Keely is your normal ten-year old child.  To her, she is a modern-day knight, but without the armor.  Keely struggles to find her place in this world as she is bullied on a regular basis, and finds solace within the stories her Gramms told her.  Stories filled with enchanted and faraway places, unicorns, fairies, and angels, and children are protected from everyday pains like bullies.  With the neighbor boy bullying her once again, Keely longs to figure out how to call upon those unicorns, fairies and angels to protect her.  But her world is thrown upside down when Gramms passes away and leaves her with an aging horse.  Soon Keely realizes Mariah (the horse) can talk, and together they find their way to a hidden valley over the moon where dragons and monsters invade thoughts and a peace of mind.  As she learns to believe in herself and develop her powers, she must figure out how to deliver a grand miracle before it is too late.

First and foremost, The Ever Part of Always; Keely Tucker’s First Adventure is a novel about how love, friendship, and imagination can transcend generations.  Keely is a character children of all ages can relate to; everyone has had a bully. Everyone has wanted to escape pain and hardship.  It is so easy for readers to put themselves into her shoes and wonder what would they do when faced with the possibility of a fantasy world come to life.  Davis puts so much emotion and heart into her story that it comes to life and attaches to the readers; it would be hard not to feel something for this young character.

Davis has a lyrical way of writing the story which simply takes the readers away and transports them to a whole new world of wonder.  The images which are scattered throughout the novel add to the beauty of the story.  It helps readers visualize each and every moment; they help make the tale come to life.  Through Keely, readers see growth as she learns how to stand up for herself and gives a young audience an idea of how to appropriately do that.  The chapters are perfect for young readers with a mix of easy words and some that might be a little harder to pronounce, but it definitely supports and encourages reading skills.

Toby K. Davis has created a wonderful novel for young readers to fall in love with, not only the characters and storytelling, but with reading itself.  She created something children can hang on to and learn from.  It a great novel for parents to read with their kids, and teachers could easily incorporate this book into their courses as well. The Ever Part of Always: Keely Tucker’s First Adventure is one that deserves to be read and receives “Notable” status.  Hopefully there are more stories to come; more adventures of Keely Tucker for children and adults to enjoy.

Reviewer: Jennifer Bailey, Pacific Book Review