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A Pocket Full of Murder (Uncommon Magic #1)

3.87  ·  Rating Details ·  298 Ratings  ·  91 Reviews
In the spell-powered city of Tarreton, the wealthy have all the magic they desire while the working class can barely afford a simple spell to heat their homes. Twelve-year-old Isaveth is poor, but she’s also brave, loyal, and zealous in the pursuit of justice—which is lucky, because her father has just been wrongfully arrested for murder.

Isaveth is determined to prove her
Hardcover, 352 pages
Published September 8th 2015 by Atheneum Books for Young Readers
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Community Reviews

(showing 1-30)
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May 13, 2015 R.J. added it  ·  (Review from the author)
Just finished reading the ARC aloud to my youngest son, to whom the book is dedicated. I dearly wish I'd recorded his reaction when we got to a certain part of the story, but it was classic -- "YOU PLOT-TWISTER! HOW CAN YOU -- WHY DID YOU -- HOW DID YOU EVEN DO THAT?!?" So I think it's safe to say he didn't see it coming, and that made me very happy indeed.

We also had to read the last six chapters all in one sitting tonight, since he was wringing his hands in despair that my characters could eve

Arc provided by Atheneum Books through Edelweiss

Book Status: Released September 8th


There was a time in which I had to write a review immediately after I had finished whatever book I was reading... now I kind of dread this moment, because I haven't felt all that much love for the arcs I've been reading lately.
This story unfortunately follows the same pattern. *sigh*

I have to admit that practically after page one I had to force myself to keep reading this. Never a good sign.
My main problem wi
Sep 19, 2015 Beth rated it really liked it
Shelves: reviewed
This is MG in the vein of Sarah Prineas's The Magic Thief: delightful stuff. Good worldbuilding, good characterization, a great plot. There's some French-Revolution-esque dissidence, some politicking, quite a few spies, and a brief examination of poverty and persecution, all wrapped into a really warm story about friendship.

The story is possible because the adults are kept out of the way so the kids can solve crimes, but at least there are good reasons for that. And if there's the fantasy that
I bought this one on impulse and good grief was it a good impulse.

An amazing mystery. Excellent characters. Families which feel real, from the younger siblings to the parents. FANTASTIC world building-- a depression-era world fuelled by spell craft-- my WORD just fantastic. This one is going on my award slates.
Mauoijenn ~ *Mouthy Jenn* ~
What a wonderful book full of magic. Again, I normally don't read these tween kind of books, but the title I admit grabbed my attention. This is an action packed book that had me flipping the pages as fast as I could. This book series is a strong contender for me to follow up and read the next one in the series.
Elle Fae

Wow, that was just fantastic!
I wish I had finished it sooner. but part of me kept stalling simply because I didn't WANT the novel to end.

This novel can be best described as fantasy, with a dash dystopian.

I freaked when the novel started off on that typical POOR vs RICH dystopian route, with the angry-common-folk-trying-to-start-a-revolution thang going on - in fact, I was tsk-tsking and pursing my lips in disappointment - and then as I continued reading, R.J.'s excellent writing skills ensured
E.K. Johnston
Sep 12, 2015 E.K. Johnston rated it it was amazing
I love this book so very much.

The things I love about it are, but by no means limited to:
1. Fanfiction as a coping mechanism
2. Food vs. new clothes vs. new shoes
4. Murder
5. Sissssssssssters
6. Politics
7. "Toronto"
8. Isaveth, just, oh, my heart.
9. The Moshites are oppressed do badly that the Unifying church struck an *entire day* from the week, just to be jerks to them.
11. Also: crime.

Like the best Middle Grade, Anderso
Brandy Painter
Sep 20, 2015 Brandy Painter rated it it was amazing
Originally posted here at Random Musings of a Bibliophile.

R.J. Anderson is one of my favorite authors. Being a voracious reader, I have a lot of authors I really like, but she is included in a special group of authors whose books I would scoop up in my arms if I was escaping my house in a disaster. They are all excellent and stand up to multiple rereads. Anderson has written books about (awesome) faerys and amazing girls in a mind boggling sci-fi duology. Her latest book, A Pocket Full of Murder
Liz at Midnight Bloom Reads
Nov 03, 2015 Liz at Midnight Bloom Reads rated it really liked it
Shelves: fantasy
R.J. Anderson's latest middle grade novel, A Pocket Full of Murder, introduces a memorable fantasy world divided by religion and social class as twelve-year-old Isaveth Breck races against time to solve a murder and save her father. In the spell-powered city of Tarreton, the wealthy nobility use a refined magic called Sagery while commoners use the more practical, everyday magic simply called Common Magic. But this magical world is far from wondrous—while the nobility live in lavish excess, the ...more
Miss Clark
This review has been hidden because it contains spoilers. To view it, click here.
Review to come.
Jeff Raymond
There's a habit in middle grade fiction to blur genres a bit to grab a broader audience. Sometimes it works, but sometimes it's a mess a bit. A Pocket Full of Murder is a murder mystery wrapped in fantasy elements, neither of which ends up being compelling enough to sustain a narrative on its own.

The good? A pretty interesting magic system that ends up being almost completely unimportant to the overall plot by the time the story ramps up. A mystery that, on the surface, sounds compelling and int
An adorable story, really.

