by Patricia C. Wrede
Francine Rothmer (Eff to anyone who knows her) is the twin sister of Lan, the seventh son of a seventh son. And, since sevens are the most powerful number in magic, being the seventh-seventh makes Lan the most powerful natural magician around.
This wouldn't be a problem, except that Eff is the thirteenth child. And thirteen is the worst number to be. Even at five years old, her own uncle tries to have her jailed for cursing her cousin, even though children can't work magic until they're ten. The aunts even complain that she should have been drowned at birth and that it's never too late do it.
But Eff's mother, father, and siblings disagree that Eff is naturally bad, so they move out to the edge of the Great Barrier, where her father can teach magic to others and Eff can get away from the extended family.
Eff is given a chance to grow and learn without all the prejudices that surround a thirteen. But is she really cursed? Can she learn to manage the magic that surrounds everything the people do before it gets away from her and harms those she loves most?
This is an alternate reality book where the Great Barrier of magic was installed by Thomas Jefferson and Benjamin Franklin, steam dragons threaten the settlers, and people live in the great country of Columbia near the Gulf of Amerigo. What would the world have been like if magic truly was everywhere?