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Old Magic Mass Market Paperback – February 26, 2002

4.5 out of 5 stars 123 customer reviews

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Editorial Reviews

From Publishers Weekly

An appealingly witchy atmosphere combined with breathlessly over-the-top narration and a generous helping of high school intrigue go a long way toward camouflaging the slack plotting and clich‚d characterizations of this first novel by an Australian writer. Witch-in-training Kate is smitten with Jarrod, the new boy at school. Numerous chapters which Kate and Jarrod take turns narrating chronicle in great detail Kate's efforts to convince the doubting Jarrod that, in addition to possessing a vast reservoir of untapped magical power, he is also the latest victim of a centuries-old family curse. On the social front, loner Kate must cope with her potential soulmate's adoption by the school elite and his apparent role as the chosen boyfriend of the most popular girl, a standard-issue nasty-but-gorgeous villainess. Eventually, Kate and Jarrod leave their tiny Australian mountain town and travel magically back in time, to a medieval-lite version of 13th-century England, where they try to stop the curse at its source. Not surprisingly, the curse is lifted by novel's end and equally important back in the contemporary world, Jarrod commits to taking Kate to a very important dance. More old hat than old magic, but fun nonetheless. Ages 12-up.
Copyright 2002 Cahners Business Information, Inc.

From School Library Journal

Grade 7-9-When Jarrod Thornton walks into the classroom, Kate Warren instantly senses that he is as different as she is. In anger, he unknowingly unleashes a storm in the science lab and Kate realizes that he has exceptional paranormal abilities that exceed her own. As an uneasy friendship forms, she helps Jarrod confront and internalize his talents. With her grandmother's help, the teens journey back to the Middle Ages and break the curse that has controlled the Thornton family for generations. On one level, this is a story about paranormal abilities, curses, and time travel. Deeper, it's an account of feeling different, friendship, and acceptance. The story is much like a train ride. The plot is fast and smooth and the characters' developing friendship is akin to the train's slowing and coming to a station stop. However, the language derails it until readers become used to the "Aussie-isms" throughout the text. (There is a glossary at the back of the book, but it is not all-inclusive.) It is obvious that Curley researched the architecture, peoples, and customs of the Middle Ages, and she skillfully integrates this information into the story. The characters are believable and are the strength of this first novel. While the message that it's all right to be different and to accept yourself for who you are is evident throughout, it's not overly dominant. Curley is definitely an author to watch.
Molly S. Kinney, Office of Public Library Services, Atlanta, GA
Copyright 2002 Cahners Business Information, Inc.
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Product Details

  • Age Range: 12 and up
  • Lexile Measure: 810L (What's this?)
  • Mass Market Paperback: 320 pages
  • Publisher: Simon Pulse; Reissue edition (February 26, 2002)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 0743437691
  • ISBN-13: 978-0743437691
  • Product Dimensions: 7.1 x 4.2 x 0.8 inches
  • Shipping Weight: 4.8 ounces
  • Average Customer Review: 4.5 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (123 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #1,417,074 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

Customer Reviews

Top Customer Reviews

Format: Mass Market Paperback
I saw this book on the young adult shelf. I figured it would be the same, usual, boring science fiction novel, BUT I was wrong. Marianne Curley certainley has alot of talent,and this novel has to be one of the best books I've read!

Jarrod doesn't realize he has powers,strong powers,powers only the best Sorcers have. Kate tries to help him get control of these powers, though she fails several times trying to convince him that he has them,but nevertheless she keeps trying(knowing Jarrod thinks she's not all there in the head).

A long time ago a powerful Sorcer put a terrible curse on the Thronton family,and Jarrod must end it for the sake of his family.Through this event he finds strength and realises he truly has the magic.Also it makes him a better person, that stands up for what he knows is right.

Pick up this novel. I'm sure you'll find it satisfying!

