Monday, March 10, 2014

Everyone needs a snicker of magic!

A Snicker of Magic
A Snicker of Magic by Natalie Lloyd

(written in early Feb., 2014)  Whether in the Twitter world or from the blogs I follow, many people had received an ARC of this book at the end of last year.  All of them raved about this book.  I pre-ordered it in December 2013.  Then I saw it advertised in the January Scholastic 4th and 5th grade brochure, and in paperback.  I was excited to finally get it and started it as soon as I could.  And you know how I know it's an amazing book??  I didn't cancel my pre-order.  The books I love, I like to own in hardcover.  Well, the hardcover is still coming my way on its release date in late February and the kids can have my well-loved paperback copy!  I can't wait to get this book into more hands!

(written in March 2014)  My original intent was to post this review on the book's Book Birthday, February 25.  Well, that didn't happen, but putting it out there better late than never is also good!

Here's the summary from Goodreads (if you already know it, skip down to the next part):

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.

Here's what the summary can't tell you.  Have you ever had a book grab hold of your heart and not let go?  Have you ever had the words seep into your brain and not leave for days, or weeks, or months?  That's how this book was for me.  It has stayed with me for so long, I can't let go of it!  I still want to talk about it with anyone!  There are lines, phrases, passages and pages that need to be discussed.

Now, I didn't think the book would start out that way for me.  It has a slow start as it takes awhile to set up the characters and the background story.  But once you get into the flow of the language and the characters start to mean something to you, it becomes a book that you not only can't put down, but you feel this intense need to talk about it to everyone around you!  It's not an action packed book.  There is not a huge rising action that drives the plot in this book.  Not only does the character, Felicity, drive this book forward, it's your need to see that she makes it out ok.  It's your need to hear her talk so eloquently.  To give meaning to words and phrases that you didn't know you needed a word for.

For example, factalactus.  I bet you didn't know that you needed that word.  But, as soon as you find out the definition, you'll nod your head and think, yup, I do know what that is.  "A factalactus is a truth that hurts a little bit, that prickles and stings, like you tried to shake hands with a cactus flower.  But just because it hurts doesn't make it less true."  Wow.  

There are other lines that just hit you right in the heart.  Like "Hope doesn't fizzle or flicker or burn out.  Hope isn't the same as other words.  Hope holds steady."  I want that on a quote board somewhere.

Or how about those lines that just make you crack up.  "He looked a lot younger than Cleo, but maybe age doesn't matter as long as you're already old."  Hits home after my birthday this past weekend... I have a feeling some of my students would agree with that line!

I'm so happy to have read this book.  I've already book talked it with many students and teachers.  Everyone I work with knows how much I love this book.  I've told my reading friends all about it.  My 8 year old has read it and I have plans to read it with her this summer as a mother/daughter book club book.  I want to read it slowly with her and see what discussions we can have.

In the meantime, share with me in the comments - what were your favorite lines?  I'd love to hear from you!  After all, I have an intense need to talk about this book!

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