Tuesday, July 31, 2007

Don't worry - it's just your magic nation

When Abby O’Malley was a little child, she experienced colorful visions and feelings that were often confusing to her. When she asked her teacher about them, she was told not to worry: “It’s just your magic nation.” So Abby thought everyone saw and felt these odd sensations, and didn’t think too much about it. Now that she's twelve, she realizes the teacher had probably been saying, “It’s just your imagination.” And that most people probably don't experience these things. At least, not normal people.

And Abby desperately would like to be normal. But events in her life are beyond her control, and her parents’ divorce, the move from her beloved old house, and the fact that her mother has a distinctly un-normal job – she’s a private detective, for crying out loud! – do not make for a normal life.

She finds her mother's belief that they are descended from a line of witches unsettling, too. Abby does her best to ignore the occasional unusual images and sensations she gets when she holds something that belongs to someone else - that is, until she picks up a locket belonging to a six-year-old girl who has been kidnapped and has a vision of the girl's location. How can she save the girl without a rational explanation for what she knows?

This was an exciting book with vividly drawn characters and events. I'm not sure I totally bought Abby's aversion to her psychic abilities - sure, it's not "normal," but her desire for normalcy simply didn't seem rooted in anything strong enough to explain her unwillingness. That said, I love Zilpha Keatley Snyder's books, and she is such a wonderful storyteller that I'm willing to go along for the ride. It's always worth it!

The Magic Nation Thing by Zilpha Keatley Snyder (Delacorte Press, 2005)


  1. Sounds like an interesting book---although I, too, would have wanted some rationale behind such a strong aversion. So many kids would be thrilled to have something they could call "superpowers" that these days it's hard to imagine them not saying "cool!" if they got them! :)

  2. Heather, that's exactly what I thought while I was reading - superpowers are very "in" these days, aren't they?


Thanks for stopping by and taking the time to leave a comment!