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A Well-Timed Enchantment
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A Well-Timed Enchantment

3.7 of 5 stars 3.70  ·  rating details  ·  1,005 ratings  ·  61 reviews
A teenage girl loses her Mickey Mouse watch in medieval France, and untold adventure ensues in this bright comic fantasy. "Slapstick adventure . . . funny."--The Horn Book "Vande Velde has created an intriguing story, using familiar facts about the Middle Ages and [her usual] sly humor."--Library Talk
Paperback, 240 pages
Published April 15th 1998 by HMH Books for Young Readers (first published 1990)
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Community Reviews

(showing 1-30 of 1,804)
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Emma (Miss Print)
I don't particularly like cats in real life, but I've noticed recently that they are generally a lot more appealing in fiction. A Well-Timed Enchantment by Vivian Vande Velde has a cat that's cool like that.

The story starts when Deanna, a fifteen-year-old spending the summer with her mom in France, drops her Mickey Mouse watch down a well. Turns out the well isn't your average well: it's magic. To make matters worse, Deanna didn't drop her watch into the well, she dropped it into medieval Franc
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Ashley Poston
When I first read the premise for this story, I wasn't quite sure what to think. There are so many cliches in the synopsis alone that my eye began to twitch. But then I was like, "Hey, you know what? Let's do this." I was going to read it quick, like pulling off a bandaid, and be done with it, because I was dead-set on reading every single one of Vivian Vande Velde's books.

Because of that stubborn streak, I have come to realize that you should not judge a book by it's puns.

This is a fabulous rea
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Amanda Maria
This is a book I randomly picked up because it looked interesting. It is very short and because of this the story seemed to be very abrupt. Different parts of the story seemed to be randomly thrown in and it didn't make much sense. I thought the overall concept of the story was good but the execution was poor. The author spent a lot of time on describing insignificant details but then would throw others quickly into the plot that made no sense. I certainly could have done without the random roma ...more
Collin
Cats. And time-travel. And Vivian Vande Velde, who, according to my cousin, is always amazing. Three out of three.

And it was pretty dang awesome. It took me a while to really get into it, probably because of Deanna - she just wasn't -that- interesting of a character... by herself. But once Oliver got humanified? Her interactions with him really made the book.

Scratch that. Oliver made the book. I adore cats, they're my favorite animals, but I think I'd be too terrified to try to write a humanifie
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Denae Christine
VVV and Eoin Colfer write some of the shortest endings!
I like a little "settle down" time. More than five pages. Not one hundred (bother some authors), but at least VVV made it clear how the story would continue. I just wanted to read about it!
Oliver's character was well-done and not too ridiculously heroic. He got food poisoning! Not too ridiculously romantic either.
Deanna was a little oblivious, but most book-characters are. She was realistic, though, and messed up in the most absurd ways.
The
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Lark
I thought this was one of Velde's weaker books. The dialogue is a little worse than usual, the plot holes a little bigger, and the ending a tiny bit less conclusive.

I don't particularly like the transition from cat to human mindset. For example, this dialogue bugs me: "Do you think I can go back after this? Be happy with what I was: rubbing against people's legs for attention, coughing up hairballs, eating mice in the barn?"

We don't exactly see Oliver slowly becoming more human and liking it.
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Clickety
Usually I really like books by this author, but this one was something of a chore to get through. Despite being told she was on a super important quest to save the world, the protagonist just sort of ambles through it, having things happen TO her but not really making things happen. The book could easily have been called "Deanna Is Wrong About Everything." It would have worked better as a running joke. In contrast, Oliver is odd but not consistent - sometimes he seems to understand what's going ...more
Yvensong
Feb 18, 2010 Yvensong rated it 4 of 5 stars  ·  review of another edition
Recommends it for: Fans of light fantasy
A delightful light fantasy with unique fair folk/elves and an enchanted well which is the tool Velde uses to bring Deanna to another world. One of my favorite characters in this story was Oliver, though I won't say why. I don't want to ruin the little surprises he brings to this tale.
Amy
I have no words to praise it because it's sooooooo AMAZING.....AWESOME work......;D
Gunne
Apr 16, 2009 Gunne rated it 3 of 5 stars  ·  review of another edition
Recommends it for: time travel fans
I wish there was the option to give half stars. This book isn't great, but it's simple and I enjoyed reading it. It probably won't stay in my mind for too long, but like Famous Five adventures, the fun lasts as long as you're reading it.

