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Thursday, January 12, 2012

Don't Expect Magic

Don't Expect Magic by Kathy McMullough
Grade: 3.5 stars out of 5
Publication: November 8,  2011 Buy from Amazon
Source: unsolicited review copy from Delacorte Press
Follow Kathy of Twitter @kathymccullough
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.

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. 
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?

Since Don’t Expect Magic incorporates some science facts to help explain the supernatural, which by the way was a very nice touch and was well-thought out and something I definitely appreciate in a fantasy book, I’m going to bring in Darwin—survival of the fittest yadda yadda yadda. If I was Delany’s guardian spirit, I’d slap her and tell her to adapt and deal with it. Why make an enemy out of everyone? Assess the new environment, adapt to the new environment, and survive in the new environment. Or else you’re going to die. Or fail high school.

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.

Cover B
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


  1. This sounds like a fun book that has interested me since I first heard of it. Glad you enjoyed it. Great review :)

    1. You should definitely check it out! You might enjoy it too :)

  2. doesn't sound like you were too impressed. Maybe not for me, but I do like the cover!

    1. I wasn't as impressed as I would have liked. I like the cover too! It's colorful :)

  3. o.o Threaded comments?! FUN & JEALOUS :)

    I pass this book every once in a while and debate whether or not if it should be in my TBR pile. So far, no clear answer - and your review doesn't make me want to rush out for my own copy.

    I dislike iffy relationships. I like to see that spark that makes the romantic couple click. If it's missing, the story doesn't seem to shine as bright.

    1. Exactly. I see them as more friends than anything so I find the "lovey dovey" part a bit unnecessary for the book.

      You can do threaded comments too! It's blogger's new thing :) Just have your blog feed as "full" and for the comments location as "embedded". If that doesn't work, backup your template, edit your layout html and click "revert widget templates to default" :)

      Only bad thing is, I don't the person you reply to gets an email sent to them notifying about the reply....