The other girl's book sounded fascinating. And it was a series, even better. Paola wasn't sure what would happen in real life if Muggles found out about magic, but it wouldn't be simple. More Muggles, she amended mentally, thoughts flinching from the mother-shaped hole in her life. Still, the book looked thick enough to have lots of interesting complications. "I'm used to hearing the phrase 'first contact' in science fiction with aliens--you know, extraterrestrials," Paola admitted with a small smile. "So are we the aliens in this series, or are the Muggles? Or are there some parts from the Muggles' point of view and some from wizards?"
"Do you read much?" the other girl--Rhiannon--asked, and Paola immediately answered, “Yes.” And then she wasn't entirely sure what to say next. Of course she read a lot. Of course she had packed her entire library with her to school. Of course she burrowed into books, trying to hide from loneliness in between lines of text with friends who only came to life when she read the words that described them. Of course she would rather fly elsewhere on wings of words, stronger than wax and feathers, than stay in the here and now, when the here and now consisted of silent apartments and distant fathers.
And "Yes," seemed like an entirely inadequate word to contain all of that, but Paola couldn't tell someone whom she had just met any more of it than “Yes.” “I’m Paola DeMarco,” she added after another awkward moment, and continued with, "I'm reading two books right now, actually. One's called Sabriel and it's about a necromancer whose job is to lay the undead to rest, rather than raise them. It's really different magic than the real world, but it's not set in our world so..." Paola shrugged, managing not to spill sambal on Gadja. “And the other book I’m reading is called…” She paused to translate the title in her head “A Morning in Spring, and it’s a graphic novel about the recent revolution in Tunisia, from the point of view of a Tunisian girl who’s also a witch. It’s really aimed at second and third graders, but I’m not that good at reading Arabic. I feel like I have to flip my brain around. So the easier text and the pictures help.”