It's about a girl called Deanna who accidentally drops her watch into an enchanted well and is assigned the mission to get it back. The well is sorta like a time machine, and is guarded by irresponsible and sarcastic "elves", who send her back to medieval France
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Lissibith
There's two kinds of good YA books. The first are great when you're young, but you grow up and realize... hey, this is just as good when I'm an adult! Maybe good in a different way, but good no less.

The other kind is great when you're young, and when you revisit it as an adult you find its just... not quite like you remember.

This is one of the latter. Its not a bad book, either as an adult or a child, but it doesn't distinguish itself either. The plot is a bit simplistic, the characterization is
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Trin
Like William Sleator, Vande Velde is one of the writers I read compulsively when I was about 12 or 13, even though I was often surprised at the rather dramatic shifts in quality from work to work. This novel is not one of Vande Velde’s worst, though neither is it one of her best. It is, however, one I’ve read before—something I realized only halfway through, which suggests that this is also one of her more forgettable books. Yeah: there’s really not all that much of note here. While on vacation ...more
Dexter
I didn't enjoy this as much as some of Vivian Vande Velde's other books, but A Well-Timed Enchantment has a certain whimsical, almost fairy-tale like feel to it that's very different compared to her other books, and I think it just took me by surprise.

The beginning is very hard to get into, but all of the sudden I was almost finished with it, so it ends up being a very absorbing, if short, read. And while the beginning and middle parts are a little lacking, the ending is so good that it makes up
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Charlotte
3.5 stars.
Deanna moves from America to France with her divorced mother and she is not enjoying her new life.
Her only real friend is her cat Oliver. One day she accidentally drops her Mickey Mouse watch down a well and something magical happens.
This was a very interesting read that kept me entertained.
It was different and also a little weird. But I overall enjoyed it.
Victoria
Usually a big fan of hers, but didn't think this book was up to scratch. There were a couple of funny moments from the obligatory inhuman boy companion, but the majority of the book seemed to be spent running around aimlessly. Fairly boring if I'm honest.
Meghan Haddad-Null
This is one of those books I read in 5th grade, and it opened my eyes to the fantasy genre. I loved it and unfortunately it went out of print, but my mom managed to find it for me and gave me a copy when I was in high school. Great YA read.
Jaime
This book is a strange mix of modern and faerie-tale. Although it begins as an ordinary girls french vacation, it soon turns into a medieval adventure "just north of 1066". With her cat Oliver, Deanna is forced to go on a quest to find her time-traveling timepiece, before it changes the course of history, and eliminates her entire world. Forced to face two bad-mannered fair folk, a possibly dangerous wizard, a pair of jealous lovesick brothers and a romantic rival, Deanna is in for the quest of ...more
Katrina Sutton
I have had "A Well-Timed Enchantment" on my to read list for the last couple of years. I finally decided to delve into it just yesterday. This reminds me of the books I used to read in the 90s (which of course, this book was written in 1990.) Every decade, books are a little different and I favor books from the 90s since that was the decade I was growing up. I read this book with delight and loved how the cat turns into a human. He falls in love with the main character. I just wish there was mor ...more
Lauren
This book was pretty hard to get into. Once I did, though, it wasn't bad.
K Javier
Recommending this book to youngsters, around 7 to 15 years of age.
Tansie
Vivian Vande Velde is awesome. She has a great style: dark fantasy with dry humor tossed in, along with a boat load of other ingredients that all come together in some awesome way. It's fantastic.

This has got to be on my Top 5 List when it comes to books by this author.

