ex-boyfriend, Hypno, convinces her that Tom is invisible. This novel paints a beautiful picture of everyone having some hidden power, based on what his or her primary trait is. It makes everyone feel special in a way that can’t just be spelled out.

Photo credit: The Perpetual Page-Turner

The Strange and Beautiful Sorrows of Ava Lavender by Leslye Walton

This peculiar and romantic novel is a perfect example of magical realism. It is a beautiful story about a girl, Ava, who was born with bird’s wings and gets mistaken for an angel by a boy who’s new to town. The bizarre story and incredible writing make this novel a must-read for lovers of magical realism and is a good way to begin one’s magical realism obsession.

Photo credit: Teen Ink

The Lovely Bones by Alice Sebold

The Lovely Bones is an award-winning debut novel by Alice Sebold. Sebold touches upon dark but important topics such as rape and murder, exploring them in a magical way by showing the aftermath of Susie Salmon’s murder through the eyes of her family and her experiences in her “afterlife” world. The novel follows the mystery of who killed Susie Salmon as well as Susie’s struggle with not being able to move on from life while in the comfort of heaven.

Photo credit: Cat Winters

The Cure for Dreaming by Cat Winters

In this feminist magical realism novel, it focuses on both the suffragette movement and a girl named Olivia who has the ability to see people’s true nature, therefore seeing both the good and bad. The novel is inspirational for young feminists everywhere as it discusses the complexity of morality and the importance of speaking one’s mind. This book accurately describes the early 1900s in a way that shows the scary and sad aspects of life as well as the surreal and happy moments. This novel is a great example of magical realism as it retains its connection to the real world, while only having small pieces of Olivia’s life be affected by magic.

Any fan of magical realism or newcomer looking to delve into a new genre will enjoy these five novels. If fantasy books seem tiring sometimes and you want something a little bit easier to digest, or you have a craving for a bit of magic in life, these are the perfect books.

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