... a mystical story ... Author Jessica Handler paints a quaint picture of life in the late 19th century, when electricity was a new phenomenon. Lulu begins as a young woman used to obeying her parents, but through her performances, she begins to see her parents and their shortcomings more clearly. The Magnetic Girl is hypnotic tale about a girl growing into a woman and discovering the truth of her own powers.
Finally seeing the world outside her small town, Lulu feels caught between returning home to protect her younger brother and spreading her own wings. With depth and emotion, The Magnetic Girl will captivate readers, too.
... all atmosphere and electricity ... Handler captures the period with evocative details. It’s an age in which the advent of electricity and burgeoning spiritual questions combine, priming people to believe in the impossible ... The story moves at a drawling pace, occupying Lulu’s mind and rendering her childhood concerns with clarity ... Lulu’s is a story on the precipice: of scientific discovery, of cultural evolution, and of increased autonomy for women. As a daughter of this dawning new world, Lulu captivates her way toward dismaying realizations, deadly conundrums, and new freedoms. Beyond its sleight of hand, The Magnetic Girl is a vintage tale about learning to harness your singular powers.
Handler's fierce, sensually vivid debut novel takes off from the life of a little-known but fascinating figure from 19th-century American history ... Lulu, who narrates most of the novel, is a compelling character, simultaneously intense and insecure ... Using this unique situation, Handler captures the ambivalence of female adolescence, where the newfound ability to captivate others exists in unsteady balance with the fear of loss of independence ... A thoroughly fresh historical novel that both captures the essence of its time and echoes challenges that still exist today.