Diane Duane's So You Want to Be a Wizard
Book review by Ramona Davis
Occupational Book Gives Teen a New Lease on Life
When thirteen year old Nita Callahan hid in the children's section of her local library to escape the neighborhood bully, she had no idea that a how-to book would actually change her life...that is until she opened the cover and recited the wizard's oath.
While hiding from bullies in the library, Nita finds a series of 'So You Want to Be ...' books. The one that catches her eye, 'So You Want to Be a Wizard,' seems rather unbelievable with its spells, strange words, and interesting pictures, but she decides to check it out to read at home anyway.
After leaving the seclusion of her hiding place to head home, Nita runs into the bullies who beat her up and take her favorite pen- a space pen that her uncle gave her. Upon returning home after the ordeal, she takes refuge in her room and reads the book, taking the wizard's oath before she goes to bed.
When Nita wakes up the next morning, she flips through her manual and sees her name added to the list of wizards in her local area; with this added bit of self confidence, Nita sets off to cast her first spell to get her pen back. After finding a spot to work her spell, she spies another would-be wizard (Kit) and the two work their magic together, calling up a white hole named Fred in the process.
What happens next is all in the name of friendship, adventure in an alternate universe, and saving the world!
This was a great parallel to the Harry Potter series yet with a bit more realism to it. I found it entirely believable, the way it was presented, that not only could there be wizards living among us, secretly, and designated by reciting random oaths, but that there could also be an alternate universe where the things that we take for granted, like cars and fire hydrants, are live killing machines. This story definitely had my attention from start to finish.
So You Want to Be a Wizard not only presented magic and wizardry in a different light from Harry Potter, it focused on issues that touch lives like bullying, what could happen when power is put into the hands of someone who is less than mindful of possible negative outcomes, and feeling different and alone, sometimes even within our own families.
So many areas of this book resonated deeply within me that before I even finished reading it, I was looking up the next several in the series and adding them to my wish list.
With a cast of characters that make you want to get to know them, a storyline that keeps you engrossed, and everyday life issues that you can relate to, So You Want to Be a Wizard is definitely a series to add to any bookshelf.
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