Goodreads helps you keep track of books you want to read.
Start by marking “Practical Magic” as Want to Read:
Practical Magic
Enlarge cover
Rate this book
Clear rating
Open Preview

Practical Magic

(Practical Magic #1)

by
3.78  ·  Rating details ·  62,369 ratings  ·  5,168 reviews
All Gillian and Sally Owens wanted was to escape from the eccentric aunts who raised them. One would do so by marrying, the other by running away. But the bonds they shared, even into adulthood, brought them back--almost as if by magic.
Paperback, 317 pages
Published June 1st 1996 by Berkley (first published July 1st 1995)
More Details... Edit Details

Friend Reviews

To see what your friends thought of this book, please sign up.

Reader Q&A

To ask other readers questions about Practical Magic, please sign up.
Popular Answered Questions
Mandie Thompson Personally, I hated the book. For me, it's one of the very very rare instances where the movie is better. For one thing, the two are nothing alike.…morePersonally, I hated the book. For me, it's one of the very very rare instances where the movie is better. For one thing, the two are nothing alike. The characters have the same names, and that's about it. I couldn't even finish the book because I didn't recognize even a thread of connection to the movie that I love so much.(less)
Rose Ann If you are desperate to read this book, you can always see if it's available at your public library.…moreIf you are desperate to read this book, you can always see if it's available at your public library. (less)

Community Reviews

Showing 1-30
Average rating 3.78  · 
Rating details
 ·  62,369 ratings  ·  5,168 reviews


More filters
 | 
Sort order
Start your review of Practical Magic
Melissa
Jul 19, 2017 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: 2017, womens-fiction
*3.75 stars*

I’m a little embarrassed to admit it wasn’t until I read my first Alice Hoffman novel last year (The Museum of Extraordinary Things) that I realized Practical Magic was more than just a swoon-worthy movie I’d watched a dozen times over—it’s also a book. With numerous viewings under my belt and the upcoming release of the prequel, The Rules of Magic, I figured now was as good of a time as any to dive in and give this a read. I mean how could I not, the book is always better than the
...more
Melissa ♥ Dog/Wolf Lover ♥ Martin
I guess I have changed.



I have my little paperback copy I got and read years ago. And of course I found it after I bought the one with the cool boot on the front

Anyway, I loved the book so much back then and now it's just meh! I still love the movie but something just didn't get me as pulled in as before. Oh well. It's still good.

Mel
...more
Brina
During the last few months of last year I had been eagerly awaiting Alice Hoffman's new book Rules of Magic. I had read new books by some of my go to authors for magical realism, which had left a bitter taste in my mouth because these books were contemporary and devoid of magical occurrences. Rules of Magic, while not necessarily magical realism, was simply magical. As soon as I finished reading the tale of Frances and Jet Owens, I reserved the story where it all began, Practical Magic. Much to ...more
Racheal
This is one of those rare examples of the movie being better than the book. Yeah. I somehow managed to get through it, but this book was like one never-ending series of mood-setting lists. An example:

"Sally thought long and hard each time she hung up the phone. She thought about the girl in the drugstore and the sound of Antonia’s footsteps on the stairs when she went to bed without a good-night hug. She thought about Michael’s life and his death, and about every second they had spent together.
...more
PorshaJo
Jul 23, 2017 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: audio, challenge
This one is a hard one to review. I think most know the movie Practical Magic. I love this movie as I'm sure that most do. Everytime it's on, I watch it. Does not matter at what time I catch it, I watch till the end and swoon. When I started watching the movie, initially, I had no idea it was based on a book. So for years now I've been wanting to read this one. But then I see the movie is on and watch it. But the prequel is coming out and I have a copy and figured it's time I read it.

Let me just
...more
Cheri
“The lesson Sally had learned so long ago in the kitchen—to be careful what you wish for—was so far and so faded it had turned to yellow dust. But it was the sort of dust that can never be swept up, and instead waits in the corner and blows into the eyes of those you love when a draft moves through your house.”

It’s only recently that I left Hoffman’s world in ”The Rules of Magic,” and so I returned to that world of the Owens family, to pick up where I’d left off, with a return to the home of
...more
Julie
Apr 01, 2011 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Practical Magic by Alice Hoffman is 2003 Penguin publication. (Originally published in 1995)

When I heard Hoffman was releasing a ‘prequel’ to Practical Magic, this past year, I knew I wanted to read it, but before I did, I needed to reacquaint myself with this book.

