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Month in review

Reviews
All My Friends Are Still Dead by Avery Monsen and Jory John
Another Kind of Hurricane by Tamara Ellis Smith
As Chimney Sweepers Come to Dust by Alan Bradley
Doctor Who: The Spear of Destiny by Marcus Sedgwick
Fake Mustache by Tom Angleberger
A Female Focus: Great Women Photographers by Margot F. Horwitz
A Finder's Fee by Joyce and Jim Lavene
Flora and the Penguin by Molly Idle
Flying Too High by Kerry Greenwood
The Girl in the Well Is Me by Karen Rivers
The Great Greene Heist by Varian Johnson
Horten's Miraculous Mechanisms: Magic, Mystery, & a Very Strange Adventure by Lissa Evans
The Hound of the Baskervilles by Ian Edginton
Hour of the Bees by Lindsay Eagar
The House of Hades by Rick Riordan
How to Outswim a Shark Without a Snorkel by Jess Keating
The Jumbies by Tracey Baptiste
Look Out for the Fitzgerald-Trouts by Esta Spalding
Lowriders in Space by Cathy Camper
Mission Mumbai by Mahtab Narsimhan
The Murder of Mary Russell by Laurie R. King
Mutt's Promise by Julie Salamon
The Princess in Black and the Perfect Princess Party by Shannon Hale
The Readaholics and the Falcon Fiasco by Laura DiSilverio
Scott Pilgrim's Precious Little Life by Bryan Lee O'Malley
A Study in Sherlock edited by Laurie R. King
Tailing a Tabby by Laurie Cass
A Taste for Red by Lewis Harris
The Unexpected Everything by Morgan Matson
Upside-Down Magic by Sarah Mlynowski, Lauren Myracle, and Emily Jenkins
You're Never Weird on the Internet by Felicia Day

Miscellaneous
The invisible Pokémon Go player
Mind the gap (between reading and reviewing)
On reading diversely
Stop Americanizing imported English language books

Previous month

Rating System

5 stars: Completely enjoyable or compelling
4 stars: Good but flawed
3 stars: Average
2 stars: OK
1 star: Did not finish

Reading Challenges

My Kind of Mystery Reading Challenge 2017 February - January 2017-8



Upside-Down Magic: 08/17/16

Upside-Down Magic by Jess Keating

Upside-Down Magic by Sarah Mlynowski, Lauren Myracle, and Emily Jenkins is the tale of a new school for fifth grade magical misfits. It reminds me a bit of Ms. Jool's class in Wayside School series — except with magic. Or it's like Goddess Boot Camp by Tera Lynn Childs.

Nory ends up there when she fails the entrance exam to her father's school. She was supposed to turn into a black kitten. But her animals are always hybrids: bittern (beaver kitten) or skunkephant (skunk elephant).

The exploration of Nory's abilities and the abilities of her classmates is a way to learn about how magic works and the history of magical education. Magic is very structured, broken into very specific skill sets: fire making, levitating, transformation, and so forth. There's no room for mixing up skill sets, nor creativity.

If this book were a YA, I could see it set in a totalitarian world. I could see this class being used as the start of a resistance movement or as the first stop in an underground railroad.

But it's aimed at elementary school aged readers. So while there's a hint of a troubled world, it's too upbeat to be dystopian. There are two more books in the series: Sticks and Stones and Showing Off.

Five stars

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