Thursday, June 13, 2013

Book Review: Bras & Broomsticks (Magic in Manhattan, #1) by Sarah Mlynowski

Bras & BroomstickS Cover Fun, paranormal, chick-lit novel for younger teens

Bras & Broomsticks (Magic in Manhattan, #1) by Sarah Mlynowski

Reading Level: Young Adult
Release Date: February 22, 2005
Publisher: Delacorte Books for Young Readers
Pages: 320 pages
Source: Purchased
Reviewed By: Kate McMurry

When 14-year-old Rachel Weinstein's mother announces that she and Rachel's 12-year-old sister Miri are witches, Rachel scoffs in disbelief, but a demonstration of magic by Miri soon makes Rachel a believer, and she demands to know why she isn't a witch, too. Her mother informs her that she might develop powers someday, but Rachel doesn't want to wait. She reels off a string of requests for Miri or her mother to fill, but her mother says she's a non-practicing witch and she doesn't want Miri doing any spells until she's trained Miri.

Rachel thinks her mother's concerns are unjustified and goes behind her back to nag Miri to perform magic that will improve Rachel's sagging social life. Introverted, geeky Miri has world-saving aspirations, and she is unimpressed by Rachel's frivolous desires. Fortunately for Rachel, though, Miri is insecure enough about doing spells alone that she's willing to strike a bargain. Miri will conjure up for Rachel some of the things she wants in exchange for Rachel helping Miri do the spells that are important to her. Rachel is thrilled--until she finds out the hard way that none of Miri's spells turn out the way either of the girls imagined.

This G-rated, humorous, young-adult, chick-lit novel is clearly geared at girls age 9-14, but it is entertaining enough that readers of any age who appreciate zany comedy with a paranormal twist will get a kick out of this book. The main focus of this wacky, buddy story is Rachel's relationship with Miri. Though Rachel is the older sister, Miri in many ways is more mature than her. But as sober as Miri is, inevitably Rachel's enthusiasm drags Miri along with her, and the comical results of Miri's spells gone wrong makes this book extremely funny.

This story isn't simply one slapstick situation after another, however. As the story progresses, in the midst of the magical mayhem, the girls learn important (but not preachy) lessons about themselves, their parents, their friends, and what is really important in life.

Fans of this book might also enjoy Being Jamie Baker by Kelly Oram, Cloaked by Alex Flinn, and Gimme a Call by Sarah Mlynowski.

There are four books in the Magic In Manhattan series:

Bras & Broomsticks, 2005
Frogs & French Kisses, 2007
Spells & Sleeping Bags, 2008
Parties & Potions, 2010

I originally purchased this book as a trade paperback, but I recently re-read it as a Kindle ebook, which is well edited and formatted.

I rate this book as follows:

Heroine: 5

Subcharacters: 5

Paranormal Chick-Lit Plot: 5

Writing: 5

Overall: 5

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