I'm not going to go to in-depth in this review, but let's just say although it's short and meant for a younger-ish audience, the ending still left me aching for more, the plot was still wonderfully paced, and the characters were
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Arya
This book was just too adorable! I loved the story and, as always, Vivian Vande Velde wove some laughs into her delightful tapestry.

Deanna has accidentaly lost something in the past - something which will change the course of history if she cannot find it within a day's time. So she is drawn back into medival France by a couple of (well meaning) slightly eccentric Elves. With a cat-turned-human to aid her she sets out to complete her quest.

Hilarious and sweet this was a great book! I adored it!
Serra Rogers
I love this book personally. The girl, Deanna was likeable, a little annoying in some ways, but I loved Oliver the most. He was funny and very caring and it was cute how he was so confused all the time. It wasn't THE greatest book I've ever read, but it was wonderful for it's genre of falling into a well and being transported back in time. I've never really seen anything else like it, except maybe the Japanese manga/anime Inuyasha, but I couldn't really compare them since the only thing in commo ...more
Chrisanne
Vande Velde has the ability to think up odd magical situations with a modern twist. Sometimes the characters create attachment to the situation, other times the whole thing seems downright weird. Here is one of her more un-weird creations, that works. And, while the end is, 9 out of 10 times, one of those "Yeah, right." moments I enjoy it. I mean, really. Haven't you ever imagined that your favorite pet/toy/plaything came to life? You just never thought it as thoroughly through as VV did.
Sandra Strange
Enchanting fantasy in which a girl drops her watch in a well and is pulled into a medieval world of jousts and rival princes, elves and evil (?) sorcerers. Her companion in adventure is her cat, turned into a fetching youth to guard her. Her problem--she and the cat begin to fall in love. The open ending of this last conflict may discourage the more Romantic teen readers, but that complication adds comic relief and an appreciation for literalism to the story. Positive and sweet.

Madame Jane
A chose to pick up this book after reading A Wrinkle In Time. I am very found of 90s teen reads, and this one is a real winner. Wow, such a funny novel. I was laughing all the way through. All of the characters are interesting from Deanna and Oliver to Leonard (haha) and Lady Marguriette. Besides being charming, at the end Deanna learns that she can't wish away her problems. Fantastic read; an instant favourite!
Lynn
I usually really enjoy reading young adult books, but I would warn others that this book is really written for the much younger young adult crowd. Very easy read, simple characters, interesting ideas but not really well played out and the ending... well, I found it a huge dissapointment. Books like this make me think "Well, if someone published this, maybe I could write a book, too!" :)
Yeun
I really enjoyed reading this book. But I didn't like the ending because it was the kind of ending that made you predict what would have happened instead of having a simple solid ending. This made everything very frustrating but really helped me bring my imagination to the next level.

This book is really creative and I enjoyed mostly the plot an dthe descriptive words.
Jennifer
Mar 17, 2008 Jennifer rated it 3 of 5 stars  ·  review of another edition
Recommends it for: tweens, teens
Recommended to Jennifer by: Found it at the library
I have now read two of this author's books. Though they seem formulaic (teenage girl falls in love with a non-human teenage boy (one was a dragon, one was a cat who was changed into a human)), the books are entertaining. I wouldn't say they'll change your life or anything, but are fun. I consider them popcorn books--not much 'food value' but fun to read/eat when you've got it.
Grace
My very first book by this author, read when I was in the 7th grade. VVV writes in that distinctive way, where she lets you live the dream for the duration of the book and leaves you to wonder at the future.

I recently reread this book and it is cuter than I had remembered it, and funnier too. My only complaint for this author is that her books are NOT long enough!
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13014
Vivian Vande Velde (born 1951, currently residing in Rochester, New York) is an American author who writes books primarily aimed at young adults.

Her novels and short story collections usually have some element of horror or fantasy, but are primarily humorous. Her book Never Trust a Dead Man (1999) received the 2000 Edgar Award for Best Young Adult Novel. She says that she really likes to write for
...more
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