A Snicker of Magic: A Book Review


A Snicker of MagicTitle: A Snicker of Magic

Author: Natalie Lloyd

Published: February 25th, 2014 by Scholastic Press

Pages: 320

Genre: Middle Grade / Magical Realism {is that a thing? let’s go with it.}

Source: Library / Hardcover

Series: Nope!

Summary: 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. {Goodreads}

My Thoughts: A Snicker of Magic seems entirely too promising. From the whimsical cover to the intriguing synopsis, I figured little could go wrong with another middle grade small town story. And, while I enjoyed the book, I was neither blown away nor left with a memorable impression. Further more, I question if this will be a hit with the intended audience: elementary school readers.

Felicity Pickle and her little sister and mother never stay in one place fork long. Always moving from one home to the next, Felicity doubts she’ll be living in Midnight Gulch for long. However, when she arrives, Felicity believes her luck might change. From the variety of words she collects in the town, including the word home, to her new friend, Jonah, Midnight Gulch starts to look more and more like a place to stay. Felicity is a the type of protagonist I love to read about. She’s quirky, but delightfully so; she isn’t perfect, but I wouldn’t expect her to be. Felicity deals with a LOT in the story, and I loved seeing her grow as a character. And her word-collecting ability? I thought it was such a unique aspect to the story, and it added quite a bit of imagery to the setting.

I think what might make young readers put this down is the plot itself. For myself, I found it difficult to immerse myself in the story, and it took me a bit more than usual to finish it. With the intended audience’s smaller attention spans, the slower moving story could be the factor that makes it a did-not-finish. However, if readers can get past that “hump,” for lack of a better word, I am sure many will adore the citizens of Midnight Gulch.

The supporting characters of A Snicker of Magic had such fun backstories, even though I can’t call any of them entirely remarkable. My personal favorite was Jonah. He and Felicity were adorable together, and I love seeing strong friendships in the middle grade genre. Actually, family was emphasized as well, always a plus in my book! Not everything was perfect, but the variety of characters leads me to think that the author will only improve with her next few books {hopefully, there are some in the works!}.

Overall, A Snicker of Magic did have its pros, don’t get me wrong. The lovable protagonist and wide cast of supporting characters showed a lot of skill, but the plot, mainly the beginning, need some tweaks. It was not a loss in reading, however, because Natalie Lloyd has made my list of authors to watch out for :)

Pros: The main character was wonderful; I not only loved her narration, I also saw terrific character development. The secondary characters added much to the setting with their wacky and enjoyable personalities.

Cons: The beginning might not entice young readers right way – it might be the “deciding factor” for them.

Heads Up: A Snicker of Magic is very family friendly.

Overall: I give it 3 1/2 stars {*** 1/2}, and I recommend it for ages 11 and up.

Have a lovely night!


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