I read this book a long, long time ago, even before the movie was released. But, the book was something entirely different from the movie, which is a very charming and delightful adaptation, in my opinion. ‘You put the lime in the
...more
L
Jul 02, 2008 rated it liked it  ·  review of another edition
[Review written by my high school self]
I used to love the movie for this book, and I didn’t even know until after I had seen it that it was originally in book form. After finally getting a copy of the book and reading it, something magical happened: I didn’t know which one I liked better. Usually, having to decide favorites between the book and the movie is very easy. Except in the case of Grisham's The Pelican Brief, I almost always prefer the book versions. In some cases (as with Gone with
...more
Katie
Sep 29, 2017 rated it liked it  ·  review of another edition
My fear about this was I wouldn’t get on with the magical realism element. However that wasn’t a problem. The problem was more my feeling that it lacked a raison d’etre. For a long time it felt like a story was continually being set up but never quite happening. I’ve never seen the film but have a hunch it might be better than the novel because there’s a lot of padding in the book, lots of asides. Essentially a light and fun read, intelligent chick lit (every male character in this book is a ...more
Phrynne
Oct 21, 2017 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: 4000-books
I always like a bit of magic so I enjoyed this book very much, my only disappointment being that Sally and Gillian did not embrace their powers and use them! At least the aunts knew how to mix up a really good potion and cast an appropriate spell when necessary.

I enjoy the way Hoffman writes. Her characters are well rounded and likable, and her descriptions of things like the rampant lilac and hordes of toads in the garden are gorgeous.

Altogether a very readable, entertaining piece of nonsense.
...more
Justin Tate
The first clue that this was going to be a slog was the two audio versions. Unabridged, the running time is 9 hours 12 minutes. The abridged version is a mere 3 hours 6 minutes. As a general rule, if you can cut 70% of your book and it’s still coherent, that’s not a good sign.

Unfortunately the purist in me had to listen to the unabridged version. Now that it’s over, I can confirm that 70% could easily be cut. Probably more.

That’s not to say the entire experience was terrible. Hoffman is clearly
...more
Fabian
Jul 30, 2018 rated it liked it  ·  review of another edition
Charming, wicked. But also superficial and almost too flighty to take seriously or to dismiss as a prolonged adult fairy tale outright. The characters are all indisputably unique, so why do they sound exactly the same, with that similar tone of... Dullness? Being a witch is just SOO normal! Er, practical! The story jumps around like some impatient child, from characters to images (the aura of plants, the craziness of toads and cats, the thunderbolts of love) with little consideration for a ...more
Anna
Feb 18, 2012 rated it it was ok  ·  review of another edition
This is the first time in my reading life that I can say that the movie is better than the book. I honestly wish that I'd read the book first, because the monumental let down of reading the book after the movie has been something I cannot reconcile. The movie is beautiful, the storyline is engaging and witty, and the characters draw you in and make you laugh and cry. Yet the book is so far removed from the movie, they are hardly relatable at all, with such flimsy linkages, you could actually see ...more
Florence (Lefty) MacIntosh
Apr 02, 2013 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Recommends it for: Lovers of Adult Fairytales
Recommended to Florence (Lefty) by: Theresa
Remember being addicted to dark fairytales like Aesop’s & Grimm’s as a kid? Then at around ten figuring it’s time you grew up, setting them aside & heading over to the library teen section? Have you missed them all these years? Check out magical realism. Hey, the same twisted supernatural tales, riddled with conflict & hidden meanings –repackaged for grownups!
Practical Magic was published long before another of this genre I just read - Garden Spells - they’re both good and pretty
...more
Mike (the Paladin)
I was a little hesitant about the rating to give this book. There are what I would call, good moments. Mostly I don't care for it. There is an odd streak of amorality underlying it (I can just hear someone asking "who's morals are you talking about"). You have the two old ladies referred to as "the aunts" who raise a young girl to be selfish, obstinate, and rebellious (treating these as the best of good desirable traits) and then wondering that tragedy follows. There are shifting personalities ...more
Celeste
Oct 23, 2017 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Full review now posted!

Rating: 3.5/5 stars

Some people love Halloween, but don’t enjoy being frightened. This book is perfect for them; its magical and uncanny and feels perfect for fall. There are ghosts, supposed witches, magical gardens, and lots of black cats. And the entire story revolves around the women of the Owens family, their unusual attractiveness and their troubles with love. Even though the story transpires over years and every season, it feels quintessentially autumnal. There is a
...more
ALet
Oct 03, 2019 rated it it was ok  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: read-in-2019
/5

This was fine… I guess?!?
I defiantly see the appeal of this book, the premise is interesting, but execution let me down. I as a lot of people had seen the movie based on this book, so I had some sort of understanding of what should happen in this book, but sadly my hopes didn’t come true. Sadly, this book was really boring and full of filler content, literally, you can skip 70 percent of this book and you will not miss anything. The structure of this book was all over the place, and even the
...more
Britany
Nov 12, 2017 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
This is one of my all time favorite movies, I constantly asked myself, "How have I never read this book?" Finally, I gave in to the Owens women...