Please vote if you didn't or did find my review helpful =)
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Format: Mass Market Paperback
Kate Warren is instantly mesmerized with the new boy, Jarrod Thornton, when he walks into the classroom. She doesn't know why, but soon finds out. Kate senses something strange and instense about him. Something supernatural, and not of this world. Within a few minutes her intuition is proven correct, as Jarrod, when bullied by one of his new classmates, accidentally conjures up a massive thunderstorm inside the classroom. The problem, is that Jarrod doesn't believe in the paranormal, and thinks Kate is crazy when she explains to him that she believes that there is a curse haunting his family. The only reason why he even puts up with her crazy talk about witchcraft, is because he finds her extremely captivating. But soon he realizes that Kate is right. There is something strange involving his family, and it's up to the both of them to go back in time to fix it. And hopefully, come back in one piece.
I am extremely surprised to find out that OLD MAGIC is Curley's first novel. The plot that she has created is intricately woven, and filled with exciting twists and turns on every page. Kate is an extremely likeable character, who's determination sets her apart from many other teenage characters in today's fiction. Jarrod, too, is a likeable character, whom readers will relate to greatly, as he goes through many clumsy, and very embarrassing moments. Containing wonderfully written supernatural happenings and romantic interludes, Curley is sure to become a hit with all readers, whether old or young. Don't miss this book.
Erika Sorocco
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Format: Mass Market Paperback
This book is amazing! I loved it so much that I stayed up all night reading it! It's amazing how good this book is.I picked it up in the young adult's section and I thought it would be some random, weird fiction novel, but I bought it anyway. I was bored with the rest of my books so I picked it up and I couldn't put it down! Although Kate seems like an incredibly wacky weird girl-- the first chapter takes credit for this, plus the fact that Jarrod, a seemingly normal person, thought she was, she really grew on me and she was easy to relate to as a ghost among her peers. Jarrod, despite playing the typical high school preppy jerk at first, becomes a very dynamic character who embraces his so-called gift when necessary and really grows a backbone by the end. I really wish that she would write a sequel because I want to see what happens next to these quirky, magical people.
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Format: Mass Market Paperback
I don't usually go for books written in the first person. In fact I really dislike them. But it's a measure of just how good 'Old Magic' was when not only did I love it, but I'm rooting for a sequel. I loved the main characters to death! Kate knew who she was and didn't apologize for it. Jarrod tried to make himself fit in, but circumstances sent him on a different, and far more interesting path, learning some inportant things about himself along the way. The descriptions of places(Ashpeak Mountain, the Crystal Forest and Medieval England), people (LOVED Jarrod's eyes!), and especially the magic were very visual, a major plus. The storm in the classroom scene impressed me to no end and really jump-started the book. I highly recommend this book, and if you enjoy this, then also check out Margaret Mahy's 'The Changeover'.
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Format: Kindle Edition Verified Purchase
Alright, let's call this book what it is--Juvenile. And not just because it's supposed to be young adult fiction, but because at times I can believe a young adult actually wrote it. I read this book for the first time when I was 13 (that was 10 years ago). It was a random book that I chose out of the Barnes and Noble "Teen Romance" section, and recently found it again. For sentimental reasons, I read again and had I not previously read and loved it at the tender age 13, I do not think I could have compelled myself to keep reading further.

Everything, but EVERYTHING, was boring, cliche, and predictable. This story is mediocre, at best, with a mildly unoriginal 'plot' and grating characters. The heroine, Kate, as soon as her temper goes off, is flicking through her Rolodex of petty spells, which she always "just barely" manages to hold herself from executing. The Hero, Jarrod, is frustratingly in denial, which, at least, is the way he is supposed to be written.

Every character, every single character, is painstakingly one dimensional. Kate is the de-facto orphan gitl heroine whose father is unknown and mother abandoned her as a baby, and Jarrod is the vagabond kid whose family keeps moving around from city to city never staying anywhere long enough to develop roots--which anguishes them both considerably. That is the absolute most we get in the way of character development. Curley hints at backstory that she never really takes the time to unfold or piece together at any point for the readers. You've got obligatory group of popular mean kids who remain popular and mean to the very end, you've got the kindly old grandmother, and the mega boss bad guy who seems to be evil for evil's sake.
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