Middle School Magic (In Deep Like)

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Its a fast paced, page turner which should keep even the most reluctant reader captivated. With real life dialogues and extensive literary term use, Braden Bell concocts a compelling, but humorous, magical middle grade read. The story unfolds in third person narrative from multiple character perspectives. They followed rules, minded their parents and held a lot of compassion for underdogs. I liked how they were sympathetic to those being bullied, were good sibling to one another and didn't seem to buck the system.

Bored Out of Their Minds

They all had real life wants and desires for children of that particular age range, so for me they seemed realistic to me. Since this story was told in a third person perspective, I didn't feel I got to know these children on the more personal level I seem to find in a first person narrative. I knew Melanie was anxious, Conner truly wanted to fit in, but Lexa's personality didn't really shine through.

The adults and teachers present in this story did leave more of an impression on me than the children did for some reason. One notable aspect of this book is whenever the children would talk to themselves or each other in their mind, the text was italicized. These areas of the book were able to give me a little more insight into each of their characters, but I think more is still needed.

I would like to get to know these kids better in future installments. The plot revolves around three young tweens discovering they have a special kind of magic and their need to use it to help foil an evil plot exploiting young teens. Fantasy readers seeking something creative, unique and even quite funny will find this book entertaining.

Its a enjoyable, clean read with lead characters possessing strong moral values. A captivating story, loaded with excitement and a magnitude of descriptive, intricately developed battle scenes, plus a nip of good clean humor. Even though it was a real page turner, it does possess some fairly complex scientific theory, for those readers not well versed in this area, it may prove to be challenging. The author develops his own theorems, postulates and scientific concepts, which for me were hard to grasp. Much of it went right over my head. Throughout parts of the story, the author worked too hard to write descriptively.

Chock-full of rich metaphors and similes its overall effect was slightly overdone or even a little forced at times. I don't mind a little of this sprinkled in here and there, but this story had an excessive amount of wordy, descriptive language. Here is a concrete example, "her stomach churned with seasick butterflies" her stomach "churning" paints a nice picture for me, but then toss in seasick butterflies, well is that even possible? Now I'm off on a tangent, taken away from the story, my mind now wandering trying to concoct potential ways a butterfly might actually become seasick? In addition, the extensive use of dialogues found in this story left me with the feeling of being a student in a classroom.

Its the instrument the author uses to reveal background story, complicated world building and important historical information about the Magi, their specific magic. These explanations in dialogue form lead to more showing and less telling as the story unfolded. I would say relying primarily on conversations for information dumping made the book less readable for me. Finally, in this story it was refreshing to find parents who were present and active in their kids lives.

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These parental figures actually drove their children to school, had rules and expectations for their children. Even though every once in a while I felt they were a little over the top, it was much better to read about this than the usual absent parental bodies present in the vast majority of middle grade reads. This book is the first in a new middle grade trilogy Middle Grade Magic. Amazingly, this book did not end on a cliffhanger.

It wrapped up nicely and could be read as a stand alone novel. I look forward to continuing the series to see how the characters and story grows in future installments. It wasn't lacking in content, but I found the presentation wasn't as strong as it could be since the author goes full throttle in descriptive terminology and dialogues. Its a great start to a new middle grade series and I'm looking forward to future installments.

Jul 20, Laurie rated it it was amazing. Of course. But who knew seventh grade included superpowers? This is family entertainment at its best, a smartly-written, fast-paced, gripping spot-on, tour-de-middle school, with one exception—some of these tweens are developing special powers. Family life is good, and all three are privileged to attend The Marion Academy, a prestigious private school. The perks are great. Connor enjoys a sweet spot on the Lacrosse team, Melanie is the smartest girl in school, and Lexa is.

But everything changes one day. Suddenly, whatever Connor thinks or feels begins occurring. Soon Lexa and Melanie develop some previously unheard of talents as well, and worse yet, they all feel the same sense of dread. Something is about to happen, and they know that not even their parents can stop it.

