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The Magic Misfits by Neil Patrick Harris
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The Magic Misfits (2017)

by Neil Patrick Harris

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280964,318 (3.88)7
"Six young magicians and illusionists team up to save their small town from a crooked carnival owner and his goons"--

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Recommended Ages: Gr. 3-6

Plot Summary: Carter Locke had the misfortune of becoming an orphan, and an even greater misfortune of being raised by his uncle, a swindler who lived on the streets robbing people of money and valuable items. His uncle taught Carter how to pickpocket and was astounded when he noticed Carter had was very talented. Carter on the other hand, didn't want to do evil things. Sure, he wanted to eat, but he drew lines that he didn't want to cross. Finally, he had enough and ran away from his uncle. He ended up in a town with a large carnival and discovered a lot of the same tricks his Uncle Sly used to con people. Should he continue on his way? Should he grow his talents and join the carnival? Will he ever find a place where he fits in and feels like he's home?

Setting: small New England town

Characters:
Carter Locke
Uncle Sly
B.B. Bosso

Recurring Themes: fitting in, wheelchair, friendship, family, good vs. evil, two dads, LGBTQ

Controversial Issues: none

Personal Thoughts: Perfect amount of character development and action. Well-written. As I read the beginning I had Neil Patrick Harris's voice in my head, but that faded as I got invested in the story. However, the voice is still unusual and strong since the narrator speaks to the reader.

Genre: Fantasy or realistic fiction -- I can't think of any examples where it's very clearly not possible in real life, but there are times when it seems like magic but later is explained with a magic trick. Of course, I'm trying to go based on memory of reading this about a month ago, so I can't confidently say either way.

Pacing: fast/medium
Characters: well-developed
Frame:
Storyline:

Activity: Practice one of the magic tricks explained in the book ( )
  pigeonlover | May 21, 2019 |
A young street magician runs away from his con man uncle, attracts the attention of unscrupulous carnival folk, and makes a bunch of new friends.

It's an okay but pretty forgettable kids' book. I do imagine that as a kid I would have enjoyed the simple magic tricks and hidden message puzzles it includes, though. ( )
  bragan | Feb 2, 2019 |
This is the first book in the Magic Misfits series. This was a decent middle grade kids fantasy. The book was well put together with nice illustrations and small sections that taught you how to do magic tricks.

The story is about a boy named Carter who runs away from an abusive uncle and ends up joining a bunch of kids who hang out in a magic shop in the town he ends up in. Together they are trying to save the town from a crew of thieving carnies that is there with a traveling circus.

I personally think this is one kids will enjoy more than adults. The plot was very simple, there are a lot of characters, and I didn’t really engage with any of them.

It's a quick read and decently written, but at the end I didn't really want to know more about this world or these characters.

Overall this is a decent middle grade novel that I think kids will enjoy more than adults. The plot is pretty simple but the writing is well done and the idea is fun. I don’t plan on continuing with this series because I just didn’t love it. ( )
  krau0098 | Nov 23, 2018 |
NPH's corny-but-aware-of-it tone took me a while to settle into, but I ended up really liking the audiobook. It starts with a runaway, Carter, fleeing his crooked uncle and hopping a train. He winds up in Mineral Wells, where a carnival is in town, but the carnival's owner, B.B. Bosso, is even more crooked than Carter's uncle. Fortunately, Carter runs into the magician Dante Vernon, who has a magic shop in town, and meets Vernon's adopted daughter Leila, a talented escape artist. Through Leila, Carter meets illusionist and violinist Theo and tough, brainy Ridley (in a wheelchair), as well as the dancing twins Ollie and Izzy. When Carter realizes that Bosso is planning to steal the Star of Africa and replace it with a fake, the six kids work to upset his plan. They succeed, and, neatly, it turns out that Mr. Vernon is actually Carter's dad's cousin, so Carter gets to live with him now! Three more tales follow in the series.

Magic tricks are interspersed with the tale. ( )
  JennyArch | Nov 14, 2018 |
Carter lives with his con-artist 'uncle' but runs away because he doesn't want to be forced to use his sleight-of-hand skills (and he's very good) to steal. He hops on a train and soon finds himself in a new small town, filled with crooked carnies and their frowny clown thugs, a magical magician, and a group of misfits kids, in whom he may just find friendship and a home.
A cute story that I think middle grade kiddos would like, especially the magic trick lessons Harris includes along the way. ( )
  electrascaife | Sep 4, 2018 |
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