Written by Neil Patrick Harris (NPH), The Magic Misfits is the first book in a series about magicians. The series is complete, with four books in total: The Magic Misfits, The Second Story, The Minor Third, and The Fourth Suit.
Carter has been living with his uncle ever since his parents passed away when he was young. He eventually gets tired of his uncle’s thievery, so he decides to run away. Carter soon arrives in the town of Mineral Wells, where he meets Mr. Vernon and his daughter, Leila. He also learns that he isn’t the only new arrival; a carnival has suddenly appeared in the town as well. Together, Carter and his new friends must discover the real reason the carnival has come to Mineral Wells before something terrible happens.
I thoroughly enjoyed reading The Magic Misfits! The story was a cute, whimsical middle-grade book that incorporated magic (card tricks and similar illusion magic) throughout the tale. I especially liked that The Magic Misfits was about a group of middle schoolers who had to work together to achieve a common goal. The book also featured plenty of detective work as the group of friends had to figure out the carnival owner’s plan and subsequently, how to stop him from achieving it. From reading just the first chapter, it is very clear that NPH put a lot of thought and effort into the creation of this novel. When he was a child, NPH learned how to practice magic himself, so it was really cool to see him pass his knowledge on to the next generation by including step-by-step instructions on how to perform magic tricks.
Books that feature similar themes as The Magic Misfits –> I must add a disclaimer. It was hard to find books that incorporated magic in a similar way to The Magic Misfits series, so I focused on books that used detective type work to solve a mystery.
- The Strangers by Margaret Peterson Haddix
- City Spies by James Ponti
- The World’s Greatest Detective by Carolina Carlson
All of the above books, as well as The Magic Misfits, have been selected by OwlCrate Jr. for their monthly book box. If you have a middle grade reader (or just love middle grade books yourself), then you should check out OwlCrate Jr. Subscribers receive a recently published hardcover and other goodies related to a central theme for that particular month’s box. You can check out their website for additional information and browse the past boxes to see previous book selections.