The Secret Science of Magic

Ages: 8 and upPublisher: Peachtree Publishers Author: Melissa Weil


Joshua knows he should be worrying about his college plans. But his true goal, for a few years now, has been to make beautiful, brainy, oblivious Sophia love him back. Joshua, a magician, knows about timing, and he is sure that now is the time for him to win Sophia’s heart. Sophia, however, is increasingly consumed by her own demons. As high school graduation looms closer, and her best friend looks forward to leaving Australia for college in the U.S., Sophia begins to feel more and more panicked in social situations.

Melissa Weil can be depended upon to deliver warm-hearted adolescent geek romance. The Secret Science of Magic offers a sweet, cautious love story, and fans of her previous novel Life in Outer Space will welcome Sam and Camilla back as secondary characters. However, this romance has darker undertones than Weil’s previous novels. This will disappoint some fans and please others. Sophia is never explicitly identified as having an anxiety disorder, or as being on the autism spectrum, but the novel nevertheless pays attention to questions of disability in important and thoughtful ways. Sophia, who doesn’t like meeting people’s eyes, who has panic attacks, and who dislikes certain types of stimulation, simultaneously tries to ‘fix’ herself and resents being told she needs to be fixed. The romance in this novel is much less important than the personal journeys of the two main characters. Readers who like a romance with a bit of heft will enjoy Weil’s new novel.

Naomi Lesley ©2018 Parents’ Choice

Naomi Lesley taught middle and high school English for six years. She is currently in a doctoral program at the George Washington University, focusing on American young adult literature.

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