Heart of Magic, by Penny Matthews

Stacey Bunn could never quite believe that she and Twyla Popovic were best friends. Her mum always said they were chalk and cheese, and it was true. For a start, Twyla was tall and thin and gorgeous, and Stacey wasn’t any of those things. But they were different in lots of other ways too.
Twyla was super-confident. Stacy was shy.
Twyla often did things on impulse. Stacey always made plans.
Twyla enjoyed taking risks. Stacey was a scaredy-cat.
They didn’t even hang around with the same people. Twyla went to the local school, where there were boys, and Stacey went to a private girls’ college. It was like they lived in different world that only connected with the two of them.

Stacey and Twyla have been best friends for a long time. Today, on Twyla’s birthday they are going to the Show together. Stacey’s mum is taking them there, Twyla’s mum is bringing them home. In between, they’ll be free to do whatever they want. But even before they reach the show, little niggles are beginning to unsettle Stacey. Even Mum seems to think Twyla is the one in charge. They arrive at the Show and it’s not at all the way Stacey imagined it would be. All of a sudden everything is changing. Then, when Stacey has a chance to make a wish, she is sure she knows just how to make things better. The gold heart pin is sure to make the difference.

Heart of Magic is part of Walker Books new series, ‘Lightning Strikes’. Stories are pitched at upper primary level, but are shorter than novels, providing a manageable-sized story for reluctant readers. Heart of Magic explores friendship. Even long term friendships can falter, particularly when one member changes at a different rate to others. In this case, Stacey is older, but is quite content to maintain the status quo, while Twyla is beginning to explore a larger world. For children on the brink of adolescence and all the challenges involved, the world can be a confusing place. Heart of Magic, told in the third person from the point of view of Stacey shows some of the uncertainties but also shows that there is a way through. Both main characters, Stacey and Twyla learn more about themselves as they simultaneously learn more about their friend. Their friendship changes but endures. Recommended for upper primary readers.

Heart of Magic, Penny Matthews
Walker Books 2008
ISBN: 9781921150685