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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)

3.78  ·  Rating Details  ·  19,747 Ratings  ·  829 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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Jan 22, 2008 Kewpie rated it it was amazing
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
Tamora Pierce
Nov 01, 2008 Tamora Pierce rated it it was amazing
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!
Jan 09, 2009 Daniella rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Recommends it for: everyone
"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
Aug 20, 2007 Bonnie rated it did not like it  ·  review of another edition
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
Apr 06, 2007 Mrelia rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
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
Jul 19, 2014 Sesana rated it really liked it
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
Nov 22, 2009 Adam rated it it was ok
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.

I read this series countless times when I was a teenager, but this was always my least favorite of the lot - almost too creepy for me. I was never excited to roam around in this particular world the way I was excited to return to High Wizardry or A Wizard Abroad (though that last one may have something to do with the love interest .... sue me).
Lolly's Library (Dork Kettle)
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
Christina (A Reader of Fictions)
May 06, 2013 Christina (A Reader of Fictions) rated it liked it  ·  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
May 09, 2011 Amy rated it it was ok  ·  review of another edition
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
Rachel (Kalanadi)
Jan 17, 2016 Rachel (Kalanadi) rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: young-adult
My third reread: loved it.
This book is so easy and fast to read but it took me FOREVER to actually read it. I kept picking it up, reading twenty pages, and then putting it down in favor of something else.

Nita is our main character. She's a twelve year old girl living in New York. She's a bit nerdy (her favorite possession is a space pen her uncle gave to her that can write on anything) and she's having trouble with a bully in her class at school. When she's hiding from said bully in the library after school, she happens
Sep 16, 2014 Badseedgirl rated it liked it
Shelves: read-in-2014
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
Kate Sherrod
Dec 21, 2012 Kate Sherrod rated it it was amazing
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
Jul 22, 2013 bella rated it it was amazing
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
Nathaniel Gage
Jun 30, 2011 Nathaniel Gage rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
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
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
Jan 02, 2015 Aaron rated it did not like it
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 -
Otavio Galileu
Mar 29, 2016 Otavio Galileu rated it it was amazing
This was such a great book! I loved the mix of Fantasy and Science Fiction (something I haven't seen in Middle-Grade at all!), and the characters were just so fantastic. I highly recommend it to anyone who likes middle grade books and is who enjoys their Fantasy to have a bit of Science Fiction.
Aug 14, 2007 Marissa rated it it was amazing
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
I thought the book as a whole was fun, but it took me awhile to get in to, and some parts in the middle lagged until it really picked up the pace in the last sixty pages or so.

On the downside, I'm still not sure if I have a full grasp on Nita and Kit as characters, however. We don't really know that much about them despite the book being over three-hundred pages. I felt the most developed of the three main characters was Fred, which is commendable because he is the non-human of the trio, but at
Apr 15, 2011 Jen rated it it was amazing
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
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
Jan 03, 2013 Andrew rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
(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
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
Sep 27, 2015 Marine rated it liked it  ·  review of another edition
Très bon debut, on rencontre nita et kit qui parte a la conquête du monde de la magie à la suite de la decouverte d'un livre. Sauf que trop de longueurs tue la longueurs, pour un livre de 300 et quelques pages j'ai trouvé ça long mais long, des chapitres de 40 pages pas très bien menés... Et le pire c'est les similitudes avec le grand classique Harry Potter, le grand mechant que l'on nomme "tu sais qui" par exemple... Bref c'etait bien mais sans plus...
Dixie A.
Feb 08, 2015 Dixie A. rated it it was amazing
Shelves: favorites, reviewed
A conversation between the heroine and a tree made me cry. A *tree*. So maybe you can understand just how amazing this author and this book is that she and it made me visibly emotional over what is essentially a plant. And then I cried over a star. A star. A bit of shining light in the sky.

So, yeah, well-written and heart wrenching. Pretends to be a kids' story, but the only thing childish about it is the age of the protagonists.

It's about a girl who comes across a book by the same name as the t
Nov 08, 2014 Matthew rated it liked it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: childrens
Very youthful, easy reading intended to avoid offending anyone, I think... it has nearly Christian lessons while trying to stay agnostic and Wizardly. It wasn't a bad story, but I really can't recommend it to anyone over the age of 12. It didn't feel condescending, just very simple.

I did feel that the author... well... painted magic as somehow related to algebra... something meant to be scary and intimidating to 10 year olds. The adventure was exciting but too straight-forward. No twists. A lot
Jul 27, 2014 SuperHeroQwimm rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
This book was surprisingly dark for being a YA book. Not saying I didn't enjoy it, cause I really really did, but the magic and the other world seemed so evil, and the plot line was a bit more serious. I've noticed a lot of times in young adult fantasy even though the plot line is dangerous and risks lives that it is still light hearted. That was not the case here, I feel like they took their situation seriously which was nice for a change. I look forward to the next book in the series.
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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 about Diane Duane...

Other Books in the Series

Young Wizards (10 books)
  • Deep Wizardry (Young Wizards, #2)
  • High Wizardry (Young Wizards, #3)
  • A Wizard Abroad (Young Wizards, #4)
  • The Wizard's Dilemma (Young Wizards, #5)
  • A Wizard Alone (Young Wizards, #6)
  • Wizard's Holiday (Young Wizards, #7)
  • Wizards at War (Young Wizards, #8)
  • A Wizard of Mars (Young Wizards, #9)
  • Games Wizards Play (Young Wizards, #10)

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