Tuesday, July 12, 2016

Review: "A Snicker of Magic" by Natalie Lloyd

Happy Tuesday, Bookworms!

No Top Ten Tuesday today! Instead, I offer you a review on a mighty fine Middle Grade read. This one actually, is on my list of "Top MG Books Of All Time". Enjoy!

A Snicker of Magic

Title: A Snicker of Magic
Author: Natalie Lloyd
Genre: Middle Grade Fantasy
Publication: January 25, 2014
Pages: 311


Introducing an extraordinary new voice---a magical debut that will make your skin tingle, your eyes glisten . . .and your heart sing.

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.


I have not read an author who could write such a splendid, magical, and heartwarming book since Diana Wynne Jones.

"A Snicker of Magic" is truly that level of greatness.

I was constantly floored by the imagination that filled these pages. My heart soared and plummeted and danced through every chapter as I followed Felicity Pickle through discovering the magic that exists all around and especially inside.

I highlighted one sentence after another, one paragraph after another, telling myself that I needed to remember these words. These words were good advice, sweet things to hear, and truths to remember.

The characters were lovable and full of fun and mischief. Each and every person you met in Midnight Gulch had a story to tell. Thankfully, Natalie Lloyd allowed each and every one of them their spotlight. It's been a long time since I read a work that treated each of its characters as though they were the most important. In the end, everyone is part of the bigger and greater picture. Every person in a town makes it the place it is. Every somebody is worth something.

"A Snicker of Magic" was not all feel-good-lollipop-candy-coated-fun, however. Ms. Lloyd touched on some issues that many of us have faced - Being left, feeling trapped, feeling alone, feeling out of place, missing someone, and losing someone. She reminds us of our burdens and fears. Midnight Gulch is full of sad memories too, but the splendid thing that the reader learns is that those "Factocactus" memories... the hurtful ones, can be turned into Factofabulous ones. The ones that make us smile and feel warm and hopeful inside. We just have to choose.

I certainly believe that the author herself is a Felicity Pickle, an author with magic in her veins. Someone with a knack for finding just the right word to get the reader's heart to pounding: Yes! Yes! Yes Yes Yes!

Spindiddly job, Ms. Lloyd.


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Auggie is the 29 year old whirlwind owner of Auggie-Talk. A bibliobibuli by nature and a (potentially obsessive) lover of Diana Wynne Jones and Neil Gaiman. Not so secrety secret: She's been known to consume too much caffeine leading to hyperactive rants about her heinous lack of shelving and the high likelihood that Hermione Granger is her spirit animal.

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