The Magic Misfits: The Second Story by Neil Patrick Harris

37912471Genre: Middle Grade Fantasy
Pages: Print 336
Release Date: September 25, 2018
Author: Neil Patrick Harris
Rating: ★★★★


Disclaimer: This review is solely my opinion. The copy used for this review was an ARC copy received from a Library conference attended in April 2018. The comments in this review do not reflect the views of the publisher or author. 


Goodreads Synopsis

Growing up in an orphanage, Leila was bullied for being different. But she turned her hardship into skill by becoming an escape artist—a valuable trait when belonging to a group of magical best friends. When a famous psychic comes to town, however, Leila and her pals won’t be able to escape the big mystery heading their way. Whether chasing mad monkeys or banishing ghosts from haunted hotels, these six friends will do their best to keep Mineral Wells safe—but can they still protect themselves in the process?

Join the Magic Misfits as they discover adventure, friendship, and more than a few hidden secrets in this delightful new series. Whether you’re a new fan of stage magic or a longtime expert at illusion, Magic Misfits is sure to delight even more than sawing your assistant in half!


Final Thoughts

This book is geared toward early middle elementary and up. The plot of the story can be a bit mature for younger ages as it dives into a more advanced family drama. The story begins with Leila, sharing her back story, how she developed her love for escaping, and how she meets Mr. Vernon. The story then continues from her perspective as the Magic Misfits work together to uncover secrets tied to a new face in town. A famous psychic returns to town after years away and Leila is the only one that trusts her. The other misfits aim to keep a close eye on the psychic. They misfits team up to investigate an abandoned wing at the hotel the other Mr. Vernon works at. While doing so, they find out more about the psychic and her connection to the town and Mr. Vernon. Can these band of misfits figure out if an old enemy has returned? Can they trust the new the psychic?

Overall this book was great! This book focuses on family dynamics, foster homes, adoption, and friendships. Leila faces a challenge of figuring out who she is and who her birth parents are. She must learn to accept her past once she uncovers the truth. This story has a hint of LGBTQIA, as Leila’s adoptive parents are both males. There is also a bit of family drama that involves the psychic.  This book does a great job of teaching the value of friendship and magic tricks. Neil Patrick Harris fills this book with magic tricks and instructions.

I would recommend this book to any fans of the first novel. I don’t want to compare the two, but I preferred the first novel. That is mostly due to the newness of the characters. I would assume each installment in this series will high a different character, hopefully circling back to Carter. I want to know more about his dad, more information about his involvement in magic. This book focused more on Leila and her story. I am hearing talk of there being more of these to come.


To purchase your copy of this novel at https://www.amazon.com/gp/product/B078W5PMV1/ref=series_rw_dp_sw 


Happy Reading and I hope you enjoyed my honest opinion of this novel!

Enjoyed this review or have book suggestions? Leave a comment below!

Contact me at librarielbookreviews@gmail.com for book reviews.

Black Enough Edited by Ibi Zoboi

IMG_0341Genre: Young Adult Contemporary Fiction- Short Stories Collection
Pages: Print 416
Release Date: January 8, 2019
Edited by: Ibi Zoboi
Rating: ★★★★


Disclaimer: This review is solely my opinion. The copy used for this review was a printed copy that I purchased from Brazos Bookstore in Houston. I also listened to an eAudiobook using Scribd.  This review does not reflect the views of the publisher, bookstore, or app. 


Harper Collins Synopsis

Edited by National Book Award finalist Ibi Zoboi, and featuring some of the most acclaimed bestselling Black authors writing for teens today—Black Enough is an essential collection of captivating stories about what it’s like to be young and Black in America.

Black is…sisters navigating their relationship at summer camp in Portland, Oregon, as written by Renée Watson.

Black is…three friends walking back from the community pool talking about nothing and everything, in a story by Jason Reynolds.

Black is…Nic Stone’s high-class beauty dating a boy her momma would never approve of.

Black is…two girls kissing in Justina Ireland’s story set in Maryland.

Black is urban and rural, wealthy and poor, mixed race, immigrants, and more—because there are countless ways to be Black enough.


Final Thoughts

I initially decided to pick up this book after seeing a copy of it displayed on social media. I did my research on the author and the intended goal of the book. According to the School Library Journal, this book is geared for grades 9 and up. I thought this would give me more insight into what it is like to be black in America from a variety of perspectives of POC authors. I am a black female who grew up along the poverty line in a low-income city. Colorism is predominant in the black community based on skin tone, and I am considered fair skin compared to my family. I was interested to read this anthology of stories and found a few that reminded me of my teenage self.  There were a few that just did not work for me but served its’ purpose of relating to the target audience. The stories that did not work for me felt rushed without a clear objective.

This book contains short stories written by famous POC authors, and it does its’ job of shedding some light on the challenges faced by black teens in America. It showcases the challenges put on teens by their parents to succeed, the difficulties of fitting in, the problems of essentially being black enough, and the family dynamics. I faced some of these similar challenges as a teen, and this book is much needed. It provides stories that are relatable to black and African American teens. It also provides insight on the amount of diversity in the black community and the different upbringings. Each author provided insight on a variety of topics such as LGBTQIA, racial divide, educated black young men and women, grief, family, relationships, and friendship. This book provides an intriguing approach to breaking apart the stigmas that I was taught as a child and made me feel a bit empowered after reading it. I have not read a lot of books written by POC authors, but it inspired me to read more.

