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A Most Magical Girl Reprint Edition
Contributor(s): Foxlee, Karen
ISBN: 0553512889     ISBN-13: 9780553512885
Publisher: Yearling Books
    OUR PRICE: $9.59  
Product Type: Paperback
Published: August 2017
Annotation: From the author of Ophelia and the Marvelous Boy comes the story of a friendship between two girls set in Victorian England, with magical machines, wizards, witches, a mysterious underworld, and a race against time.
Annabel Grey is primed for a proper life as a young lady in Victorian England. But when her mother suddenly disappears, she’s put in the care of two eccentric aunts who thrust her into a decidedly un-ladylike life, full of potions and flying broomsticks and wizards who eat nothing but crackers. Magic, indeed! Who ever heard of such a thing?

Before Annabel can assess the most ladylike way to respond to her current predicament, she is swept up in an urgent quest. Annabel is pitted against another young witch, Kitty, to rescue the sacred Moreover Wand from the dangerous underworld that exists beneath London. The two girls outsmart trolls, find passage through a wall of faerie bones, and narrowly escape a dragon, but it doesn’t take long for Annabel to see that the most dangerous part of her journey is her decision to trust this wild, magical girl.

Sparkling with Karen Foxlee’s enchanting writing, this is a bewitching tale of one important wand and two most magical girls.

"[Foxlee's] heroines have grit and heart, and they are willing to get dirty. And they do. Foxlee’s nicely wry tone and moments of incongruous humor break up the tension, while Annabel’s race against time in a harrowing journey deep under London keeps the pages turning. Deliciously complex and convincingly detailed."--Kirkus Reviews, Starred Review

"Kids who enjoyed Foxlee’s Ophelia and the Marvelous Boy and fans of Hardinge’s Cuckoo Song will find similar otherworldly appeal in this enthralling adventure."--The Bulletin, Starred review

"Memorable for its vivid imagery and stylish, thoughtful prose."--Horn Book Magazine

From the Hardcover edition.
Additional Information
Library of Congress Subjects:
Magic; Fiction.
Witches; Fiction.
Wizards; Fiction.
BISAC Categories:
- Juvenile Fiction | Fantasy & Magic
- Juvenile Fiction | Social Issues | Friendship
- Juvenile Fiction | Family | Orphans & Foster Homes
Dewey: [Fic]
LCCN: bl2017031380
Academic/Grade Level: Grade 4-6, Age 9-11
Book type: Juvenile Fiction
Physical Information: 7.75" H x 5.25" W x 0.75" (0.45 lbs) 297 pages
Accelerated Reader Info
Quiz #: 183514
Reading Level: 5.1   Interest Level: Middle Grades   Point Value: 10.0
Scholastic Reading Counts Info
Quiz #: Q69290
Reading Level: 4.3   Interest Level: Grades 3-5   Point Value: 15.0
Descriptions, Reviews, Etc.

Contributor Bio(s): Karen Foxlee is the author of The Anatomy of Wings, The Midnight Dress, and the middle-grade novel Ophelia and the Marvelous Boy, which has received five starred reviews. She lives in Brisbane, Australia, with her daughter.

From the Hardcover edition.

Reviewed by Horn Book Guide Reviews (Horn Book Guide Reviews 2017 Spring)
Annabel's mother removes her from young ladies' school, sets her up assisting her great-aunts' magic shop, and disappears. But tears diminish as Annabel takes up her role as "Valiant Defender of Good Magic," destined to retrieve a wand that will vanquish an evil threatening London. Despite its conventional good-vs.-evil scenario, this quest fantasy is memorable for its vivid imagery and stylish prose. Copyright 2016 Horn Book Guide Reviews.

Reviewed by Horn Book Magazine Reviews (Horn Book Magazine Reviews 2016 #4)
Annabel is outraged when her mother removes her from her conventional young ladies' school, sets her up as an assistant in her great-aunts' magic shop, and promptly disappears. But the tears and repining with which she greets her new life diminish as she takes up her role as "Valiant Defender of Good Magic." She learns that she is the Annabel Grey destined to retrieve a wand that will vanquish an evil force threatening all of London. Her quest takes her underground -- over the Lake of Tears, through the Kingdom of Trolls, and into the lair of a smelly dragon -- with the help of wild Kitty, a "betwixter" who traverses both fairy and human worlds, and a hairy little troll named Hafwen. Like many quest fantasies, at heart this is a tale of inner development, a theme Foxlee (Ophelia and the Marvelous Boy, rev 1/14; The Midnight Dress, rev. 1/14) treats with compassion. She gently mocks notions of propriety in this magical, quasi-Victorian world, valuing "be good; be brave" instead for girls' moral formation. Here, a teacup is a means to prophetic visions; an umbrella a simile for a dragon's wings unfolding ("like a thousand umbrellas being opened in unison"). Despite its conventional good vs. evil scenario, this is memorable for its vivid imagery and stylish, thoughtful prose. deirdre f. baker

Reviewed by School Library Journal Reviews (SLJ Reviews 2016 June)

Gr 4–7—Thirteen-year-old Annabel Grey was raised to be a proper young lady. Her loftiest dreams involve her best friend, dresses, and a brand-new pair of green ice skates. Then, in the turn of a day, her mother goes abroad, leaving her with aunts she's never known. Annabel jarringly learns that the visions she's always seen in puddles were just an inkling of the magical world surrounding her, one from which her mother was estranged and to which she has now been returned. Seemingly minutes after she arrives at the magic shop owned by her aunts, the Vine sisters, a dark wizard named Mr. Angel arrives. He has constructed a dark magic machine and conjured shadowlings in a bid to take over all of London and dissolve good magic. Annabel's journey to Under London to retrieve the white wand in an effort to save everyone from Mr. Angel's nefarious plans ultimately becomes one of self-discovery in which she comes to terms with her new identity and embraces bravery, chance, and unexpected friendships. Many scenes are richly described, from dark, foggy, sinister London to an unwelcome delay in the troll dwellings of Under London. Yet ultimately some characters and elements feel underdeveloped. The brevity of the period before Annabel leaves her old life, as well as the abruptness with which the story wraps up after her quest ends, makes for a shallow backstory. Further, the tale centers on the battle between dark and light, in which light, or good, is often called "white" (the white wand; her pure white, unmapped skin) and dark, or evil, is often "black" (the black wand, black fog, black wave of destruction). Though this is of course an age-old trope, one wishes different, more inclusive naming conventions had been employed. VERDICT An additional purchase for libraries where Foxlee's Ophelia and the Marvelous Boy proved popular.—Jill Heritage Maza, Montclair Kimberley Academy, Montclair, NJ

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