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    2020 Texas Best Middle School Book

    Synopsis

    When a motherless young girl named Willowmena stumbles over Merloo, a fairy with a broken wing, the two become unlikely companions in a barren land where friendship is virtually unknown. Accompanied by a magical rhinoceros with a flashing red eye, a mute prince, and relentlessly pursued by the Miner of the Dark Pass, the stalwart band of travelers embark on a heroic journey through the dusty Land of Bleak. Willowmena and her friends travel in search of the Mountains of Tune, each of them seeking something they need in order to return to the world beyond. As Willowmena finds her role as the Light-Bearer of Bleak, she meets a lost queen, and her evil cousin, whose insatiable greed and envy compel her an unholy alliance with the Miner of the Dark Pass and his pack of ruthless, slovenly wolves. In order to save her country Willowmena must find the gift of her own gold and come to terms with a terrible secret from her past, making her question everything she knows to be true. She must be willing to venture out of Bleak and into the Land Outside, a place of impossible beauty.