The Ever Part of Always: Keely Tucker’s First Adventure is about little Keely Tucker, an imaginative 10-year-old who never lets her difficult circumstances overcome her. Keely’s family does not have very much money, her dad travels for work, and her mom sometimes drinks too much and says harsh things. The inspiration and hope in Keely’s life is all gleaned from the memories of her dear grandmother, who suddenly passes away. Keely’s grandmother taught her that besides having a beautiful imagination, Keely also has a special “inkle sense” that gives her special insight into certain situations. When Keely’s grandmother leaves her a very unique gift, a mare named Mariah, Keely learns just how special her inkle sense really is. “I’ll love you till the Ever Part of Always” was something her grandmother said, but Keely never knew that with the help of Mariah and her inkle sense, it is actually a real place she would one day visit. Keely and a couple of her animal friends travel to a whole other secret world and discover sorrow and pain, but also immense joy and wonder that makes it all worth it in the end.

Toby K. Davis has created an incredibly imaginative children’s book that takes the protagonist on a journey of discovering a true, honest-to-goodness magical life. Throughout the book, Keely summons her inner strength and courage; she goes above and beyond what most 10-year-olds could would be capable of. After Keely starts caring for Mariah, her life brightens and her relationship with her mother even becomes transformed. She is a charming protagonist and young readers will fall in love with her resilience and admire her bravery.

The Ever Part of Always features animal-human telepathy and introduces magic into the real world. It has several wonderful, detailed illustrations throughout the book. It is very similar to Cathy A. Corn’s children’s fantasy, Lilly & Sophie Search for Real Magic. It is broken up into 28 chapters, but the writing overall is quite wordy and best suitable for older children.

Unfortunately, many children grow up with less-than-ideal childhoods. Toby K. Davis has captured this. Many kids will be able to relate to Keely’s homelife and the feeling of wanting to escape it via imagination. The Ever Part of Always is a creative middle grade novel that spins the ordinary into the extraordinary.

Reviewer: Michaela Gordoni, Hollywood Book Reviews