Nory and her friends are misfits in an alternate universe (Upside-Down Magic, 2015) where everyone has a magical talent.
There are Fluxers, Flares, Fuzzies, Flickers, and Flyers whose talents develop in a fairly predictable, established pattern. But brown-skinned Nory and the children in the Upside-Down Magic class, or the UDMs as they are called, are different. Their magic is wonky and totally out of control, causing mayhem wherever they go. The kids with normal magic torment and ostracize them, especially their nemesis, a mean white girl who, with her group of followers, bullies them without mercy. When a series of bizarre and inappropriate magical events disrupt school activities and seem to implicate Nory’s classmate Bax, the UDMs are threatened with the elimination of their program. The children draw closer together with the aid of caring teachers and coaches who encourage and believe in their capability to take control of their unusual talents and use them wisely. Nory leads the way as they solve the mystery and earn the respect of at least some of the other students. The inventive tale is filled with a deftly balanced mixture of otherworldly effects, humor, action, and the confusing and recognizable emotions of middle school dynamics. Nory is brave, determined, quick to take offense, kind, empathetic, and eminently likable.
Appealing, warmhearted, and magical. (Fantasy. 8-12)