From School Library Journal
Grade 4-6–As a little child, Abby O'Malley always assumed that her psychic ability was all her magic nation (a misheard version of the word imagination). Now 12 years old, she knows that her talent makes her the one thing that she doesn't want to be: peculiar. She doesn't mention her ability to anyone, either. Not to her divorced mother, trying desperately to run her own San Francisco detective agency. Not to her friend Paige, who would just use Abby's talent to her own ends. Abby is content to hide her true self away, until she accidentally gets tangled up in a couple of her mom's cases and reveals herself without meaning to. Snyder's characters appear on these pages as fully thought out, three-dimensional people. Abby's desire to be like everyone else is utterly understandable and Paige is simultaneously manic and likable. However, the ending is far-fetched and comes out of left field as Abby's divorced parents spontaneously, and with little reason, end up together once more. An additional purchase to the many books that examine the connections between magic and day-to-day life.–Elizabeth Bird, New York Public Library
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Gr. 4-7. Thirteen-year-old Abby O'Malley has always been puzzled by her psychic ability: she can read minds, find missing objects, and sense "other weird things." A preschool teacher once reassured Abby that her visions were just her imagination--her "magic nation." But when Abby mysteriously solves several cases for her mother, a private investigator who claims to have psychic abilities of her own, Abby becomes convinced that the power of her "magic nation" is real. Abby resents her mother's job--the oddness of it and the role it seems to have played in her parents' divorce--and she tries hard to tamp down her psychic impulses. Then her best friend learns Abby's secret, and tries to create intrigues for Abby to solve. Tension builds between the friends until Abby is able to help with a family emergency. Readers will delight in Snyder's vivid descriptions of Abby's special powers, but what will draw them most is the warm, believable story about friends dealing with anger and new feelings and Abby's yearning to solve the biggest conundrum of all: Will her parents reconcile? Gillian EngbergCopyright © American Library Association. All rights reserved