Friday, August 3, 2012

What we're reading: Don't Expect Magic

Don’t Expect Magic
by Kathy McCullough
247 pages
Fiction: magical realism/fantasy
Grades 6-9

Reviewed by Anarda

Goth-inspired Delaney Collins is transplanted to sunny Los Angeles, and she’s not very happy about it: in fact, she’s downright surly, snarky and antagonistic, and with seemingly good reasons. First, her mom just died from a painful illness. Second, Hank has ignored her existence for years, and he’s supposed to be her dad! Third, she didn’t ask to be put on a plane and flown across the country to live with this same Hank who, besides being an absentee parent, is also a bestselling author and self-help guru. Fourth, she is now far, far away from her best and only friend, Posh-the-science-genius.
While plotting her escape from both Hank and life at her new, New Age private school (including fellow students pesky camera guy Flynn, and Cadie the cheerleader, who actually treats her NICELY), Delaney learns an enormous secret about her mysterious dad’s heritage, a secret that changes everything she ever knew about her own past and everything about her future. Can Delaney cope with a life that now includes a dad who is a practicing Fairy Godfather, as well as the very good chance that she, too, has inherited the same F.G. gene?


Delaney’s struggles with her possible power, and the responsibilities of using that power wisely, fuel some very funny, misguided adventures with her new ”friends,” Flynn and Cadie, two of the most unlikely people ever to befriend an angry quasi-Goth girl.
This was what I would call a “cute” read, something along the lines of Larbalestier’s How to Ditch Your Fairy or Alex Flinn’s A Kiss in Time. And the realistic portions are somewhat reminiscent of Cecil Castellucci's Beige. While the adults are depicted somewhat two-dimensionally, the teens’ characters are given more room to develop and change. The reader may catch on to the true nature of Delaney’s quest before she does, but it’s still fun to see her clomping through L.A. in her recycled and modified boots (I want a pair!), bossing around her friends and father, and wildly pointing whatever sharp object she has at hand as if it were (as it might be!) a fairy wand.

This book will shortly be added to Buena Vista's teen fiction collection.

The cover: Do you call those boots?!

My rating: 3

The protagonist, Delaney, has her own website. And the sequel, Who Needs Magic, is scheduled for fall of 2013.

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