Grade: 3.5 stars out of 5
Publication: November 8, 2011 Buy from Amazon
Source: unsolicited review copy from Delacorte Press
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According the law of conversation of mass, matter cannot be created or destroyed. So how would you transform your ratty PJs for a slinky red dress? Through physics and chemistry…and you know, a handy fairy godmother to make it all happen. What if you don’t what to be a fairy godmother? Tough cookies, you really have no choice.Delany is far from what you would expect from stereotypical fairy godmothers. First off, she’s not really a people person. Her homemade kick-ass boot garners praise, but her attitude isn’t the most inviting. A bit rude, a little pretentious and definitely not bubblegum pink nice, Delany has trouble fitting in to her new school and her life ever since her mom passed away and she’s shipped off to her dad. She’s not well liked by her peers, teachers, and me, the reader. Her actions and personality gives off a bad vibe like she’s better than everybody. If a person is genuinely nice to you on the first day of class and she’s pretty popular, be on your toes because that person is obviously ought to get you. Should my hair stand up and the claws start jutting out if someone smiles at me or says hi?
That’s where Delany is right now. Apparently her no-good dad, Dr. Hank, is a fairy godmother (who ever said f.g. has to girls?) and the gene is hereditary.
Things are touch and go for most of the book. I admit that it was hard to read through it, but once Delany’s personality approved, Don’t Expect Magic became a lot better for me. We start to get more of the fairy godmother business (again, something that I really appreciate in this type of story), further development of the father-daughter relationship, more humor and fun, and a stronger multidimensional main character.
The character of Dr. Hank, I felt, was ironic. Here was a man doing motivational books and speeches telling people how they should live their lives when he could barely live his own life. I quite enjoyed his character because of the way it changes throughout the whole book. He’s much nicer than Delany and you can feel the charisma from the pages making him more approachable. The connection he has with Delany as a parent was a great emotional aspect to the book.
While the romantic interest in the novel seems more like a good friend, I could see potential. I wished, however, I knew more about him and that Delany and he had more dynamic conversations. I’m not entirely comfortable with where they came from and how they end up, but I can see it happening.
Don’t Expect Magic has a good moral: to never hide yourself in fear of what others think. It’s a debut that definitely shows promise of what Kathy McCullough is capable. Don’t Expect Magic has a unique story plot, a solid foundation, and a budding group of characters that just needs a few tweaks.
I wished we could see more of the boots. The beach, while it may seem strange on the cover, does play a role in the story.
P.S. I now have threaded comments! :D