Ordinary Magic
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Ordinary Magic

3.97 of 5 stars 3.97  ·  rating details  ·  914 ratings  ·  168 reviews
In Abby’s world, magic isn’t anything special: it’s a part of everyday life. So when Abby learns that she has zero magical abilities, she’s branded an “Ord”—ordinary, bad luck, and quite possibly a danger to society.

The outlook for kids like Abby isn’t bright. Many are cast out by their families, while others are sold to treasure hunters (ordinary kids are impervious to sp...more
Hardcover, 277 pages
Published May 8th 2012 by Bloomsbury USA Childrens (first published May 1st 2012)
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Cinder by Marissa MeyerThe Selection by Kiera CassUnder the Never Sky by Veronica RossiEverneath by Brodi AshtonIncarnate by Jodi Meadows
2012 Debut Authors (Young Adult & Middle Grade)
414th out of 969 books — 5,705 voters
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Best books of May, 2012
42nd out of 87 books — 231 voters

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Sierra Abrams
Ordinary Magic by Caitlen Rubino-Bradway
Pages: 288
Release Date: May 8th, 2012
Date Read: 2012, February 24th - March 1st
Received: ARC via NetGalley
Rating: 4.5/5 stars
Recommended to: 10+

Abby is about to be tested for magic - will she be a Level 5? A 6? She comes from a very prominent family, where everyone uses magic well; her older sister tested at Level 9! But when Abby is discovered to be an Ord, a non-magical human, she is cast out by the society around her. Ords are unnatural - they...more
Originally reviewed on The Book Smugglers

Abby Hale leads a happy and normal life for a twelve year old - she goes to school every day and she's lucky enough to have a large, loving family and plenty of friends. And, just like anyone else her age, Abby cannot wait to be Judged, because Judgement means she will finally be an Adult and that she'll FINALLY be able to use magic (just like everyone else in the world). On the day of her Judgement, Abby is an excited mess of nerves and she wonders what...more
I loved Ordinary Magic SO MUCH that it just makes me want to dance every time I think of it. Last night I tried talking about it to Patrick, but I was burbling so much - and I had to keep stopping to make squealing noises of excitement! - that it was hard to be coherent about it.

I love it THAT MUCH.

Ordinary Magic is an MG fantasy novel set in a secondary world that feels very 21st-century - just another modern MG setting except that, oh, yes, people use magic for almost everything...and it was o...more
Originally reviewed here.

I tried with Ordinary Magic, I really did. I read every word of this book even though I kind of wanted to add it to the DNF pile long before the last page. I was so disgusted, appalled, and confused by the world that Caitlen Rubino-Bradway built that I could not click with Ordinary Magic at all. When I first saw this title pop up on NetGalley, I decided to try it because I love middle grade, and it sounded cute. To me, I was imagining that it would be like “Story of a Sq...more
There are so many reasons why Rubino-Bradway's Ordinary Magic is now one of my favorite middle grade books to recommend. Rubino-Bradway created a world that, while built entirely upon magical inventions and a thriving absolute monarchy, is still recognizable as a contemporary society. I really enjoyed having the world slowly revealed to me--always feeling familiar, but with interesting magical quirks. Rubino-Bradway turned the typical plot of a middle grade fantasy on its head: here is a world f...more
Ordinary Magic, extraordinarily dreamed up and written by Caitlen Rubino-Bradway, introduces readers to a world where magic is the norm-- everyone has it, uses it, lives with it. Except "Ords." Ords are, for those of us who are Harry Potter fans, Squibs: non-magical people born from magic folk. However, unlike in the world of J.K. Rowling, ords become "its," less than human, looked at by people as expendable, the shame of one's family, nameless things to be bought and sold into servitude (even t...more
Danielle Smiley
Genre: Middle Grade Fantasy
Publisher Type: Traditional
My Rating: * * * * *

My Review:

Ever since Harry Potter, readers of all ages have been scouring bookstores' middle grade shelves looking for the next great magical adventure and Ordinary Magic is it! Two words to describe it? Crazy Fun!

I really can't help but continue on the Harry Potter thread here because if you took HP and turned it inside out and upside down, the results would be Ordinary Magic. Here we are introduced to a world spilling ov...more
Steph Su
Oh, oh, oh, oh, oh. “Charming” doesn’t even begin to cover the magical delight that is ORDINARY MAGIC. From a fascinating magical world to laugh-out-loud character interactions, there is nothing ordinary about this book at all!

ORDINARY MAGIC is as good as a Pixar movie in terms of having both kid and adult appeal. Young readers will be fascinated by the colorful, yet familiar, world that Rubino-Bradway creates, replete with magic carpets, boarding schools, and kickass family members.