They seem to always be watching and sabotaging the friends at every turn. The three question whom they can trust, and more importantly, how to protect the ones they love. And then they realize that seventh-grade will never be the same again. Bell, a beloved, doctorate-wielding, middle school drama professor works amid his subjects and target audience. And clearly, one of the beauties of this book is that Bell loves and understands this age group. He has deftly created a rich cadre of vulnerable, multi-layered characters youth will find it easy to cheer for, empathize, and identify with.

I hope someone actually makes The Kindling into a movie. One of the challenges facing a fantasy writer is the need to create a unique world with rules and consequences within which the characters must function. In the case of The Kindling, Bell is in his wheelhouse delivering a book that satisfies on many levels. LDS readers will find even deeper symbolism within its pages.

I appreciate that further support comes to these youth not from a gaggle of smarter-than-any-adult friends, but from other caring adults, another increasingly rare occurrence in current national literature. Finally, I love this book because without ever becoming preachy or overtly didactic, Bell presents a fun read whose values are strong, clear, and unapologetic.

The Kindling is a book parents will enjoy with their kids, tweens, and teens. It offers a host of opportunities to launch great discussions on a wide variety of topics such as loyalty, trust, courage, temptation, sacrifice, gratitude, revenge, faith, and many more. When The Kindling ended, all my major questions were answered, but Bell left enough breadcrumbs to make me want to continue the journey. Here's the blurb from the back cover of the book: Loud shrieks sliced the air, followed by the smell of burning cloth.

Conner looked over in time to see Geoffrey jumping up and down, yelling and shrieking.

Bored Out of Their Minds | Harvard Graduate School of Education

Smoke poured from the seat of his shorts while blue and yellow sparks snap-crackle-and-popped all around the heater. All thirteen-year-old Connor Dell wants to do is pass pre-algebra, play lacrosse, and possibly kiss Melanie Stephens. This fast-paced novel is non-stop fun for kids and parents alike. Jul 15, Meagan Myhren-bennett rated it it was amazing Shelves: school , adventure , friendship , family , fiction. The Kindling by Braden Bell When Connor Dell, his twin sister Lexa, and their friend Melanie Stephens notice a stranger stalking them they little realize that life as they know it is about to dramatically change.

But no one else seems to be able to see their stalker and he seems to have a strange power that seems to draw them to him. Could this stranger have anything to with the kidnappings that have started occurring?

When the English teacher Mrs. Grant overhears Lexa and Melamie talking about th The Kindling by Braden Bell When Connor Dell, his twin sister Lexa, and their friend Melanie Stephens notice a stranger stalking them they little realize that life as they know it is about to dramatically change. Grant overhears Lexa and Melamie talking about the stranger her summons Dr. Timberi to the classroom. The next day everything the three do seems to earn them demerits and detention that afternoon.

Melanie is convinced that the teachers are going to kill them because of a partial conversation that she overhears. When the three try to escape the teachers and the campus they are pursued by the teachers and black hooded men whom the the teachers refer to as Darkhands.

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When Dr. Timberi tells them that their lives are all in danger they are surprised to learn that it's because they've all just Kindled. The three are then put through intense training to help them to fight off the the Darkhands and their attempts to kidnap them. The teachers are guarding them at night to stop any attempts on them so that they will not be captured.

When Notzange sends a sigil to Lexa, Lexa becomes a high priority target because of her link. The Darkhands redouble their efforts to capture the three children as Melanie's mother, under the direction of Dr. Timberi, races home.

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But when all the parents were brought together at the Stephens' home they forbid the teachers and the kids from continuing their training. But something about the Blacks unsettles Conner and Lexa. The fun at Disney World is soon forgotten as the families are attacked by Darkhands.

A battle takes place in the Small World ride. With their parents permission a sigil is sent to Dr. With the arrival of Dr. Timberi, Mrs. Madi is located, but according to her Kyle took Connor as he saved Madi. Soon the Phalanx receive reports that the Umbra are moving on the park so everyone except Mr. Dell is taken to a sanctuary called Mockingbird Cottage.

When Connor is taken into one of the tunnels by an agent of darkness he rescued by the cherubim who give him a choice.