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So You Want to Be a Wizard (Young Wizards, #1)
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So You Want to Be a Wizard (Young Wizards #1)

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3.77 of 5 stars 3.77  ·  rating details  ·  15,051 ratings  ·  682 reviews
Nita Callahan is at the end of her rope because of the bullies who've been hounding her at school... until she discovers a mysterious library book that promises her the chance to become a wizard. But she has no idea of the difference that taking the Wizard's Oath is going to make in her life. Shortly, in company with fellow beginner-wizard Kit Rodriguez, Nita's catapulted...more
Hardcover, 336 pages
Published July 1st 2003 by HMH Books for Young Readers (first published 1983)
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(showing 1-30 of 3,000)
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Kewpie
This is sort of an American, dark and urban version of Harry Potter. While browsing shelves at the library, Nita discovers a book with the title "So You Want to Be a Wizard" She takes it as a joke, but it turns out to be the real deal. The spells work and she actually is learning to be a wizard.

It turns out that this is the way wizards are trained. Their textbooks seek out those with the talent. Nita soon finds another wizard named Kit and they go on a really twisted and somewhat scary adventure...more
Sesana
Reading this book, I wished I could time travel. I would hand this book to my younger self, when I was Nita's age. Because much as I liked this book as an adult, I know that if I'd first read this in middle school, I would have loved it.

It is a good book, a very good book. I take nothing away from Duane, because I think she hit every mark nearly perfectly. And I did enjoy reading it, even if I'm not hooked. Her system of magic is interesting, basically talking the world into doing what you want...more
Tamora Pierce
Nov 01, 2008 Tamora Pierce rated it 5 of 5 stars
Recommends it for: tween lovers of contemporary fantasy
Recommended to Tamora by: saw it on the shelf
The perfect fantasy novel--there you are in the library, and you pick up one particular book . . . I love Kit and Nita as they struggle with being sloppy and working around their parents as young wizards!
Mrelia
When the young readers in my acquaintance complain that there aren't more Harry Potter books to read, I like to suggest this series.
I usually start the campaign with a few questions to get them interested.
"What if kid wizards couldn't tell their families about their powers?"
"What if they had to risk their lives in secret to keep the world safe?"


I find the pre-teen and teen characters in this series to be much more engaging and realistic than the self-centered, clueless and common sense-lacking c...more
Bonnie Gayle
The magic and wizardry content in this book was just too strange. It's totally possible to write about things that are different from what we experience in this world, but to write them in a way that you understand what's going on. In this book, though she uses analogies that don't help make things any clearer. When I stopped reading, for example, the 2 young wizards are creating a thing to plug a hole in a thing to keep out a grey cloud that they somehow know wants to eat them (clearly I couldn...more
Adam
Nov 22, 2009 Adam rated it 2 of 5 stars
Recommends it for: People from the 1950's, Trash Fantasy lovers, young kids with nothing else to read,
Recommended to Adam by: Mrs. (Sandra?) Laviolette, Alex Katigbak
I started reading this book for the first time when I was grade 8 and I couldn't really get into it. I've finally figured out why.

I'm reading it again because it was in my house and I needed something to read, and the dialogue feels forced and VERY dated. It's almost a condescending mockery of how kids talk. The ideas in it are really interesting, but they're described by thirteen year-olds who talk like little kids, instead of adults, so the magic is being sucked out of... well... the magic.

An...more
Lolly's Library
I must've been too busy reading Diana Wynne Jones and Madeleine L'Engle, because I'd never heard of this series growing up. It was only in the past couple of years that it came to my attention. I have to say, I'm not all that impressed. Part of the problem is the fact that the book feels dated. Usually when that happens, the story is able to carry me along so that I don't notice things like Dictaphones and typewriters (non-self-correcting ones, at that). Not with this book. I blame most of that...more
Daniella
"Dear Artificer, I’ve blown my quanta and gone to the Good Place!"

I'm so glad that I decided to re-read So You Want to Be a Wizard as part of my self-imposed book challenge for this year. I'd almost forgotten how much I love this book!

In fact, I love it so much that I almost couldn't read it again. At first, I would read a couple of pages and have to put the book down because I'd get all teary and junk. Not because it's sad (although it does have its moments), but because I would remember how mu...more
Christina (A Reader of Fictions)
May 06, 2013 Christina (A Reader of Fictions) rated it 3 of 5 stars  ·  review of another edition
Recommended to Christina (A Reader of Fictions) by: Alexa Wang
Conveniently, the very first book chosen for me in my new regular posting series, Sadie Hawkins' Sunday, just happened to be a book I already had in my personal collection. This series first came onto my radar when I was looking for readalikes for Harry Potter. I did enjoy this one (thanks Alexa!) and I'm glad I got a chance to dig into my massive collection of unread books.

