By Nina Kiriki Hoffman.
This book is kind of lacking in plot, as I may have seen pointed out on Amazon. For some reason, I loved it anyway: there are some really interesting characters and some interesting character development to make up for the lack of things happening in the external world outside the LaZelle household.
The story? Gypsum is a late bloomer. In her family, that means that she's 20 years old and hasn't shown any sign of developing the magical wish talents the rest of her family has. She's been thinking about going to college somewhere. Of course, the predictable happens. Then ridiculously goofy things happen, until Altria appears, and suddenly the story has wider interest.
I really liked the character of Altria. Her motivations are obscure, to say the least. She raises some obvious questions about the nature of the (real) world, and some less obvious ones about what is actually going on inside her head. Can you take her at face value, or is she just stringing Gypsum along until she gets what she wants (to borrow from her own turn of phrase)? Who knows?
All in all, this is a light, fun read. All in one book, too. There is some bad language and maybe homosexuality; it's not really clear nor explored in depth. I think I enjoyed this better than the Chapel Hollow novels (The Thread That Binds the Bones and The Silent Strength of Stones), which in retrospect were incredibly flat.