Review: The Secret Science of Magic by Melissa Keil

IMG_4192Rating: 3.7/5


Genre: YA Romance/Contemporary


Publisher: Hardie Grant Egmont


Publish Date: April 1st 2017


Length: 317 pages


Book synopsis:

Sophia is smart, like genius-calculator-brain smart. But there are some things no amount of genius can prepare you for, and the messiness of real life is one of them. When everything she knows is falling apart, how can she crack the puzzle of what to do with her life?
Joshua spends his time honing magic tricks and planning how to win Sophia’s heart. But when your best trick is making schoolwork disappear, how do you possibly romance a genius?

In life and love, timing is everything.

From Melissa Keil, the award-winning YA author of Life in Outer Space and The Incredible Adventures of Cinnamon Girl.


My (spoiler-free!) review:

I actually can’t remember how I found this book. I think I was looking on the QBD website. How I got a hold of it is a slightly more interesting (and awkward) story. I searched the shelves in the YA section (right beside the kids’ section, as ever) for a long enough time that I gave up and politely asked a shop assistant for help. She too studied the shelves and found nothing, so she sought help from a co-worker. TURNS OUT – said co-worker had set said book aside so that she could purchase it for herself. I felt very awkward purchasing The Secret Science of Magic (stealing it from the girl obliged to sell it to me) but I felt obligated to purchase it because it took a long time to find it. I also wanted to read it. ANYWAY!

I was really excited to read this book, simply because the blurb intrigued me and yes, because the cover is absolutely beautiful. I have to say that I enjoyed this book, but I didn’t love it.

One of our two main characters; Sophia, is basically a young genius. She has many social issues, including that she doesn’t like to be touched and doesn’t know how to laugh “on cue.” Her thought process involves (almost entirely) her comparing herself and things she experiences to famous scientists and other experiences currently outside of my realm of knowledge. She worries about things somewhat inconsistently, and has a best friend that is  also extremely smart but nowhere near as smart as Sophia. Sophia’s chapter names are, from what I can tell, mostly scientific theories.

Joshua, our other main character or “boyfriend,” as you might be aware I affectionately call such characters, is likeable. He’s a quirky budding magician. At school, he keeps to himself, but it is revealed to Sophia later on that he is actually a rather sociable person. His relationship with his sister is very cute, and the only main fault I have with him is that he has somehow been slightly in love with Sophia since the beginning of time (slight exaggeration). Joshua’s chapter names are mostly inspiring magician’s quotes.

In all honesty, I really didn’t like how the plot progresses in this book. If I’m remembering correctly (and yes, I have to think back because it took me a while to finish this book), I was 80 odd pages in and Sophia and Joshua had only had 2 or 3 mostly awkward encounters. The “climax,” if you can call it that, resulted in a string of unrealistic events to follow, too late in the book and too quickly resolved for my liking. I did get really sick and tired of most every bad happening “sucking *insert wild animal name* balls,” too. But, the prose and description in this book is beautiful, there were a lot of funny moments, and either Melissa Keil is a genius herself or she really did her research. Or both!

Favourite quote: “Not my fault the morons in class need six months to learn how to ask where the toilets are.”

Did I cry? Nope.




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