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A Well-Timed Enchantment

3.70  ·  Rating Details  ·  1,123 Ratings  ·  66 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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(showing 1-30 of 2,109)
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Jan 24, 2015 Emma rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
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
Jul 31, 2013 Lissibith rated it liked it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: fantasy, novel
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
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
Mar 30, 2012 Collin rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: timetravel, cats
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
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.
Mar 07, 2014 Lark rated it it was ok  ·  review of another edition
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.
Sarah Crawford
Feb 04, 2016 Sarah Crawford rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
This is another book by Vivian Vande Velde, and yet another good one from her.

The story is about Deanne who is spending her summer in France (not enthusiastically, I will add.) She stops at a well in the forest, and starts to make a wish. Her Mickey Mouse watch falls off and drops into the well.

That would be bad if all she had lost was her watch. But, because the watch fell through a time portal, a variety of things were set in motion. A few things are set to happen like the total lack of a feud
Jan 17, 2015 Clickety rated it did not like it  ·  review of another edition
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
Feb 18, 2010 Yvensong rated it really liked it  ·  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.
Jul 08, 2013 Amy rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
I have no words to praise it because it's sooooooo AMAZING.....AWESOME work......;D
May 15, 2015 Sariah rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
I loved all of the crazy antics Deanna and Oliver go through to retrieve her Mickey Mouse watch. A tad shorter than I would have liked. But I love how just when things are going one way, one of the characters turn it in a different direction. The only real problem I had with it is the ending. Vivian Vande Velde left it on a cliffhanger and I wish (pun intended) she would have written what happened with Oliver. But then, I guess that's the beauty of writing. You can leave a lot of it up to the re ...more
Apr 16, 2009 Gunne rated it liked it  ·  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
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
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
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.
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.
Mar 11, 2011 Jaime rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
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
Oct 03, 2012 Katrina Sutton rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: teen-fantasy
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
Feb 22, 2015 Lauren rated it liked it  ·  review of another edition
This book was pretty hard to get into. Once I did, though, it wasn't bad.
K Javier
Mar 14, 2015 K Javier rated it it was ok  ·  review of another edition
Recommending this book to youngsters, around 7 to 15 years of age.
Tansie G.
Apr 06, 2016 Tansie G. rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: my-books, 4-stars
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
Aug 22, 2016 Alison rated it liked it  ·  review of another edition
I would of loved this when I was 12.
Mar 14, 2016 Jessica rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
fantasy information
Jul 15, 2010 Arya rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
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
Dec 18, 2011 Serra Rogers rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
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
Jun 23, 2010 Chrisanne rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: fantasy
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
Sep 02, 2009 Sandra Strange rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: young-adult, fantasy
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.

Oct 06, 2015 Rebekah rated it it was ok  ·  review of another edition
I liked this story much better when I read it as a kid. It's still good, but the plot is a bit scattered which bothers me now reading this book as an adult.
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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 about Vivian Vande Velde...

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