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THE MAGIC NATION THING by Zilpha Keatley Snyder


by Zilpha Keatley Snyder

Age Range: 9 - 12

Pub Date: Aug. 9th, 2005
ISBN: 0-385-73085-3
Publisher: Delacorte

Twelve-year-old Abby O’Malley does not want to be a private detective like her mother. She just wants to be normal, have a normal family and perhaps be a gold-medalist skier. Abby resists sleuth work partly due to her decidedly abnormal knack for it—a mysterious psychic ability that has helped crack real-life cases. (When Abby was younger, these visions were deemed “just her imagination” by a teacher, or, as she heard it, her “Magic Nation.”) When Abby tells her best friend Paige about her powers, Paige is anxious to capitalize upon them, digging up mysteries to solve and, unfortunately, treating Abby as something of a circus monkey. It’s disappointing that by the end Paige still doesn’t understand how insensitive she is in exploiting Abby’s abilities. Still, readers will find plenty to relate to here: a close, oft-stormy preteen friendship; Abby’s wish to reunite her divorced parents; Paige’s obnoxious-but-not-irredeemable brothers; ski-trip antics and flirtations; and, of course, the excitement of detective work. While the themes are often belabored, this remains a lively, engaging read. (Fiction. 9-12)