Title: Ordinary Magic
Author: Caitlen Rubino-Bradway
Recommended for: Ages 10-14
Call Number/Link: J RUB
Synopsis: In Abby’s world, magic isn’t anything special: it’s a part of everyday life. So when Abby learns that she has zero magical abilities, she’s branded an “Ord”―ordinary, bad luck, and quite possibly a danger to society. The outlook for kids like Abby isn’t bright. Many are cast out by their families, while others are sold to treasure hunters (ordinary kids are impervious to spells and enchantments). Luckily for Abby, her family enrolls her in a school that teaches ordinary kids how to get around in a magical world. But with treasure-hunting kidnappers and carnivorous goblins lurking around every corner, Abby’s biggest problem may not be learning how to be ordinary―it’s whether or not she’s going to survive the school year!
Comments: I like to call this book the “Reverse Harry Potter” because the main character lives in a world of magic and find out she’s unmagical, and has to go to a special school. Great for kids who like magical fantasy, but have read all the obvious titles.
The best part about this book is the relatable main character. Abby is 12, loved by her large family, and deals with the non-magical hand she was dealt in a very believable way. Her new life isn’t easy and but she tries hard to prove herself and find a place where she fits in at her new school. She’s likable and makes mistakes and is honest with herself. Most of the other characters are well rounded and there are little details that make them more than just two dimensional stereotypes.
Like Harry Potter, a lot of the book is devoted to showing the special classes they have to take, like Combat or Foreign Languages in case they get kidnapped and sold. Also, it shows the kids trying to get along with kids from different walks of life and different family situations, and sticking by their friends (no real romance at all). There are also some scary scenes where the kids are stalked by murderous redcaps and attacked by adventurers.
The only downside to this book, is that it is left kind of open ended, like there was meant to be a sequel, but there isn’t one. Some of the kids don’t make it happily to the end of the book, and that changes the main character quite a bit, but overall I would highly recommend it.