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The Magic Half (2008)

by Annie Barrows

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4562342,255 (3.86)10
Eleven-year-old Miri Gill feels left out in her family, which has two sets of twins and her, until she travels back in time to 1935 and discovers Molly, her own lost twin, and brings her back to the present day.

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Showing 1-5 of 23 (next | show all)
Meh. The story itself is fun, but not enough to overcome the attitudes and behavior of the kids (and even the parents). ( )
  Annrosenzweig | Oct 15, 2021 |
Much better than expected. A talented writer (who co-wrote The Guernsey Literary and Potato Peel Pie Society) tells a story about an 11-year old girl. It's fun, has some fantasy, but is well grounded in the reality of the world of pre-teens and their families.

I'm 60 years old, and sometimes kids books are worth reading at any age. This one is. ( )
  robnbrwn | Jan 15, 2021 |
A cute story about time travel and magic but I'm not sure that I got anything much more than that out of it. A pleasant, leisurely read for kids. ( )
  bugaboo_4 | Jan 3, 2021 |
Loved this book!!! This will be perfect for those imaginative 2nd and 3rd graders who can read just about everything and who still believe in magic, just a little bit.

Barrows does a nice job of exploring the consequences of time travel in an accessible way. It's complicated but the infinite looping of "if I didn't do that then, then I couldn't do this now" will fascinate kids. The magical resolution is harder to believe than the rest of the book, but I didn't care. The 7 year old in me was just too happy that it all worked out okay. ( )
  amandabock | Dec 10, 2019 |
See also: The Boy From Tomorrow, Charlotte Sometimes

Miri has two sets of twin siblings: older brothers Robbie and Ray, and younger sisters Nora and Nell. Sandwiched in the middle, Miri is always left out. But then she finds an old eyeglass lens in her room, looks through it...and falls back in time to 1935, when her room belonged to another eleven-year-old girl called Molly, who lived with her mean Aunt Flo and cousins Cissy and Horst. Horst is a dangerous bully, and Molly already believes in magic because of her Grandma May, so when Miri shows up, Molly is ready to be whisked away.

But before their plan to escape back to the future together can work, Miri goes back accidentally - and then she's desperate to return to 1935 to save Molly. She does, after some delay - the key is to look through the eyeglasses of the girl whose time they're trying to travel to - and then the two girls scare Horst into leaving, convince Cissy to leave the necessary lens taped in place in Molly's/Miri's room by telling her she'll inherit the house (which Miri knows because her family buys it from a much older Cissy). At last, they look through Miri's glasses and return home. The girls are prepared to do a lot of explaining, but when they return, no one bats an eye: everyone thinks Molly has always been part of the family.

Minor quibbles: Miri is less panicked than I'd expect her to be when she seems to be stuck in 1935, and Molly is unusually cavalier about leaving her own time forever and going 70 years into the future. (Also, would a family that already had two sets of twins really get pregnant again? Three sets of twins!!)

I was certain that there would be some snag and Miri would be unable to bring Molly to the present, but she does, and the resolution is an interesting one - as time travel stories usually are.


Maybe time is like being in a hallway with four doors; if you open the one on the right, you'll end up in another hall with four more doors. But if you chose the door on the left, you'd end up somewhere else entirely. So what happens changes all the time, depending on what people choose.
But if the past changes, wouldn't that make everything different in the present? Miri wondered.
Maybe it is different, and we don't even know it. (145)

"There was never only one way it could have happened." (Grandma May, 191) ( )
  JennyArch | Oct 16, 2019 |
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Only Miri had no twin.
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Eleven-year-old Miri Gill feels left out in her family, which has two sets of twins and her, until she travels back in time to 1935 and discovers Molly, her own lost twin, and brings her back to the present day.

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