A Gift of Magic
Lois Duncan
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A Gift of Magic

3.75 of 5 stars 3.75  ·  rating details  ·  2,501 ratings  ·  158 reviews
Illustrated by Arvis Stewart
Hardcover, First, 183 pages
Published 1971 by Little, Brown and Company
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Erin (Paperback Stash)
This is an older book, but I can't tell you how excited I was to read it once found. The back cover blurb simply intrigued me - I was into the magic thing as I just came off some other Urban Fantasy, and the thought of the different gifts of dance, music, and magic allured. I also was intriguing by the ending line, was there a creepy part of it or not? I was in the mood for more young adult and again, this is an older edition people likely won't hunt down, but if you run into it, it's highly rec...more
I think that this book is saying with great power comes great responsibility. In this story, the main character Nancy, finds out that she has ESP, or extra sensory perception. She has the ability to go back the past, see where people are and what they are doing in the present. She’s able to tell what people are thinking, and she knows what’s going to happen in the future. With these great powers she could easily influence people's lives - what they do and think - and this is a huge responsibilit...more
Sarah Sammis
I can't remember why I put A Gift of Magic by Lois Duncan on my wishlist but I did. I've started to try to read through that list by locating the books at my local libraries.

A Gift of Magic differs from Duncan's typical young adult thrillers. This one has magical realism instead of a mystery. A mother recently divorced moves her three children into the home she's inherited from her mother. Along with the home the children begin to develop heightened skills: one gets music, one gets dance and the...more
Feb 14, 2009 Tayzia rated it 5 of 5 stars  ·  review of another edition
Recommends it for: fantasy lovers
WEll... first of all, I thoroughly enjoyed reading this book. I thought that it was a little bit short, but the author was very descriptive, and the plot was very interesting. I loved how developed the personnalities of the characters were. Nancy was very serious all of the time, Kirby was always zoning out, thinking about dancing, and Brendon was a troublemaker. I loved how it all worked out in the end, and I loved the "Once upon a time" and "happily ever after" thing. overall rating:one of my...more
Andrea Hussey
*Plot spoilers*

The storyline was interesting, about their grandmother giving her three grandchildren a gift. She gave Nancy the gift of magic, Kirby got the gift of dance, and Brendon got the gift of music. I thought that was really unique, and was curious to see where it was going to go. But then I found out the kids were so young and it went downhill from there. The girls were in middle school, and Brendon was in elementary school. I hated that they were so young, and I think the story would h...more
this book was full of magic which by the way matches the name that it was given. I enjoyed reading this book because it was very magical and i could relate to it! this book was mostly about a family with divorced parents and kids called Kirby, Nancy, and Brendon. During these family's life they are living in Florida home of the beaches and crabs where Nancy and her sister and brother are attending a new school and making new friends making it feel like they are completely normal!what is special...more
Before Elizabeth's mother died, she gave her grandchildren three gifts. Kirby would have the gift of dance, Brendon the gift of music and Nancy was given her grandmother's very own gift, which Elizabeth seemed to miss.

Now, many years later, Elizabeth is back in her hometown with her own children and Nancy doesn't like it one bit. Changes are happening and she knows it, as she just has a way of knowing things. Nancy wants to find a way to keep everything the same and at the same time, trying to l...more
Jul 13, 2008 Relyn rated it 2 of 5 stars  ·  review of another edition
Recommends it for: tweens
All I can say is that Lois has had her day, and I am glad to be finally finished with this little project of mine. There is nothing wrong with Lois Duncan, and she has written a few really good books. Duncan had phenomenal success at a time when not that many books for teens were being published. So, I intend no disrespect when I say that I am no longer a teen and am more than finished with these books. I have learned a few things from this project, though.

