Thursday, April 7, 2011

FUN Book Review: The Magic Half By Annie Barrows

About The Book:  Miri is the only single child in the middle of a family with two sets of twins--older brothers and younger sisters. When the family moves to an old farmhouse Miri accidentally travels back in time to 1935 only to discover Molly, a girl in need of a real family to call her own. A very satisfying classic-in-the-making, with spine-tingling moments, this is a delightful family-friendly middle grade time-slip novel.

First Line: Only Miri had no twin.

One Great Line: "His clothes seemed to stretch and strain to hold him in, and his wide legs threatened to crush the chair underneath him." (60)

What kids are saying: "I really like this book because it’s so magical. There are scary parts, too, like Horst the thief who is rumored to be a killer. This book is a thrilling adventure and after every chapter, I wanted to read more and more." Kidreviewed

What Others Are Saying: "The characters and setting are realistic despite the subtle elements of magic and time travel. Barrows conjures up a delightful tale brimming with mystery, magic, and adventure that will surely enchant readers everywhere." School Library Journal 

"Readers will savor the author's lively observations (thinking she is trapped in the past, Miri "consider[s] the fact that several of her favorite books would not be published for seventy more years. 'Great.... When I'm in my eighties I'll find out what happens to Harry Potter' "), while the heroine's adaptability and independent thinking endow her with the appeal of a Ramona Quimby or a Clementine." Publishers Weekly

What I Thought: I thoroughly enjoyed this one.It was easy for me to relate to how Miri felt about being left out of the cool things. The time travel is always something that I am always a fan of. Barrows does an accurate job portraying the two time periods and the differences between the two. She has a great voice and it came out loud and clear. 

My Rating: ♥♥♥♥♥  If I didn't like it I wouldn't review it.

2011 Kentucky Bluegrass Award Nominee
2010-2011 Mark Twain Award Nominee
2010-2011 Virginia Readers’ Choice Nominee
2011 Rhode Island Children’s Book Award Nominee
2011 Massachusetts Children’s Book Award Nominee
2011 Sasquatch Reading Award Nominee

About The Author: Annie Burrows
Publisher: Bloomsbury USA Childrens Books

What inspired The Magic Half?  She always wanted to write a book about regular people but they have something magical happen and she has always been fascinated by twins. (More here.)

"For me, the most harrowing aspect of writing is my utter inability to determine whether what I’ve written is good or vile. How can my critical faculties, so razor-sharp when it comes to muffins or pants or other people’s books, melt away in the face of one of my own paragraphs?" 
She overcomes this, she says by letting it age. "I...just stick the manuscript in the deep freeze for a couple of days or weeks. When I read it again, my reaction is much more reliable than the immediate post-writing frenzy." -Novel Journey

Interesting Fact:
Barrows was requested by her aunt, Mary Ann Shaffer when she became ill to finish her book. She completed the book without changing the voice. Amazing! The book,  The Guernsey Literary and Potato Peel Pie Society. (More here.)
Other books:

This is a series that first came out in 2006 winning several awards. Barrows will publish the eighth in the series this year.See the rest of the series here.

This is one of Barrows adult fiction books. She has several non-fiction titles. She says that she can't wait until she is finished with the Ivy and Bean series as she has several ideas percolating, waiting to come to the page. 

Have you read any of her books? What do you think about writing in multiple genres?


  1. This is my first visit to your blog (wandered over here from my bestie's blog, Thoughts from Tiffani), and I have to say that I am loving your writer's take on the A to Z blog challenge! I feel like I can learn so much! Following you now!

  2. What a neat sounding book! It's neat to see it reviewed here in part because I'm reviewing The Guernsey Literary and Potato Peel Pie Society on my blog for tomorrow's "G" entry in the A to Z Challenge!

  3. Pam, I like the form your book review took. I'm reading a book right now for review. When I finish reading it, I'm "borrowing" your format. Promise to return it when I finish.
    btw, that interview of me is up now on

    MM the Queen of English

  4. That is amazing that she completed the book without changing the voice. It is amazing at how we can hear different voices in the books we read. We really are individuals.

  5. This is my first visit, too. I found you on the A to Z blogroll.

    My book club read Guernsey and really enjoyed it. The Magic Half sounds like a great F-is-for-fun read!

  6. Almost makes me want to be a kid again. Great reviews.

    Popping in by way of the A-Z Challenge. I’m blogging at:
    Write, Wrong or Indifferent
    Marie Anne’s Missives
    In the Garden With Sow-n-Sow
    Every Day Crochet

  7. @Yvonne @Susan @Josh @Jenny Thanks so much for stopping by! I think I made it to all of yours also. This is fun! Meeting so many cool people.
    @Queen of English You are welcome to borrow my format. How about a free workshop? ;) Since my blog is about writing I like to gear my review toward things that I look for. I am actually thinking about tweaking it some more. Check in next week.
    @Marie Anne Holy cow! You have a lot of blogs. I will try and make a stop at all of them over the next few days! Whew! How do you do it!

  8. Great review! Sounds like a interesting book, I'll see if the library has it. For more kids book reviews, please visit my blog:


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