Some might say it's predictable, and while it is, readers must keep in mind the audience this book was intended for.
Isaveth is a poor girl who dabbles in Common Magic. She is sweet, full of gusto, loyal, and clever. Together with her new found friend, Quiz, they're the Detective Duo of the streets! They try to solve the mystery of a murder, one her father was wrongly accused of. We get a feel of this little magical world as the two explore and experience their surroun
Best of 2015. Totally want more of this world; please write a sequel! Loved the prickly mc; the world building was terrific (lots of parallels to our world can be found); and the mystery kept twisting and turning till the end.

Interesting bit of the mc's religion (parallels to certain religions here) and her family being treated with persecution, distrust, animosity and fear--all of this is handled deftly.

There's a lot more going on in this book than the not so very good cover might suggest. De
Aug 25, 2016 Leah rated it it was ok
This book was, in my opinion, very boring. I didn't feel any connection to the characters, but I did like the magic in this book. The way it worked was interesting--it's cooked (baked). I think that was the best thing about this book. The ending was all right. I didn't expect the bad guy to be who it was. Also, it was nice to find out who Quiz really is.
Debbie Ohi
Sep 08, 2015 Debbie Ohi rated it it was amazing
Shelves: mg-middle-grade
Just finished this recently and thoroughly enjoyed it: a wonderful middle grade novel packed with mystery, magic and plot twists. And now I desperately want to learn how to bake spells!
Pomme de Terre
3.5 stars (although the reading experience itself was probably four stars)

Like Halfway Across the Galaxy and Turn Left, my recollection of this book is saturated by the intense emotions I was experiencing when trying to complete several end-of-year assessments, although unlike that book the emotions I experienced were sheer contentment and comfort. After several days of stressful research and writing, I decided I needed a break, so I made myself a cup of tea and a bowl of porridge, and sunk into
Oct 28, 2016 Katie rated it liked it
We just didn't click, me and this book.

The tinge of romance made me wonder if I'd like it more as a YA.

I might still read the next one.
Rachel Schieffelbein
Oct 30, 2016 Rachel Schieffelbein rated it it was amazing
Fun, interesting middle grade book. I loved the setting of this story and I'm looking forward to the next one.
Nov 26, 2016 B rated it liked it
Shelves: pretty-good, okay
the end sort of confused me... i guess there must be a second book? there were way too many things left unfinished.
Oct 23, 2016 Tessa rated it it was amazing
Shelves: tessa
Incredible book and writer!
Oct 19, 2016 Jenn rated it it was amazing
Reread in anticipation of the sequel
Amanda at Brains, Books, and Brawn
* I received a finished copy of this book from Simon & Schuster to review. This does not affect my opinion or my review *

This book was honestly so incredibly fun. I loved all the characters (okay, some of them I loved to hate but still). I was also super invested in all the shenanigans going because who doesn't love some good-natured trouble-making?

One thing I loved about this story was how the magic in their world managed to be incredibly complex but also simple at the same time. I hate bei
Pop Bop
Nov 09, 2015 Pop Bop rated it really liked it
Shelves: reviewed
A Satisfying Genre, Plot and Style Taster for a Middle Grade Reader

Plucky Isaveth teams up with mysterious street urchin Quiz in order to determine who framed Isaveth's father for murder. We end up with the murder mystery, some action, some sleuthing, a touch of romance, a lot of background and atmosphere, and we get to follow the adventures of these two very appealing characters. The book is perfectly well written, but whether the whole affair ends up in your favorites pile will probably turn o
Oct 08, 2016 Lynn rated it really liked it
A slow start and not my genre but I stuck with it and it was really good. Recommend it to Grades 4 and up. Isaveth is a great character, a neat mix of history and magic.
Nov 18, 2015 Cornerofmadness rated it it was amazing
This review has been hidden because it contains spoilers. To view it, click here.
Kari Maaren
Aug 28, 2016 Kari Maaren rated it liked it
This middle-grade novel has an interesting premise and the potential for some great world building: potential, however, that remains at least partially unfulfilled. I enjoyed many aspects of this novel but also felt it was missing something essential.

The plot is relatively straightforward: in a magic-based society reminiscent of the Depression-era West, twelve-year-old Isaveth sets out to investigate a murder for which her father has been framed. Helping her is mysterious street boy Quiz, who ri
In the spell-powered city of Tarreton, the wealthy have all the magic they desire while the working class can barely afford a simple spell to heat their homes. Twelve-year-old Isaveth is poor, but she's also brave, loyal, and zealous in the pursuit of justice—which is lucky, because her father has just been wrongfully arrested for murder. Isaveth is determined to prove his innocence. Quiz, the eccentric eyepatch-wearing street boy who befriends her, swears he can't resist a good mystery. ...more
John Clark
Sep 16, 2016 John Clark rated it it was amazing
If you're poor, your mom is dead and there's barely enough food to feed a mouse, let alone you and your three sisters, that is when your father, a stone mason, can find work, life would seem tough. When your father is arrested and accused of using magic to kill a member of government, it's far tougher, especially when the only other income is what your older sister earns in a sweatshop.
This twelve year old Isaveth must deal with. Not only is the deck stacked against her because her father had b
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R.J. (Rebecca) Anderson was born in Uganda, raised in Ontario, went to school in New Jersey, and has spent much of her life dreaming (and writing) of other worlds entirely.

5 stars: I loved this book so much that I expect to read it again and again -- I reserve this for beloved classics and others that knocked my socks off.

4 stars: I really enjoyed the book and/or thoug
More about R.J. Anderson...

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Uncommon Magic (2 books)
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