Anderson, R. J. A Little Taste of Poison. 359 pages. Atheneum Books for Young Readers (Simon & Schuster), 2016. $17.99. Language: G. Sexual Content: G. Violence: PG.A companion to, A Pocket Full of Murder (Atheneum, 2015), this book continues Isaveth’s story. Her family is still struggling financially, when she is offered a scholarship to the college where they teach Sage magic. Isaveth is eager to learn about Sage magic, but she is bullied and ostracized by the other students because of her poor background and her religious beliefs. Esmond (Quiz) is still trying to find proof of his brother’s villainous behavior and invites Isaveth to come to his sister’s coming out ball to search for it. Isaveth uses her common magic skills and locates where the proof is hidden but she sets off an alarm and has to escape. Esmond’s father, the Sagelord, takes a turn for the worst and tells everyone before he dies that he’s been poisoned. Isaveth and Esmond team up again to find out the truth and locate the proof to bring the criminals to justice
Like its companion novel, this story has a swift moving plot with plenty of surprises. Isaveth continues as a strong, female protagonist who makes mistakes, but who is loyal and keeps working hard, despite bullying and unfairness. Esmond is a more complex character, but his development and growth is equally important to the story. Author R. J. Anderson continues and intensifies the theme of religious and socio-economic prejudice; which is important because it teaches children to be tolerant to those who look, act, or believe differently than they do. Highly recommended.EL-ESSENTIAL. Samantha Hastings, MA, MLS.