We live in a post-Harry Potter world, and in such a world, there are a lot of books about magic. With that in mind, I am often wary of books with magic in the title, but in the case of “Ordinary Magic,” by Caitlen Rubino-Bradway, there’s nothing to be worried about.
Abby lives in a world of magic. Everything has magic in it and everything is done with it. It’s the norm and no one thinks it’s very special. No one, that is, except Ords— people who have zero magical abilities.
The day of Abby’s judging is bright and hot, and Abby just wants to gets it over with, whatever level she ends up being. The thing is, when Abby does get to the judging, nothing happens. Absolutely nothing. Abby’s an Ord, and that changes everything.
Ords are considered bad luck and a possible danger to society. Most families don’t want to be associated with ordinary children, casting them out to the streets or selling them to treasure hunters who use Ords to sniff out spells and enchantments.
Abby has luck on her side. Her family loves her and can’t imagine throwing her away. There’s another option — the Green School — a school that teaches Ords how to function in the normal, aka magical, world.
Not everyone is pleased about a school for Ords, though. Between carnivorous goblins and treasure-hunting kidnappers, Abby’s going to be in for a very unordinary year.
“Ordinary Magic” sort of spins the world of Harry Potter on its head. There are many similarities — boarding school, young children, magical creatures. But beyond those shared conventions, author Caitlen Rubino-Bradway has created a unique and genuinely enjoyable world with a stellar cast of characters children will want to follow for years to come.
There are a number of elements that make “Ordinary Magic” stand out.
First, Abby is from a strong, supportive family. She knows she is loved and never doubts it. While each of the other children at school come from differing situations, it’s nice to see a strong family unit take center stage. It helps ground Abby and gives her an element of stability that’s often overlooked in books of this genre.
Second, Abby and her classmates are just like readers — normal. Readers can easily put themselves in an Ord’s place. Imagine being 12-years-old and just learning to wash dishes, make a bed or fix food.
Third, “Ordinary Magic” is full of great imagery. What would it be like to ride a magic carpet, to wander through a dungeon or meet a roomful of strangers for the first time? Each of these events, and many more, are vividly explained in a way that tingles all the senses.
“Ordinary Magic” is a fast-moving adventure that children — and kids at heart — will gobble up. I can’t wait for a follow-up in what is sure to be an exciting series.