Title: A Snicker of Magic
Author: Natalie Lloyd
Genre: MG Magical Realism
Publication date: 2014
Publisher: Scholastic Press
My rating: 5 spitwads / 5
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.
Words are incredible little things.
You string the right ones together and you can make people laugh, cry, or think. With just a few carefully chosen ones you can thaw the edges of even the iciest heart. Heck, you can even transport a reader into a whole other city, a whole other time, a whole other world.
All with just the right words.
Felicity Pickle is no stranger to words. She sees more in a single day than most people will see in a lifetime. Felicity is a "word collector" and can spot the little boogers swimming around just about anywhere, invisible to everyone else's eyes but hers. Throughout the course of the book, Felicity realizes that words play a huge part in her story, as well as the story of Midnight Gulch, Tennessee.
And the beauty of it all is how Lloyd weaves this theme throughout the entire book. A Snicker of Magic isn't just a great story about a girl trying to solve a magical mystery and bring peace to her family as well as the town she wants to call home.
It's also a lesson on wordcrafting.
There wasn't a single page that didn't leave me smiling. Lloyd captures that lyrical sing-song cadence of the Appalachian storytellers that I love listening to so much. Every chapter is full of little Tennessee-isms and it's obvious that not a single line is neglected of the voice that makes reading it so delightful.
To use a word coined by Felicity herself--the book is simply spindiddly.
So if this one's on your to-buy list, stop waiting and go pick up a copy. If it's sitting in your to-read pile right now, quit dillydallying and crack the sucker open. If you've never heard of this book before right now, you're welcome. From Tennessee or not, fantasy nut or noob, reader or writer... you need to read this. Because it really doesn't matter who you are, I can guarantee that you'll agree with me on one thing:
This book has its own snicker of magic inside.