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Spells and Sleeping Bags by Sarah Mlynowski

Well, you see, my copy of Lean Mean Thirteen just happened to appear on my shelf at the library... and then that little movie about our favorite boy wizard* was showing in the theater, so my plan to get caught up sort of went out the window.

I read the first book in Sarah Mlynowski's Magic in Manhattan trilogy while I was in college. I'm not sure how I heard about it, but I remember staying up way later than I should have because I just couldn't put it down. I wasn't especially impressed by the writing, but I just couldn't wait to see how it would end.

So, when I got Spells and Sleeping Bags from the library, it jumped to the top of my ever-growing to-be-read pile. I actually ended up reading it all afternoon on the 4th (so patriotic, I know), and completely ignoring my boyfriend (though I found him a book to read**, so he didn't seem to mind). And I enjoyed this third entry in the series just as much as the first two.

WARNING: If you haven't read the first two, stop reading immediately and head to your local library. This may contain SPOILERS!

Okay, so Rachel, who has finally gotten her powers, and Miri, her little sister who is also a witch, are headed off to Camp Wood Lake. Rachel is very excited; after all, this is the camp that Raf (her crush) has been attending for years. But of course, things are not exactly smooth-sailing for Rachel (or Miri). She can barely swim, her bunk-mate Liana seems to be trying to steal both her crush and her little sister. Not to mention that her mother, her father, and her new stepmother are all coming for visitors day.

I think I may have actually enjoyed this a little more than the last two, and I was definitely laughing out loud at times. For example, when the campers have movie night, they watch the newest Harry Potter movie, and Rachel says something about how she was hoping for a romantic comedy, not the story of her life. (I was going to include the actual quote, but I already returned my copy to the library, and all the copies are now checked out). And the banter between Rachel and Miri reminds me so much of my own conversations with my younger step-sister.

My only complaint is that this seems to be the last book in the series (the author's website does refer to it as a trilogy after all). But the ending seems to leave it open enough for more (or maybe a series about Miri... please!!). A perfect beach read for younger readers (I know my middle-school self would have adored these books), this is a fun antidote to all the heaviness of Harry Potter (and all the other young-hero-has-to-save-the-world fantasies).

*Loved it, by the way.

**Epic by Conor Kostick -- I'm working on convincing him to guest-review for me


Little Willow said...

These books are fun.

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