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Carnival Magic (The Other Side) Hardcover – May 1, 2018
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"Full of wonder and real-life enchantment, Amy Ephron's Carnival Magic is a charming adventure that will make a believer out of anyone!" —Rachel Vail, author of Well, That Was Awkward and the Friendship Ring series
"Tess is a thoroughly modern heroine: She's athletic, impulsive, and fearless . . . The siblings are authentic children [and] the fantastic elements are the stuff of daydreams. Perfect for classroom read-alouds." —Kirkus Reviews
"The short chapters filled with mystery and action will have readers eagerly continuing to discover the secrets that await them. . . . Fans of the first book will be eager for this fun middle-grade fantasy with a classic sensibility." —Booklist
"The setting is contemporary—yet the language and tone feel distinctly nostalgic. This novel, which works as a stand alone, will captivate readers who enjoy their whimsy with a dash of risk." —School Library Journal
"[Carnival Magic is] a softer otherworldly take on childhood mystery, reminiscent of classics such as The Secret Garden . . . [it] is in itself an escape. Tess especially follows in that lineage of strong, intelligent female characters – a sort of Lucy Pevensie/Hermione Granger hybrid who is a leader, who believes in magic." —Teen Vogue
"Amy Ephron has always been a magical storyteller. . . . In Carnival Magic, the companion book to Ephron’s successful The Castle in the Mist . . . Tess and Max are teaching children and their parents about the power of thoughtful decision-making, loyalty, and self-confidence. Life lessons and carnival rides . . . the perfect beach read for all ages." —Parade
“Ephron renders this magical world with such assertive beauty that readers of all ages, who are fortunate enough to believe in the power of magic, will enjoy immersing themselves in the roller-coaster fun of these stories, and come to trust, even if for a short time, that in this ‘alternate universe’ it is possible for us to come together and ‘touch the sky.’” —Jewish Journal
About the Author
- Publisher : Philomel Books (May 1, 2018)
- Language : English
- Hardcover : 288 pages
- ISBN-10 : 1524740217
- ISBN-13 : 978-1524740214
- Reading age : 8 - 12 years
- Lexile measure : 880L
- Grade level : 3 - 7
- Item Weight : 14 ounces
- Dimensions : 5.94 x 1 x 8.56 inches
- Best Sellers Rank: #1,569,986 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)
- Customer Reviews:
About the author
Top reviews from the United States
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The first book followed the adventures of Tess and Max as they discovered a mystical and fantastic castle park near their Aunt Evie's home, which, in traditional style, they visited in the summer. In this book they revisit Aunt Evie and extend their adventures, but the singular attraction this time around is a traveling carnival, (with a Hall of Mirrors! and a psychic! and acrobats!). Ever since Ray Bradbury's "Something Wicked This Way Comes", which I practically memorized as a middle grader, I've been a total sucker for carnival magic adventure tales. This version isn't as dark, but it is unendingly rewarding.
Tess and Max are older this time around, and the book to some extent reflects that. Of more interest, I read an interview somewhere in which Ephron observed that because her readers insist on growing up, the style and substance of each of her books grows up with them. Accordingly, this book feels more complex, more sophisticated, more sharply defined, and written to a higher level, than the first one. The magic is more ambiguous. The book works fine as a standalone, or you could start with "Castle in the Mist". It seems like either approach would work, although you might not want to work backwards.
I have to add a word about our two heroes. First off, for those who yearn for smart, resourceful and independent heroines, you won't find anyone better than Tess, who is pretty much the main character. Second, for those who have tired of pointless modern scenes of sibling rivalry and smarm, I am happy to report that these two kids rally round and support and care for each other with all of the old-school style and grit that's a hallmark of classic adventure.
So, in style, in substance, in its characters and its setting, and in its lovely command of how you tell a fantastic adventure story, this book was, to me, a great success. A nice selection.
(Please note that I received a free advance ecopy of this book from the author's publicist, without a review requirement or any influence regarding review content should I choose to post a review. Apart from that I have no connection at all to either the author or the publisher of this book.)
Thank you to Penguin for a free physical copy.
"Sometimes the best way of making sure you might see someone again is by not saying, good-bye."
Tess and Max are going to go back and spend some more time with their Aunt, this time in South Devon. They've come before their parents to spend a little time with just there aunt as well as just getting to explore the summer house. The aunt takes them to two fun places, both full of wonder and charm for Tess and Max who have a tendency to find magical things.
Overall while this was the second book in a series, I was able to put the pieces together of what happened in the first one to make sense of what was happening in this one. I ended up really liking this one and I absolutely loved the carnival and magic system. Carnival Magic while extremely at creepy at times, also was never too scary. We worry for Tess and Max and the characters we meet along the way. There is also a sense of knowing that somehow Tess will figure it out either on her own or with a little help from some of the friends they've made along the way.
The carnival itself without the magical elements seemed like the usual fun carnival and I loved how normal it was while also being different at the same time. It was really easy to follow along with the urban fantasy elements and how things were kind of happening.
I am going to go back and read the first book in this series and I will be impatiently waiting to see if this book series continues on because I need more of life in this world.
I highly recommend this book for all middle-grade readers as it has a great sibling relationship as well as being a fun summertime read.
Top reviews from other countries
Reviewed in Canada on November 20, 2019