Below I provided a list of my top 5 selections from this book that you must read. Here are the ones I enjoyed:

Warning: Color May Fade by  Leah Henderson– It shows that black Americans in a different perspective and showcases the power of expression through art. It also showcases the challenges of the pressure of parents and finding who you are.

The Trouble with Drowning by Dhonielle Clayton – It showcases the challenges of dealing with loss and moving forward. A compelling short story about how one family overcomes a huge loss and how one sister comes to terms with it.

The (R)evolution of Nigeria Jones by Ibi Zoboi- The daughter of a man who is starting a black movement faces the challenge of realizing that she doesn’t hate white people like her father and his followers. She wants to fit in and find her path while coming to terms with who she is. This particular short story ended on an embraceful note.

Wild Horses, Wild Hearts by Jaye Coles–  This is an LGBTQUIA story about two young males, one white and one black, living on two different farms. Their families despise each other, and both are feeling pressure from their parents. The good things are that they have each other.

Oreo by Brandy Colbert- A black family moves away from their hometown and are invited back for a birthday celebration for their grandmother. Tensions are high due to Joni’s families wealth and place of residence. Joni just wants to be accepted by her family and not be ridiculed for her choice of schooling or upbringing. This is a great short story to share insight on the challenges of colorism and judgment in black families.

I highly recommend you picking up this book and giving it to a black, African American, or diverse teen. It is intended for grades 9 and up but can be given to middle schoolers. You should definitely add this one to your list of must-have reads!


To purchase your copy of this novel, visit the website at http://ibizoboi.net for access to purchasing links


Happy Reading and I hope you enjoyed my honest opinion of this novel!

Enjoyed this review or have book suggestions? Leave a comment below!

Contact me at librarielbookreviews@gmail.com for book reviews.

I Have Lost My Way by Gayle Forman

img_3541Title: I Have Lost My Way 
Author: Gayle Forman
Genre: Contemporary Young Adult Fiction
Pages: Print 368
Release Date: March 27, 2018
Rating: ★★★★★


Disclaimer: This review is solely my opinion. I was provided a copy of this book from @KidLitExchange #partner in exchange for my honest review. Thanks again to @KidLitExchange  #partner for access to review a free copy of this book! The comments in this review do not reflect the views of the author or KidLitExchange. The  copy used in this review is an uncorrected copy.


Goodreads Synopsis:

Around the time that Freya loses her voice while recording her debut album, Harun is making plans to run away from everyone he has ever loved, and Nathaniel is arriving in New York City with a backpack, a desperate plan, and nothing left to lose. When a fateful accident draws these three strangers together, their secrets start to unravel as they begin to understand that the way out of their own loss might just lie in help­ing the others out of theirs.


Favorite Quotes:

” I have lost my way.”

“Right here is where I need to be.”

“We all die. It’s the only sure thing in life and the one thing we all have in common with everything else on the planet.”


Final Thoughts:

This captivating book follows the journey of three young adults all uttering the same phrase that has connected each to one another, “I have lost my way.” Gayle Forman has done it again with her new contemporary novel that follows the lives of these young adults, each dealing with their form of loss. Freya must learn to accept the things she cannot change and mourn the loss of an absentee father. She must decide what’s more important, building relationships or her career. Harun is harboring a secret that could change his life and his relationship with his family. He must face facts, he must face his fears, and he must learn what it is necessary, family, love or both. Lastly, Nathaniel is too afraid to face the reality of his situation. He is facing the biggest challenge of the three, but he has to face reality head-on or let his imagination consume him. It is by fate that these three stumble into each other on that day in Central Park and it is by fate that their lives begin to unravel together. Each must face their challenges both individually and collectively. These three were strangers during the day, but by night they are family. Will Huran ever face his fears? Will Freya get over her absent father? Will Nathaniel face the truth?

Overall, this novel had me on the edge of my seat. Of all the characters, I had the hardest time with Nathaniel. His character put me to tears with the internal battle he struggles within this book. Gayle Forman did a great job developing his style and showcasing the challenges of dealing with a loss as epic as his. Huran was the most exciting character, and his trial was one that I had not thought of. I was absorbed in the story of his family, of his siblings, and of his challenge of finding a mate that fit into the boundaries of his cultural upbringing. He faces one of the most significant challenges that isn’t showcased much in literature that I have read, and I enjoyed his character much. Lastly, Freya was one I could relate to the most. The turmoil she faced with her sister and her finally finding a voice of her own is a fantastic story. I enjoyed this entire novel and felt the author did a tremendous job connecting the three characters and focusing on issues that needed to be addressed. I was tearing up at the ending parts of all the characters. This young adult fiction has a hint of LGBTQIA awareness between the pages and information on the importance of building relationships. I recommend this novel to teenagers and up. I personally would have liked more information on Nathaniel’s mother and an epilogue. This only because some pieces left me wanting more.

Happy Reading!


Interested in me reviewing your book or have suggested reads? Email me at librarielbookreviews@gmail.com