Title: A Tale of Highly Unusual Magic
Author: Lisa Papademetriou
Synopsis: Kai and Leila are both finally having an adventure. For Leila, that means a globe-crossing journey to visit family in Pakistan for the summer; for Kai, it means being stuck with her crazy great-aunt in Texas while her mom looks for a job. In each of their bedrooms, they discover a copy of a blank, old book called The Exquisite Corpse. Kai writes three words on the first page—and suddenly, they magically appear in Leila’s copy on the other side of the planet. Kai’s words are soon followed by line after line of the long-ago, romantic tale of Ralph T. Flabbergast and his forever-love, Edwina Pickle. As the two take turns writing, the tale unfolds, connecting both girls to each other, and to the past, in a way they never could have imagined.
Huge thank you to Harper Collins Canada for this ARC!
This book got me through a rough patch, let me tell you. Being trapped in the hospital waiting on my very ill mother, I needed a book that I could smile my way through, and A Tale of Highly Unusual Magic actually fit the bill. While it has it’s emotional moments, this was one of those books that just had so much charm and personality, making it compulsively readable.
While this book is written in both Leila and Kai’s perspectives, my actually favourite parts in the novel came in the form of The Exquisite Corpse, the book the girls use to write back and forth to each other. I loved how imaginative this story is, and how on point a lot of the humour is. The book talks back! It has OPINIONS! There’s just so much to love about the humour in this book, and I may have laughed out loud more than once reading this book.
Funny enough though, I loved the way this book is written. It’s very fourth wall breaking and cheeky. It’s as though the characters know, but don’t know what is actually going on and it makes for a charming narrative. I also loved it’s approach to integrating cultures (though to be fair, I found Leila to be the more interesting of the two heroines, Kai’s chapters didn’t interest me as much, nor did I find them as strong, except for Doodle who was perfect). I felt as though I was learning so much about the girl’s home lives and how they view the world around them.
A Tale of Highly Unusual Magic soars with imagination and is great for readers who love to laugh and be taken out of their seats and transported to somewhere both different yet familiar. There’s fantastic and charming characters, and while this book is short, it packs a sharp punch in terms of its whimsical nature. This is definitely a must read for middle grade lovers, and younger readers who love letting their imaginations soar to crazy places.