Wednesday, March 12, 2014

A Snicker of Magic

Lloyd, N. (2014). A snicker of magic. NY: Scholastic, Inc.
Children's/Middle Grade Fantasy

I gave this book a 4.5 out of 5.0 stars!

Scroll down for post update!

Refreshing, fun story for kids grades 3 through 7! This story was happily unlike anything I've read before. The author had a Fannie Flagg-ish feel to her writing, maybe because it's so clearly southern, which was delightful to me.

Felicity, our main character, is so real you want to squeeze her. She has struggles and fears and a gift that sometimes feels more like a burden, and with her mother constantly moving her and her sister from place to place, Felicity longs for roots and for a place to call home.  I think there are lots of readers who can relate to her character, and certainly plenty who will sympathize.

The supporting characters are also very real and well written. Jonah is just the friend that Felicity needed and readers will wish they knew him. Felicity's family members are interesting and each have enough personality to make them tangible.  Only Felicity's mom remains a little blurry around the edges, but it is intentional and makes sense given her story.

The townspeople and back stories are many, but it's not overwhelming or unnecessary.  All of the parts to the story end up making a whole by the end, where readers will see the magic unfold into a very satisfactory ending.

This story is age appropriate, clean in all ways (no language, violence, or sexuality), and flows very pleasantly.  There is an overall mystery to be solved, there are relationships that need tending and mending, and there is a lot of reality in the magic.

So, why not a perfect 5.0?  There were times when the story dragged a little -- never enough that I didn't want to keep reading, but it slowed.  Also, I wasn't fully satisfied with where we end with Felicity's mother, but I think kids reading the book probably wouldn't ponder it.

I won this ARC in a giveaway from the Sam Houston State Holiday Break Reading Contest. Thank you SHSU!

UPDATE: Was just my luck that Ms. Lloyd attended the Texas Library Association Conference in April, 2014, so of course I got a signed copy of Snicker while gushing about how much I loved it. Also listened to a panel where Ms. Lloyd was a speaker, and I think she's super fabulous!!
Me, the fan-girl, with Natalie Lloyd.

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