1. There are too many great books in t...more
I first read this book when I was in middle school and loved to read Lois Duncan books. I decided to re-read A Gift of Magic to see if it was as good as I remembered. I was not dissapointed. It is a simple storyline that you can definitely figure out what happens next, but it is still an engaging story. Kirby's struggle to become a dancer was great to read and could have been improved if the author had just devoted a few more pages to her. Nancy's narration also made the book more interesting to...more
This is one of my absolute favorite books. The book focuses on a main character with psychic gifts that are well known and supported by her family-- a nice touch for a YA novel. The story chronicles her self-discovery, worries, skills. Excellently developed characters. Could not recommend more highly.

If you liked this book, I recommend:
Violet Eyes
So You Want to Be a Wizard
This is a story about a family whose grandmother gave her grandchildren "gifts"--Kirby got the gift of dance, Brendon got the gift of music, and Nancy got something else that she's not sure what it is. She doesn't know much about ESP, but when she reads up about it and realizes it describes what she can do, she's both kinda afraid and kinda interested in developing it. But then, of course, it ends up hitting her that she might have a responsibility that comes with her unusual talent, and she's n...more
This was one of the most boring paranormal books I've every read. It was SO boring. There could have been so much more done. It was a wonderful concept, but Lois Duncan went nowhere with it. There could have been someone trying to get them because of their gifts, or some more contact with the late grandmother, or SOMETHING more! It was so cheesy in some parts (the "can't let mother marry somone other then dad"). There was a happy sappy ending (I hate those). So you can guess that I really didn't...more
Julie Sondra Decker
Nancy's grown up a little afraid of herself because she's the only one of her siblings with a gift she doesn't understand. Her older sister was given the gift of dance by their grandmother. Her younger brother has the gift of music. Hers is some other kind of gift, and it means she knows things before they happen and experiences odd knowledge of other people's inner lives. As she explores what she's capable of--trying to lose her fear and increase her understanding--she finds that it's awfully e...more
girl writing
One of Duncan's tamer stories but with a fun twist at the end.
I know I say this about a lot of books, but this is definitely an amazing book. This idea is amazing and the mystery/secrets is amazing. The whole idea of this "magic" gift is amazing and the sci-fi concept is great. I definitely recommend this book. Like you should stop reading this review right now so that you can read this book. No I'm serious. Read the book. STOP READING!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!Stop reading now. Why are you still reading? I hate you. Now go read the book.
I just remember picking this up at the local library when I was little, back when I just grabbed books because they had pages and words, and I had no idea what kind of a story (or reading level) I was getting myself into. With this one, I remembered not being very challenged but actually being a bit bored, and my mother was surprised to see it in my hands, considering it was on her students' Scholastic orders, and I was several grades younger than they were. Probably a really interesting book fo...more
I think that this book was kinda boring in the beginning and then later on in the book it got better. I never liked fantasy both this book really changed my mind. The plot included a girl named Kirby thats gets a gift of dance when she did ballet dance move that she can't do yet and she brakes her leg, a girl named Nacey that gets a gift of magic and can read peoples minds, and this little boy named Brendon that gets a gift of music and can play the piano very well. There mother named Elizabeth...more
Papia aziz
This review has been hidden because it contains spoilers. To view it, click here.
The plot of A Gift of Magic is much more straightforward than Stranger with my Face and comparatively mundane, allowing for the inclusion of middle child Nancy discovering at 12 that she has multiple psychic abilities despite the family never suspecting that such things ran in the family. Did none of the family wonder how Nancy's grandmother knew her daughter would have a third child, a son, two years before his birth? much less that he'd have a gift for music? The family simply accepts Nancy fo...more
Sarah Albani
Book Review on “A Gift of Magic”