What makes O...more
Miriam Reeves
This was a fun read and made me want more. It was fun to see ordinary people as the unusual. I Hope there are more to come.
Ordinary Magic is an Middle-grade fantasy novel set in a secondary world that feels very 21st-century - except that in this world, people use magic for almost everything. Making beds, getting breakfast, getting dressed, everything.

It’s Judging Day for twelve-year-old Abby Hale. Her family – siblings, cousins, aunts, and more - have all come to celebrate the festivities. There’s the family dress to wear and her mother’s special necklace. When she heads to the Guild for the Judging, she’s filled...more
Okay so I was intrigued by the other reviews, which is why I picked this book up. A fan girl of Harry Potter, it was an interesting comparison to read the reviews calling it, "Harry Potter in reverse". That was the first mistake.

While it is, indeed, a story about a magical world dealing with modern social undercurrents, I felt like the story itself lacked something. I could never really pin it down to just one thing. Character development could definitely be meatier. I understand why it couldn'...more
Every once in a while I read an MG inbetween my YA and adult historical romances and I usually end up smiling my way through them. Ordinary Magic was no exception! It was adorable and I kept just wanting to hug pretty much all of the characters!

Also, I loved how Caitlen Rubino-Bradway dealt with the issue of Abby being an Ord. It's generally not accepted and people even go as far as selling their children when they find out about it. The prejudice against Ords was just mindblowing. In my mind I...more
Kristina Cardoza
Ordinary Magic by Caitlen Rubino-Bradway was very imaginatively written and was a fantastic story! Abigail Hale lives in a magical world--but that isn't extraordinary--and then, at her magic-power Judging she finds out that she is an "ord", a child without magic! There's lots of trouble that comes with being an ord: being looked down on by others, being wanted to be bought by adventurers and maybe stolen by them, and sometimes even being thrown out by your own family! Lucky for Abby, her...more
One of those books which divide me in response. "Ordinary Magic" has a lot going for it - it's fast-paced with a fascinating premise, a really strong sense of place and a more-ish voice. I think a lot of people would like it.

However, I found the huge amount of snappy patter conversation a bit like wandering onto the set of a Marx Brothers movie, and as I read, I kept being niggled to death by issues with the world-building.

This is a world full to the brim with magic. Everyone uses magic for ever...more
This review has been hidden because it contains spoilers. To view it, click here.
Clare Cannon

After a strong start this magical story about a girl with no magic peters out to a steady but not terribly engaging conclusion. The premise of this first book in a new series is ingenious: in a world where 'normal' means magical, 'ords' (ordinary people without magical ability) form a lesser class. At the start of this story, Abigail learns that she is an ord, and initially, her family are devastated.

Until recently ords were unprotected in the kingdom, but the new young King has established a s...more
Patrick Samphire
4 1/2 stars.

Ordinary Magic is kind of the anti-Harry Potter. Which isn't to say that I've got anything against Harry Potter (I think it's brilliant), nor that the author has (for the record, I have no idea what Rubino-Bradway's opinion is of Harry Potter). It's simply that if you imagined the set-up for Harry Potter and completely reversed it, you might have the set up of Ordinary Magic.

In this world, just about everyone is born with magical talent, and magic permeates everything in the world. B...more
Elisha Condie
This was an excellent little book. It takes a subject that is fairly common in children's literature - a world like ours where magic is commonplace - and turns it around enough to make it really new and refreshing.

Abby is twelve and about to go through aptitude test of sorts for magical ability. It's not a big deal, everyone is magical. Her own sister is a level 9 which is a really high score indicating powerful magical potential. Only when Abby goes through, she doesn't get far. She's got no...more
True rating: 4.5 stars.

A very enjoyable look at magic from the perspective of those who cannot work it and who aren’t affected by it. But the most magical thing about the tale is that it continues to grow on you right up until the final page. The characters become more and more interesting, and the plot slowly comes together until it explodes in full force. There is a warmth to the story also, due in large part to the author’s ability to make the reader care about her secondary characters, that...more
3.5 stars.

