Posted by Venus on Sunday, March 15, 2015
Labels: intermediate book review
Publisher: Scholastic Press
Release Date: February 25, 2015
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 the curse drover out the magic. Felicity knows all about the curse, because her mama has it, cursed with a wandering heart that never lets then stay in one place for long. But Felicity has some magic of her own, able to see shining words hovering over everything from people to the church eves. Although she wants to stay in Midnight Gulch, Felicity can feel the curse already working, but she isn't sure if she can break it before her mother decides to leave again.
For all that talk about magic and curses and words hanging in the air, this was a decidedly non-magical book. Don't get me wrong, everything is this book is adorable, cute, southern sweet. The characters all have names like Felicity, Berry Weatherly, Day Grissom, Florentine, Divinity Lawson, as if everyone southerner in a small town is named these odd supposedly "southern" names. For the record, I live in the south and have for quite some time now and I don't know anyone by any of those names, not even nicknames. Let's also add in some odd bits like non-melting ice cream and the use of spindiddly throughout the entire book. Neither of which was very cute after a while.
I was also never quite sure if the magic that was mentioned was actual magic or simply tall tales and myths that people talked about, but only children would believe. The only real magic seemed to be Felicity synesthesia, in that she sees very accurate words everywhere she goes, but since she never mentions it being a magic-like thing and no one else seems to think so either, I took to be either a) another sickly sweet cutesy thing or b) a neurological phenomenon like synesthesia. Things like the non-melting ice cream were strange sure, but is it really magic?
The amount of dramatic storytelling exposition was almost maddening. Why is everyone from this town sitting around listening to stories about their own hometown? Stories they already know? The answer is simple, for the sake of the reader. This comes off as a bit of lazy writing because surely there is a better way of giving the reader backstory without having the children gather together on the carpet (figuratively) to tell them a story that they already know.
Pulling on the Three Times Lucky and Savvy traditions, A Snicker of Magic was trying too hard to be cute and magical, and it ended up feeling a bit more like syrup poured on an ice cream cone, creating a sticky mess.