The first thing that you should probably know is that this book was first published in 1983, long before Harry Potter. The...more
Amy
Everyone one has seen the books like "So you wanna be a (fill in the blank)". Nita gets lucky enough to find one that is to help her along her way to become a wizard! This is the dream of half the children in America. Nita decides she wants to use this book to help her fend off the bullies who constantly beat her up and leave her nursing her wounds and her pride on a daily basis.

One day as she is learning about her new found magical abilities, she runs into Kit, also a new wizard. They put thei...more
Marissa
I honestly picked this book up by accident. Which, if you've read the series, is quite ironic.
I really fell in love with Duane's world. It seems almost realistic, as if people actually live in an underground world of wizardry. Her adolescent characters most definitely refleft how we all feel at one point; insecure, confused. Nothing like, as someone has previously mentioned, the cookie cutter, courageous, hero of most epic tales.
It is most definitely worth the read, as is the rest of the Young...more
bella
For years I've had a few friends tell me that I should try the Young Wizards books by Diane Duane. This is based on the fact that I love Diana Wynne Jones books about magic and wizards, and of course I love Harry Potter too. So when I spied "So You Want To Be a Wizard" on the shelves at the library I decided to read it and find out what it was all about.

It all starts with Nita running away from bullies. She needs a hideout, so she runs into the library and discovers a book in the children's sect...more
Nathaniel Gage
I remember reading this book for the first time and finding an entire new world opened up to me. I was ten then, in search, as the main character here was, for something deeper; something fantastic in everyday life. I read this book, the second, and the third in the series in such quick succession that I couldn't believe I'd actually managed to make my brain process the words that fast, and I was hooked forever on fantasy.

Years later I came back to this book and opened it up, and the magic was...more
Kate Sherrod
Oh man, it's a good thing a certain someone who talked me into reading Harry Potter this year didn't show these to me until long after I'd done with Hogwarts, because Potter & co. would have suffered even more by comparison with these than they already did with the Greats.

As I found myself explaining to a work colleague who is trying to get her 13-year-old son to read more, among the many reasons Duane's Young Wizards books look to be better than Potter is that their would-be wizards are tea...more
Jen
This book gives me hope for YA fiction, and reminds me why I love reading in general.
There are the requisite YA categories fulfilled: a satisfyingly present but not overwhelming sense of diversity in race, sex and talents; the extremely necessary message that kids can and should try things on their own, can accomplish huge tasks without adults sometimes, but still need adults as guidance because the world is a scary place; that teamwork works.
But rather than having this be a checklist, Diane Dua...more
Andrew
(I am not attempting to review the Young Wizards series from scratch. I encountered them in college, I loved them, I still love them; take that as the baseline. This is about the "New Millennium Editions".)

This series was originally written in a "rolling present" mode. The first one is set in 1983; the third one takes place a few months later, but it's approximately 1990 and portable computers are hot; by the ninth, the characters are still teenage but they carry iPods.

Duane has started rewriti...more
Destinee Sutton
Part of what makes great fantasy is a great setting, i.e. an original other world that feels real even though it's so different from the world we inhabit. I found this book totally lacking in that department. Nita and Kit (whose names and personalities are too similar--I kept getting them mixed up as I read) start in the real world as normal kids. They meet when they realize they're both aspiring wizards and then they go looking for Nita's lost pen and end up in this horrible, dark alternate uni...more
Badseedgirl
I’m pretty sure I should not have had as much trouble getting started in So You Want to be A Wizard by Diane Duane as I did. This novel just did not catch me in the beginning, and I’m not sure why. I suspect I found this novel too late in life. If I had read it as a tween/young teen it might have resonated more than reading it as a middle age woman. I guess one thing that threw me off was the bantering amount of physic terminology that I found distracting in preteen kids. Once I got past that, I...more
Céline Meg
http://megworld.over-blog.com/article...

Grande fan de magie depuis la découverte de "Harry Potter", "Narnia" et les "Royaumes du nord" à onze ans, j'ai tout de suite eu envie de lire Wizards. Cette série de Diane Duane est connue depuis des années aux USA et a été un gros phénomène bien avant "Harry Potter". Même si pour moi, aucun livre fantastique n'égalera jamais les bijoux de J.K Rowling, ce premier tome a été une chouette découverte et il me tarde d'avoir la suite entre les mains! Un grand...more
sj
It has been ridiculously hot lately (I may have mentioned that a few hundred times?) and I’ve found that my concentration isn’t what it should be. I had to give up on Summer of Jest because I couldn’t handle the unexpected sadness I felt while reading, and even though I’ve mostly been reading things I love so far this summer, I needed something that would get me out of this slump I’ve been in.

So I scrolled through the list of things I’ve been meaning to re-read, knowing that I needed something I...more
Emily
Why I picked it up: I needed a book with a magic wand in it for my reading scavenger hunt and when I put a plea for recommendations on facebook, I had not one, not two, not three, but FOUR people recommend this title.

