Book Review: Rogelia’s House of Magic

Rogelia's House of MagicRogelia’s House of Magic follows the journey of three girls into the world of curanderismo magic and the world of friendship, love, and family it opens up along the way. What begins as three girls trying to learn magic becomes a story of friends finding the family and love they didn’t know they were looking for.

Rogelia’s House of Magic is the story of Xochitl, Marina, and Fern—three fifteen-year-old girls with three different problems in their lives. Xochitl was excited to move to the United States from Mexico, but her twin sister died in an accident along the way and she can’t stop mourning her death. Now she is afraid to open up and enjoy the friendship of others. Fern lives in the barrio and her mom is never around. She has a big heart for nature though and is trying to save sacred wetlands from being developed by a housing company. Marina was Fern’s old neighbor in the barrio until her mom make a ton of money and moved them into a big house and shunned their old life. Marina can’t seem to make her mother proud and she hates that she has no connection to her Mexican heritage.

Things seem tough for the girls, until they meet Rogelia. Rogelia is Marina’s new maid and Xochitl’s grandma. Rogelia is a curandera, or a wise healer, who was well-known in her village for using nature and magic to heal people and save lives. Marina and Fern ask Rogelia to teach them magic and this leads to their friendship with Xochitl. The girls gain powers through their training, but don’t realize they are gaining a lot more than that. Rogelia comes to fill a void in each of their lives. For Marina, Rogelia is a connection to her heritage and a stand-in for the grandmother she never had. Rogelia teaches Fern that she is capable of forming relationships with people and she doesn’t have to take care of herself. In Xochitl’s case, Rogelia is a connection to her past and her sister, and she inspires Xochitl to take a step forward in life and move past her loss.

The most important bond though, is between the three girls. Rogelia’s House of Magic is a story about friendship at its core. Anyone with a bestfriend will understand how powerful their connection is. Fern and Marina have been friends for years and have supported each other through ups and downs. Xochitl is wary of the girls’ friendship and worries they are only using her for her grandmother’s lessons. Together they help each other open up about their problems and a dreams and push each other to go out and change their own lives. In the end, they learn that magic is nothing without their friendship. Magic is fueled by their love for each other and leads them to do some of their greatest magic yet.

Of course, the magic is rooted in reality. Curanderismo is a practice of folk healing in Latin American culture. Don’t expect any magic wands like in Harry Potter. The girls learn power like clairvoyance, invisibility, and psychic mediumship. Rogelia teaches them that the magic really lies in nature and their connection to the world and to each other. The only way to perform the most difficult of spells is to do it with the purest hearts and best intentions. Magic is driven by love and their combined love is all the more powerful.

While we may not all be curanderas, the book is a great read with something everyone can relate to—friendship, crushes, or family drama. This book inspires the reader to appreciate the family and heritage that we sometimes forget about in our busy lives. Rogelia’s House of Magic is a reminder that the true magic in the world is that of the love we show to others.

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