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“Amoura Awakened” by Meg Kramer

Updated: Nov 11, 2023

By Antara Gangwal Nov. 9, 2023

In her debut novel “Amoura Awakened,” Meg Kramer reimagines the city of San Francisco, instilling magic into its vibrant Victorian architecture, sprawling green parks and bustling, diverse communities. Characterized by a sense of mystery, the golden city is the perfect backdrop for Kramer’s fantastical story of a young witch coming of age.

Sara Zhao art

“Amoura Awakened” follows the titular character Amoura, a 16-year-old girl who lives in a world where witches and humans coexist. Adopted by human fathers, Amoura always believed she was human herself until an incident at her school cements her as a witch, completely upending her sense of identity. Invited to move from her home of Portland, Oregon to San Francisco to attend the prestigious Elderwood School for the Magically Inclined, Amoura learns to embrace her powers and is soon entwined in a shocking mystery about her past.

Told in descriptive, easy to read prose sprinkled with the perfect balance of humor and touching moments, it is easy to fly through the pages of “Amoura Awakened.” With countless references to locations in San Francisco—such as Golden Gate Park, Cole Valley and the de Young Museum—Kramer pays homage to the city. In fact, Elderwood was inspired by a real preschool that Kramer passed every day in San Francisco. As for the vibrant, kaleidoscopic interior of the school, Kramer cites the San Francisco Grace Cathedral as her inspiration.

“The seeds for this story were planted when I moved to San Francisco in 2004 to attend the University of San Francisco. This book is definitely a love letter to the essence of the city, the magic I have always felt in its bones,” Kramer said.

At its heart, though, “Amoura Awakened” is also a love letter to young teenagers like Amoura who are coming of age in an increasingly hostile, difficult-to-navigate society. While attending Elderwood, Amoura faces discrimination from other witches who look down on her human upbringing; when visiting her human family and friends outside of school, she realizes how humans see witches as harmful threats to their lifestyles. Amoura’s story parallels how many other young adult readers struggle to express their multifaceted identities while trying to navigate divisive social norms.

While at the beginning, these themes lacked development and seemed overly juvenile, Kramer is able to add depth by the novel’s end: the final climax is a whirlwind of emotion and excitement that will leave readers rooting for Amoura’s growth and confidence in her identity. Furthermore, the diversity of the Bay Area is highlighted within the novel’s pages; LGBTQIA+ characters and characters of color are present not just to check off surface-level diversity, but rather, they are all complex and nuanced parts of the story.

“This book was always going to have a diverse cast; I wanted any young person who picked up the book to find something within a character. I purposely give only a handful of details about Amoura’s appearance because I want readers to form Amoura in their own minds and connect with who she is and what they think she looks like,” Kramer said.

“Amoura Awakened” encapsulates the satisfying arc of Amoura’s coming-of-age within its pages, yet still leaves many intriguing plot threads unresolved. Setting the stage for a five-part series set in the same magical universe, this first installment is equal parts spellbinding and heartwarming, leaving readers eagerly anticipating the next.


About the contributors

Antara Gangwal

School News & Entertainment page editor

Antara Gangwal is a junior at Leland High School and the School News and Entertainment page editor for The Charger Account. During her free time, she enjoys reading, listening to music and watching the sunset.

Sara Zhao


Sara is an artist for The Charger Account. She likes drawing in a variety of colors.

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