Have you ever imagined what it would be like to be able to tell the future, read other people’s minds, or see what is happening in another setting just by closing your eyes? Well, in the book “A Gift of Magic”, by Lois Duncan, Nancy can do all of these things. Nancy is a seventh grade girl who has recently moved to Florida with her sister Kirby, her brother Brendon, and her mom Elizabeth who just got a divorce with her dad. There are many things going on with Nan...more
Written by the best selling author of I Know What You Did Last Summer, Lois Duncan, A Gift of Magic is another one of her works. A Gift of Magic is written in third person telling the story of Nancy and her two siblings Kirby and Brendon. Before Kirby, Nancy and Brendon where born, their grandmother told her daughter that each one of the children will have a gift- Brendon given the gift of music; Kirby with the gift of dancing and awarding Nancy the gift of magic. Unlike Brendon who can play the...more
A quick read. I couldn't put it down. The characters are believable (apart from their unique gifts--an element of fantasy which I thoroughly enjoyed). I found myself sympathizing with each of them and exploring their gifts with them. The writing is well-paced, and the dialogue feels mostly natural except for a few things a 9 year old would never say. My only real complaint is that of the epilogue, which is entirely unnecessary.
Nancy's grandmother left her with a special gift. The gift to use her mind in ways that others can't. After fighting the gift for a long time, Nancy makes a strange connection with her grandmother from beyond the grave. She then decides to embrace her gift and push it further to see what else she can do. This is the story of a young girl with extraordinary abilities. It is the story of a girl dealing with her parents divorce, a sister who is only interested in ballet, a new school, a teacher who...more
This wasn't one of my favorite Lois Duncan books, but it certainly did have points that encouraged me to stop on jot down my thoughts. The quote that stood out for me the most was, "...when someone dies, they die in pieces, not all at once." I do not believe that when the main character, Nancy says this, she is referring to death on a literal level. I believe that she is reffering to the loss of innocence she had when her parents got a divorce. Her childhood kind of died in pieces with every fig...more
the plot is good. I like how the grandmother gave each of them a gift. Nancy actually started to get on my nerves, but I had to remember that she is just a child. Lois did an excellent job in telling this story in a child's view.
from Amazon: When the old woman died, she left her grandchild Nancy with the extraordinary gift of magic. Nancy can read people's minds, know their thoughts, and make them do what she wants. Will she use her gift for good, or satisfy her own selfish desire?

I'm not sure how old I was when I first read this, but I know I was a young adult and I still own the book. I really enjoyed Lois Duncan's books; she was probably my favorite YA author. I have always enjoyed books with psychic phenomenon in th...more
This was yet another mystery story by the wonderful Lois Duncan. Although I have to admit, it wasn't scary at all. In fact thought that this is her most boring story that she ever wrote. I thought of dropping it and moving on to another book. But then, I remembered another book I had erad for summer reading a few years back. It was called Down A Dark Hall. That book however was very suspenseful and thrilling. The story was amazing. I had bigger expectations from this story. I would originally gi...more
I quite liked it! It wasn't quite as layered as Duncan's novels typically are nor did it keep me as absorbed as I am used to with her books, but it was still very much worth the read!

I liked that each of the children had their own gift that was so unique to them. I was very glad when Nancy's character finally matured there at the end and realized that her family needs to be able to live their own lives and find their own happiness without her trying to manage everything.

I would def recommend t...more
First read this book in elementary school, many times. Gave it 5 stars because it has stayed with me all these years, any time I come across an ESP reference. Big difference in reading it now as an adult. Back then, I loved Nancy and felt so sorry for her, being ignored by her sister and worried about her parents. But now, I just saw a self-centered brat who is extremely judgmental and thinks she knows what is best for everyone. I disliked her. The story completely held up. Moral of Nancy's stor...more
I read this when I was eleven and it was an instant favorite. I believed so much of Nancy's experiences with ESP. I remember the book giving me chills and I would stay up late on summer nights unable to put the book down. I read it at least five times when i was a child. I re-read it recently and found it just as wonderful. Obviously its meant for a young reader audience, and it was written awhile back, so some of the language is a bit corny but I loved it still. It reaffirmed my beliefs in our...more
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Lois Duncan (born Lois Duncan Steinmetz, April 28, 1934) is an American writer and novelist, known primarily for her books for children and young adults, in particular (and some times controversially considering her young readership) crime thrillers. Duncan's parents were the noted magazine photographers Lois Steinmetz and Joseph Janney Steinmetz. She was born in Philadelphia, Pennsylvania, but gr...more
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I Know What You Did Last Summer Stranger with My Face Killing Mr. Griffin Down a Dark Hall Summer of Fear

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