A Snicker of Magic
By Natalie Lloyd
Published 2014 by Scholastic
Felicity hopes that moving to Midnight Gulch will mean good things for her family. She longs to know a place she can call home: her mother was born to wander and Felicity has had to tag along. Felicity sees words everywhere and the words she sees in Midnight Gulch give her hope. But she'll have to figure out how to return the magic to the town and heal her mother's broken heart.
This book got tons of buzz at the beginning of the year and I was pleased to score an ARC at ALA Midwinter. Unfortunately, I didn't find the time to read it prior to publication, though I did read it soon after. This book is still generating some buzz - it's been thrown around as a potential Newbery contender, something that I had heard even before the book was published. All of this made me very interested in reading it.
Here's what I think: I found the book charming, which surprised me a little. It's a very particular kind of book: quirky, with playful language and a spunky heroine. This has been hit or miss for me in the past, so I wasn't sure what to expect this time around. For the most part, I thought Felicity was a great character. I enjoyed reading about her and getting to know her, as well as the other members of her family. There were quite a lot of characters, though, and it did get a bit much at times.
Where I think the book will be most divisive is the language - Felicity has a very unique way of seeing and describing the world. For me, the unique language worked. It really helped to create and maintain the magical atmosphere that I think Lloyd was going for. However, I can easily see other readers being irritated with the language and prose throughout. It's interesting because it worked well for me in this book but a different book (that I've yet to review) also featured very unique language and it didn't work for me at all.
The plot also goes a little out of control for a bit and the ending is a bit convenient, but I don't think these things will matter to kids. In fact, looking at the circulation in my library, this book has barely been on the shelves since we got it - kids are definitely interested in this one. Overall, I thought this was a lovely read, mostly because of the endearing characters and the message about the power of words. I'll be happy to recommend this to readers in the future.
Thanks to the publisher for an advance reader's copy.