What’s it about?
Magic is BAD.
As in fake. Cheesy. Unreal. At least, that’s what Clay, who has seen one magic show too many, thinks.
When words from his journal appear mysteriously on his school wall as graffiti, he never imagines that magic might be to blame. And when the same graffiti lands him at Earth Ranch, a camp for “troubled” kids on a remote volcanic island, magic is the last thing he expects to find there.
But at Earth Ranch, there is one strange surprise after another, until Clay no longer knows what to expect. Is he really talking to a llama? Did he really see a ghost? What is the scary secret hidden in the abandoned library? The only thing he knows for sure is that behind the clouds of vog (volcanic smog), nothing is as it seems. Can he solve the riddle of Earth Ranch before trouble erupts?
My Review of Bad Magic
Well, magic might be bad, but Bad Magic is good. This 393 page book was intriguing enough that I read it in one day. Now, obviously, as a middle-grade book, it reads a lot easier than some of the stuff I normally read, but still. Pseudonymous Bosch does a fantastic job in spinning a Tempest-based tale that had me scratching my head and wondering what was going on right up until the very end.
Filled with all sorts of twists and turns as well as moments that make you chuckle, it’s a book that will ensnare your middle grader’s (or your) imagination as you try to figure out the ins and outs before the main character does. I’ll be honest – I completely failed. Maybe if I had any acquaintance with the Tempest, other than knowing it was a Shakespeare play, I’d have had better luck. As it was? HAH! I didn’t stand a chance. I mean, I knew stuff seemed a bit fishy occasionally, but that was the limit of my insight.
Bad Magic is the first book in the Bad Books series, and my first reading of anything from Bosch, although I can tell you it definitely won’t be my last. Now, the age appropriate range on Amazon gives it at 7-12 years old, but as the proud parent of an almost 7 year old with an advance reading level, I call bull on that one. I would, however, highly recommend it for those 9+ (with no ending age range, because I enjoyed it too).
Definitely a must-have for the bookshelves, especially if you have a boy you’re trying to get interested in reading, as he’d have a protagonist he can identify with in Clay (who is a skateboard-loving, graffiti-making, hoodie-wearing not-quite-hooligan). It also features parental units that care about each other, but don’t get along to the point one of them Skype’s in to the weekly family meetings so that they can do better together. Its a nice case of a not-normal family that still work together.
Title: Bad Magic | Series: The Bad Books | Author: Pseudonymous Bosch | Publisher: Little, Brown Books for Young Readers (site) | Pub. Date: 2015-9-22 | Pages: 393 | ISBN13: 9780316320399 | Genre: Children’s Fiction | Language: English | Triggers: None | Rating: 5 out of 5 | Age Appropriate: 9+ Date Read: 2016-1-24 | Source: Library | Available on Kindle Unlimited? No.
These have less words, more pictures, but they’re still entertaining: