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Magic in Manhattan books by Sarah Mlynowski

January 4th, 2009 (06:30 pm)

Current Mood: sleepy
Current Song: Narnia score music

In her Magic in Manhattan series, Sarah Mlynowski blends fantasy and comedy together to make one magical, funny smoothie. (Mmmm, strawberry-banana!) If you like Bewitched and Sabrina, the Teenage Witch, then you'll definitely like these books.

Rachel thinks her life is pretty average - until she learns that her mother and her little sister Miri are witches and she is not. She's stuck being an ordinary high school girl while they're bonding over spells and potions. How unfair! Maybe, though, she can get some of Miri's talents to rub off on her - or on her crush, to make his head finally turn her way.

Bras & Broomsticks was Sarah Mlynowski's first book about Rachel and company. Rachel is a modern-day New York teen, and she's got the sassiness to prove it. The sprinkling of sibling rivalry betwixt and between the sisters is more about Sarah's envy of Miri's powers than either girl disliking the other. In fact, they get along quite well, and they're pretty close to their mom, with or without magic.

After Broomsticks came Frogs & French Kisses. Though Rachel has finally been permitted to hang out while Miri trains - as long as she wears a (very unfashionable helmet) when they go flying - she tends to be more of a hinderance than a help. It seems that wherever Rachel goes, trouble follows. Nevertheless, she sticks out her chin, grins, and tries again. And again. She might not be a witch, but she has a power all her own: determination.

On the very last page of Frogs, Rachel finally gets magical abilities, making readers both excited and anxious for another book. Mlynowski then delivered Spells & Sleeping Bags, a story set at summer camp, complete with pranks and twists of relativity. Rachel knows she should learn more about her new magic and use it sparingly, but it's all so tempting. When something witchy this way comes in the form of another camper, all bets are off. She also discovers that there may be some snakes hidden in the branches of her family tree.

In the fourth book, Parties & Potions, Rachel and Miri find out that witches have a "debutante-slash-bat-mitzvah-slash-quinceañera witch party thing" called a Samsorta on an island off of Romania on Halloween. (Warlocks do too, only their coming-of-age event is called Simsorta instead, and it can take place anywhere in the world.) Miri really wants to take part, and her mom lets her - as long as Rachel does it as well. Meanwhile, a witch named Wendaline enrolls as a freshman at Rachel's high school. Though she tells Wendaline to tone down the witchiness at school, Rachel begins to socialize with other witches and warlocks on the weekend, thanks to Samsorta classes (and Miri's newest obsession: Mywitchbook.com). She worries about her future with Raf, her "norlock" (no magic, normal human) boyfriend who doesn't know she's a witch, and she begins to wonder if it would be better to date a warlock, like cute, friendly Adam. While learning the witchy language of Brixta and trying new spells that don't always succeed, Rachel is still the fun-loving, good-natured character fans of the Magic in Manhattan series have come to know and love.

Read the books in order:
Bras & Broomsticks
Frogs & French Kisses
Spells & Sleeping Bags
Parties & Potions

Check out my 2009 interview with author Sarah Mlynowski!

Check out my 2010 interview with Sarah Mlynowski!

I reviewed this series for SparkNotes SparkLife.

I also included this series on my Funny Fantasy Novels for Kids and Teens booklist.


Posted by: Aurora (kilmata)
Posted at: May 4th, 2008 06:35 am (UTC)

Ahhh Sophie Mlynowski... One of my favorite authors *g*

Posted by: Little Willow (slayground)
Posted at: May 4th, 2008 07:12 am (UTC)

Her next book comes out this week: How to Be Bad, co-written with Lauren Myracle and E. Lockhart.

Posted by: Aurora (kilmata)
Posted at: May 4th, 2008 11:49 pm (UTC)

Really? Is it going to be another Teen Book? or an Adult book....

I do love her teen books...but I miss the adult ones too *g*

Posted by: Little Willow (slayground)
Posted at: May 5th, 2008 12:34 am (UTC)

Teen. It's called How to Be Bad, and it has three narrators. Each author wrote for a different character.

Posted by: Aurora (kilmata)
Posted at: May 5th, 2008 05:46 am (UTC)

Actually thats a very unique idea... (not that it wasnt before) but its definitly going on my list *g*

Now if only i could read the lottery because at this rate im going to buy out the bookstore!

Posted by: Little Willow (slayground)
Posted at: May 5th, 2008 11:19 pm (UTC)


Posted by: Susan (billie0)
Posted at: May 4th, 2008 08:35 pm (UTC)

My friend's teenaged daughter is a huge fan of the books. Actually, I read the first one and passed it onto her. Now I know what to get her this coming Christmas :)

My friend and I got to chat with the author at the Book Expo in Toronto last year. She was very nice and signed a couple of books to my friend's daughter. Who is also called Rachel :)

Posted by: Little Willow (slayground)
Posted at: May 4th, 2008 08:48 pm (UTC)

How sweet!

You probably already know this, then, but just in case: E. Lockhart, Sarah Mlynowski, and Lauren Myracle are going on tour to promote their book How to Be Bad. Here, let me dig up the link for you -


- Toronto is on the list of stops!

Also, if she likes this series, she'll like Tales of The Frog Princess by E. D. Baker (series) and
The Wizard, the Witch, and Two Girls from Jersey by Lisa Papademetriou (single book).

Posted by: ((Anonymous))
Posted at: May 26th, 2010 05:50 pm (UTC)
The First Three Books

I have only read the first three so far but they are amazing and im trying to get the fourth one and right now i am trying to figure out what the fifth one is called.

Posted by: Little Willow (slayground)
Posted at: May 26th, 2010 05:54 pm (UTC)
Re: The First Three Books

I don't know the name or release date of the fifth book in that series.

Her newest book is called Gimme A Call, and it's great. I recommend it. :)

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