Kenning Magic by Lizzie Ross (Saguaro Books, 6 March 2013).
In the land of Mitlery, almost everyone is able to do magic. They use magic to perform everyday tasks like putting away clothes and planting seeds.
Except for Noni. No matter how hard she tries, she just cannot cast a spell. But she can do something that other people can't: decipher black marks on the page of a book. She calls it "kenning", but her mother also referred to it as the "Old Knowing".
But after a strange caravan comes to the village of Windrow, everyone's magic is gone, except for that of Noni's friend Twig, who always carries an amulet in his pocket. No one is able to do anything, because they've relied on magic to do the most mundane of tasks.
But Old Winesap, a village elder, remembers the Old Knowing, and tells Noni that she must find the Book of Spells, which will show her how to get the magic back. Noni is hesitant, but when they learn that all of the surrounding villages have also lost their magic, she realizes that she must, indeed, do this.
She's afraid to go alone, and no one wants to go with her, because they feel lost without their magic. Except for Twig, who simply takes his friend by the arm and leads her away from the village.
Their journey is long, and their adventures are many. Not knowing whom to trust, Noni is suspicious of everyone and worries because Twig is not.
Meanwhile, the magic thieves are also searching for the Book, but not only do Noni and Twig have to find it first, they have to avoid the dragons that are terrorizing the country.
Lizzie Ross's debut is terrific. The reader is quickly drawn into the tale and is soon accompanying the young people on their quest. Noni and Twig are well-drawn characters, and even the dragons have personalities.
The ending allows for the continuation of the story, which I await with eagerness.
FTC Full Disclosure: Many thanks to the author, who sent me an e-galley of the book for review purposes.