It started off with family. So many books skip all the family aspect, most by completely writing out a family but the ones that annoy me the most are the ones where the main character has a family to be with and interact with and the reader gets short-changed by the author never bringing them up beside the once or making them all horrid. But in this you get some great sibling interaction, the parents are smart people and very present in their daughter's life, the whole family is very t...more
You guys, I ADORED this book. Like, I'm sitting here having finished it and just want to draw hearts all over it. There is so much about it that I just loved - our main narrator, her fantastic family, the whole point that you can be so much more than people think you can, the entire world itself - that I'm afraid I'm not going to be able to find the right words and am just going to end up gushing all over this, which probably isn't helpful to anyone reading this review. But I am SO putting this...more
This review has been hidden because it contains spoilers. To view it, click here.
I found Ordinary Magic by author Caitlen Rubino-Bradway to be fun, entertaining and adventurous. Abby is a strong and determined young girl, and I loved reading her reactions to the strange and sometimes dangerous situations. I can definitely see this being a popular book for ages 10 and up, especially for girls; although I think even boys will like all the magic and mahem in this story. A very engaging, and unique look at the magic world, poor Abby finds herself in the minority when she is decl...more
This was a hugely fun book... imagine Diana Wynne Jones wrote a book from a Squib's point-of-view in a huge magical world. We meet Abby, youngest child of a family of powerful magic users. The whole world is magical, breakfast is only a spell away! But Abby is tested and finds out she is ordinary; but, in this magic world, ordinary is pretty unusual and kids are sought after for their magical immunities. Narrowly escaping a pair of Adventurers, Abby starts to attend a school to learn, well, ever...more
I LOVED this book, it was absolutely, positively adorable. And awesome. And such a great opposite of what Fantasy books generally are. If I had to describe it in 5 words or less: Harry Potter in reverse. I want to hand this book to any kid who was even remotely interested by the Harry Potter franchise, I also might try it on kids who were not even remotely interested in the Harry Potter franchise.
I loved the Hales, they were just great.
My one caveat. King Steve, Steve just isn't a kingly name....more
Generally speaking, it's a solid, charming little book filled with engaging characters. Abby's large and affectionate family is probably my favorite part of the book, and their existence did a good job of balancing the dystopic elements and the charm and warmth of it.

My only real problem is that the worldbuilding felt incoherent. Abby's family had to adjust their charms after she was found to lack magic, but there's no reason why she should have been able to use the shower in the first place. T...more
Titis Wardhana
not so ordinary story...

Abby mendapati kalau dirinya ternyata seorang ord (manusia yang ga bisa sihir). Di dunia Abby, sihir itu hal biasa, sehingga mereka yang tidak bisa menggunakan sihir dianggap aneh, menular, dikucilkan, dijual, dibuang, dsb. Namun, para ord ini juga punya kelebihan, sihir apa pun tidak akan mempan terhadap mereka, misalnya sihir pelindung rumah bisa mereka terobos begitu saja. Atau sihir untuk menyamarkan muka tidak bisa mengelabui mereka, sampai api sihir juga tidak berpe...more
Usually I wait and review a ton of books at a time, but I just finished this (as in about 3 minutes ago) and couldn't wait.

I adored this book. There's a fair number of negative reviews on GR about it, mostly about the world building.

Basic story: it's the life of a squib, only squibs are so much cooler now. They are super valuable - not only can they not do magic in a world where EVERYONE and EVERYTHING can, magic doesn't affect them either. So that super dangerous trap filled cave over there? t...more
This was really cute and I passed it on to my 13y/o when I was done. He just finished, and he really liked it.

I see a lot of comparisons to Harry Potter in other reviews (just reversed), but it felt more like the Chrestomanci books to me (that's a good thing, btw).

I'll be reading the next one with The Boy, for suresies.
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Caitlen Rubino-Bradway is the author of Ordinary Magic and the co-author of Lady Vernon and Her Daughter, which she wrote with her mother. Caitlen lives and writes in New York City.
More about Caitlen Rubino-Bradway...
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“After ten whole minutes of painful silence, I finally raised my hand and told Mr. O'Hara I loved Miranda Blythe's romance novels, and I decided I liked him immediately when he didn't laugh or reassure me that we'd be reading real books. Like Mrs. Andrews had last year.
He did say, 'I'm afraid Ms. Blythe is not on the curriculum this semester. We'll be starting your education with the epic poets—boring, I know, but necessary building blocks. However, an extra-credit book report is always welcome, and you're free to choose whatever topic you like.'
Then Mr. O'Hara added, 'I think Ms. Blythe's works would be a particularly interesting topic for a report. In fact, if you want an example of the archetypal hero journey—'
'Wait, wait, wait.' Fred raised his hand. 'You read romance novels?'
'My dear boy,' Mr. O'Hara replied, 'I read everything.”
“Which is an interactive sport for our family, since Gil likes to groan over the writing and point out the plot twists ahead of time, and Jeremy tears his hair out over the historical inaccuracies, and Dad makes corny jokes, till Mom reminds us, loudly, that some people are trying to watch the movie. Then we'll all quiet down for about five minutes, until Olivia remarks that the costume designer should have dressed the star in kitten heels instead, because it's a lot harder to run in stilettos.” 3 likes
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