Today, I'm reviewing A Snicker of Magic by the lovely Natalie Lloyd! I instantly fell in love with the book after seeing the cover, and I'm glad to say that the book was absolutely magical too!
MMGM is a feature hosted by (fabulous) author Shannon Messenger on her blog every week!
Hardcover, 320 pages
Published February 25th 2014 by Scholastic Press
Format read: ARC via publisher
Synopsis via Goodreads:
Midnight Gulch used to be a magical place, a town where people could sing up thunderstorms and dance up sunflowers. But that was long ago, before a curse drove the magic away. Twelve-year-old Felicity knows all about things like that; her nomadic mother is cursed with a wandering heart.
But when she arrives in Midnight Gulch, Felicity thinks her luck's about to change. A "word collector," Felicity sees words everywhere---shining above strangers, tucked into church eves, and tangled up her dog's floppy ears---but Midnight Gulch is the first place she's ever seen the word "home." And then there's Jonah, a mysterious, spiky-haired do-gooder who shimmers with words Felicity's never seen before, words that make Felicity's heart beat a little faster.
Felicity wants to stay in Midnight Gulch more than anything, but first, she'll need to figure out how to bring back the magic, breaking the spell that's been cast over the town . . . and her mother's broken heart.
Something about the brightly-colored ice cream scoops, and the word "snicker" in the title, just made me want to read this book. There was already a sense of magic in the air, which only grew after I sat down and read Natalie's beautiful debut novel.
Twelve-year-old Felicity Pickle has spent her life on the move with her mother and sister, because her mother has always had a restless heart. She's comforted herself along the way, by using her ability to see words all around her; to collect them and keep them safe. But things begin to change, once the Pickles move to Midnight Gulch.
Midnight Gulch was once a town had magic in every nook and cranny, but disappeared because of a curse. Still, as Felicity begins to settle into life into her (hopefully forever) home, she finds that the magic of the town hasn't completely disappeared - and it's about to change her life.
Lloyd has written a splendiferous debut novel, full of thoughtful questions on family, friendship and how a person can find a home, when they least expect it.
Through Felicity's eyes, Lloyd also shows us the strength and the magic that one person can put out into the world, simply through the kindness of their gestures toward others. Felicity, Jonah and the rest of the Midnight Gulch residents are constantly changing their own individual magic, until they change the town as a whole.
Lloyd also shows us the power and strength of believing and remaining true to one's self - Felicity begins the book by thinking that her power to see words is not something that should always be shared, but quickly finds that it's one of her greatest strengths after all.
Of special note: Lloyd does a wonderful and extremely thoughtful job of explaining very adult issues like depression, family separation, and the flight-or-fight response that a person can have when they're trying to work through some issues in life.
I strongly believe that educators and parents will appreciate her underlying message that sometimes, people's minds and opinions can't always be changed instantaneously. Small steps will help people work through their issues, until they gradually find the magic back in their own lives.
A Snicker of Magic again proves my belief that middle-grade novels have a certain depth and creativity, which will have universal appeal to readers.
Natalie Lloyd has written a thoughtful, poignant novel about learning to work through past issues, while also learning to take joy in the world around you, and the joy that can be found in reaching out (and using a person's know-how) to help enrich the lives of others.
Younger readers will not only be enchanted by the magic of Felicity's ability with words and the different types of magic (and the different, colorful characters!) in the town of Midnight Gulch, but will also likely find a lot in common with Felicity and Jonah's adventures, and their heartwarming friendship.
I highly recommend this book for all readers. The magic will stay with you, long after reading.
Disclaimer: I received an ARC of A Snicker of Magic from Scholastic, in exchange for an honest review. Thank you!