Nita is running from a school bully and she hides in the library. She finds a book that she hasn’t seen before called “So you want to be a wizard.” She assumes it’s a joke, but when she gets home, realizes that it isn’t a joke, and she has what it takes to be a wizard. The next day...more
Taejas Kudva
Jun 27, 2009 Taejas Kudva rated it 4 of 5 stars  ·  review of another edition
Recommends it for: fantasy fans of Susan Cooper and Jane Yolen
Recommended to Taejas by: having seen it around at Half Price Books for a long time
Shelves: kids-books
Darn -- I lost all of what I said. Stupid tabbed browsing.

Okay, long story short, because I don't want to remember all that I put down:

First, I liked the old-fashioned-ness of the prose. I don't mean Ray Bradbury old fashioned, but the text is more dense than more modern kids' books, which seem to me a bit easier to read because they have more ... hmm ... conversationally(?) written prose. Anyway, it gave me nostalgia for John Christopher and Lloyd Alexander and that type of writing.

Second, it r...more
Victoria
One of my all time favorite fantasies, hands down. Diane Duane masterfully blurs the line between fantasy and reality in this beginning book of a long line of great novels. The premise is so cool: an ordinary girl comes across a special "book" in the library that allows her to take on the mantle of being a wizard, using words and intent to do good for the universe. Nita and Kit are such real kids, youthful and energetic but also wise beyond their years. The way the magic works is unlike anything...more
Mariah
While trying to outrun bullies, Nita escapes to her favorite refuge- the library. While poking through the children’s section she finds a series about careers- “So You Want to Be a…Police Officer, Teacher, Doctor, Wizard” wait, Wizard?! Nita gets the book and finds that it is a handbook on how to become and act as a wizard. Wizards, in this world are a lot different than the conventional view of them in fantasy. They are charged with slowing down the process of entropy- the death of the universe...more
Lightning
There is still something magical about So You Want to Be a Wizard to this day.
Just like Nita with her manual, this book somehow snagged my attention on accident. It was fourth grade, maybe the summer before, and I was in Milwaukee with my parents. I can't remember if it had been Barnes and Noble or Borders, but I remember the children's section was crammed in the back- sunlight hitting the spines of the books.
So you want to be a wizard?
The answer is yes.
In a perfect blend of science, magic, hum...more
Aaron
I think this is the worst book I ever read. Only reason I finished it is because it was so short (and even then it took me a while to slog through it). Didn't even realize it was part of a series when I was reading it, as I had forgotten the reason I had checked it out was because the 6th book in the series made the ALA Teen Top Ten List. Very surprised there was enough interest to create a series after this terrible first book. Some highlights:

p. 10: "A wizard's business is to conserve energy -...more
Natalie
This book was recommended to me, oddly enough, by a nun at the church where my family was attending around the time I was 7. Having already read most of Harry Potter series (including the Goblet of Fire - I was a very advanced child), I was extremely bored with the selection of literature available to my age group. This wonderful woman told me about a book that one of her nephews have enjoyed, and she said I might like it, despite the 7 year age difference between him and myself. This book turne...more
Jacob
A good YA novel, the writing is pretty easy to read and if you have some time to focus on just reading you can really lose yourself in it and you won't notice until it's suddenly 50 pages later. The story is pretty interesting and although it came out 30 years ago, the technology holds up. I notice this edition _does_ have deliberate updates for technology, though...

That kids who have just become newly-minted wizards could be the main actors in such a large and important quest defies belief, alt...more
Kit
Very enjoyable book for young people that doesn't condescend. Puts me in mind of the feelings I had reading A Wrinkle in Time in 4th grade; even as an adult, I still had to approach some of the events of the book with a sense of wonder. Kit and Nita have a refreshing relationship that I'd give a limb for in most books for JUV and YA readers these days...enjoys many of the usual tropes in JUV stories of weakness, bullying, making friends, etc., but uses them in a way that tells you a tremendous a...more
Mars
(Managed to get through about a quarter of it before giving up)

Rather obviously written for children of early school years. As such, it is utterly unreadable drivel to anyone over the age of 12.

Don't get me wrong, the writing is not bad, and some ideas raised are fairly good, and it's probably an excellent book for those under 12, but the story itself is so absurdly moronic that force-feeding it to oneself is masochism of unimaginable levels.

(If you liked this book, please don't bother commentin...more
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Diane Duane has been a writer of science fiction, fantasy, TV and film for more than thirty years.
Besides the 1980's creation of the Young Wizards fantasy series for which she's best known, the "Middle Kingdoms" epic fantasy series, and numerous stand-alone fantasy or science fiction novels, her career has included extensive work in the Star Trek TM universe, and many scripts for live-action and a...more
More about Diane Duane...
Deep Wizardry (Young Wizards, #2) A Wizard Abroad (Young Wizards, #4) High Wizardry (Young Wizards, #3) Wizard's Holiday (Young Wizards, #7) The Wizard's Dilemma (Young Wizards, #5)

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