Magical Realism Book Recs

Escape into a realm of wonder and imagination with these spellbinding books that weave together elements of magical realism.

River Mumma by Zalika Reid-Benta

Alicia, a young Black woman fresh out of grad school facing a quarter-life crisis has her world turned upside down when the Jamaican water deity, River Mumma, tasks her with a mythic quest. Alongside co-workers Heaven and Mars, Alicia must find a missing comb within twenty-four hours, facing malevolent spirits and discovering the power of their bonds. Zalika Reid-Benta’s debut is a captivating blend of diasporic community, ancestral ties, and Jamaican storytelling, offering a fresh and energetic exploration of identity and culture.

Lonely Castle in the Mirror by Mizuki Tsujimura

Kokoro, facing bullying at school, finds solace in a fairytale castle she visits through her mirror inhabited by six other troubled students. The castle holds a secret room granting one wish, but rules and consequences abound. As they explore the castle’s mysteries, the bonds formed among these unlikely companions become the key to unlocking both the castle’s secrets and the healing power of human connection in this heartwarming tale.

Where Ivy Dares to Grow by Marielle Thompson

Saoirse Read, grappling with her own mental health, ventures to Langdon Hall with her fiancé to aid his dying mother. The imposing manor, with its eerie atmosphere, catapults her back to 1818, where she encounters Theo Page, her fiancé’s mysterious ancestor. Saoirse navigates a delicate dance between the present and the past, questioning the nature of reality and unraveling the secrets of Langdon Hall’s haunting history in this captivating timeslip debut, weaving together love, mystery, and the shadows of the mind.

Don’t Give me Butterflies by Tara Sheets

Kat Davenport, the Queen of Impulsive Decisions, finds herself jobless and homeless, leading her to the enchanting Pine Cove Island. With a unique gift for communicating with animals, Kat secures a job at the local animal shelter and rents a room on a lavender farm. However, her romantic flutterings for the farm owner’s grandson, Jordan Prescott, are complicated when she learns he’s planning to sell the family farm. As their fiery disagreements transform into even more passionate embraces, Kat faces the challenge of taming the beast within this prince.

The Charmed Friends of Trove Isle by Annie Rains

Melody inherits her aunt’s thrift store in Trove Isle, stumbling upon the long-lost charm bracelet she shared with high school friends Liz, Bri, and her sister Alyssa. The bracelet’s reappearance reconnects their lives after a tragic prom night tore them apart. Liz, rooted in Trove Isle, has deferred her dreams, while Bri, emerging from prison, faces a town transformed. The bracelet’s promise of friendship, adventure, and love guides them toward reconciliation and new beginnings—one charm at a time.

Folklorn by Angela Mi Young Hur

Elsa Park, a brilliant particle physicist in the Antarctic, believes she has escaped the specters of her haunted family. However, when her childhood imaginary friend reemerges, Elsa is compelled to confront her mother’s prophecy of repeating ancestral narratives from Korean myth. Battling both supernatural forces and the tangible struggles of mental illness within her immigrant family, Elsa unearths the secrets woven into her mother’s dark stories. Set against the backdrop of generational trauma, this captivating tale of inherited myths explores the stories we craft for ourselves.