FICTION

The Magic Misfits

224p. Little, Brown. Sept. 2017. Tr $16.99. ISBN 9780316391825; pap. $10.99. ISBN 9780316513968.
COPY ISBN
Gr 4–6—Carter was quite young when he lost his parents and was taken in by his uncle of sorts, Sly Mike. Sly Mike doesn't hold down a real job; he cons people out of their money and belongings through sleight of hand and trickery. Carter has never had friends, gone to school, or felt safe. The only upside to his unusual lifestyle is his mastery of magic tricks he's learned from Sly Mike—but he refuses to use them to hurt or rob others. When Sly Mike steals a precious diamond necklace from kind Ms. Zalewski, Carter decides that his uncle has gone too far. The boy steals the necklace back, returns it to the rightful owner, and runs away. Carter jumps on a railcar, ending up in a small New England town where he is captured by a carnival owner, B.B. Bosso, and pressured to join his sticky-fingered carnival sidekicks. Carter quickly understands that the glitter of their magic conceals their greed and trickery. He escapes and at last meets his true friends—Leila, Theo, Ridley, Olly, and Izzy. Each friend possesses skills in different areas of magic. The friends bond over a hatred of the evil carnies and after some missteps manage to outsmart B.B. Bosso. The themes of friendship, ethical choices, and bravery are woven seamlessly throughout. Readers will sympathize with Carter and cheer when he finally finds his place. The plot is fast-paced, and characters are multifaceted. Fun magic tricks are peppered throughout.
VERDICT A rollicking ride of a magical tale that's wholesomely suspenseful, values friendship, and applauds courage. A fine addition to medium and large collections.

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