Oh, this book was all that I wanted from this story. Completely different from the movie and a strong focus on the two main ladies- Sally and Gillian. Two sisters quickly orphaned and raised by their Aunts (two of my very favorite characters in this book!). The neighborhood in Massachusetts took every opportunity to make fun of these sisters as they
...more
 Danielle The Book Huntress (Back to the Books)
This is a really good book. I couldn't put it down. It's good as many genres, coming of age, romance, fantasy, family drama, all of the above. It's so well-written and the language is beautiful and affecting. The words painted an image that was vivid and alive in my mind. Strangely enough, I pictured Sandra Bullock, who plays her in the movie, as Sally. I loved the extended narrative about Sally's daughters, which was missing from the movie. It seems as though they are going to repeat the ...more
bookczuk
2007 reviewI just love this book, really. It makes me smile just to think about it. I've read it twice now, and in a year or so will be ready for a re-read. The movie is good, too, but I love the book best, An Utterly Delightful novel about the magic of life.

From the Publisher
Practical Magic is a tale of two sisters, Gillian and Sally Owens, brought up by their two elderly guardian aunts in a world of spells and exotica from which they eventually escape - one by running away, the other by
...more
Mackey
Feb 24, 2016 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: my-reviews, favorites
This was first book to read by Alice Hoffman and now I suspect I will read all of her books in one quick, furious reading marathon. Her rhythm and cadence allows the reader to feel as though she is speaking directly to you, telling you a long, wonderful story, rather than you - the reader - plowing through a book. Hoffman is delightful, her characters full of quirk and charm. You want to know them, to be them and never let them go when you are finished. What more can a reader ask of an author or ...more
Helen Power
Practical Magic follows Owens sisters Gillian and Sally as they live their lives. They grow up in a town in Massachusetts where their family is shunned by the entire town. It is believed that the women in their household are responsible for every terrible (or even mildly inconvenient) thing that happens. As adults, the sisters part ways, escaping the town to find better lives, but they’re inexplicably drawn back together.

Practical Magic

I fell in love with the writing style within the first few lines. Hoffman
...more
Lizzy
Nov 19, 2016 rated it did not like it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: fiction, dnf
DNF @ 25%. Sorry, Ms. Hoffman, but it is too YA for me...
Linda Hart
Apr 27, 2019 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
This is a beautifully written, quirky adult fairytale. If you enjoy reading magical realism you will love this. The characters are likable and well drawn, the descriptive prose is lovely, and the story is just plain fun.
Jennifer Gaarder
Jul 30, 2018 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
See my reviews at htttp://jenchaosreviews.com

Rating: 4 Stars

In Practical Magic, Gillian and Sally Owens become orphaned at a young age when tragedy strikes and they become wards of their Aunts in Massachusets, a town that has blamed the Owens women for all the ills of Massachusets since the arrival of their ancestor Maria Owens in the 1600's. Rich, independent and soon accused of theft. "And then one day, a farmer winged a crow in his cornfield, a creature who'd been stealing from him
...more
Mimi
Even though I've read this book a few times before, it's just as good as the first time.

Alice Hoffman has what I call a cinematic style of bringing fairy-tale-like narrations to contemporary story and setting, specifically New England. So it's no surprise when this book was turned into a movie not long after publication. As a matter of fact, the movie is better known than the book. There are people who still don't know that it's only an adaptation.


Book
- What I've always liked about this book is
...more
Fred Shaw
Nov 19, 2017 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Practical Magic, by Alice Hoffman, narrated by Christina Moore, Simon and Schuster Audio Books

Imagine for a moment, a steaming cauldron, and some ancient woman in a black coat pouring in a huge heaping of Alice Hoffman and stirring in a little Stephen King. Do you think one might get “Practical Magic” as the result? What a great story about a family of 2 aunts who live in an ancient family home in Massachusetts, with windows no one can see in or see out, 2 adopted nieces, one when grown has 2
...more
Umut Reviews
I loved this book, that's the core of my review :)
I read it at the perfect time I think. It's a good Autumn/winter/Halloween book as it has a spooky theme.
I loved the weird aunts and the sisters Sally and Gillian. It was such a compelling and intriguing coming of age tale with magical realism woven into the mix perfectly.
I loved Hoffman's writing, and I'll definitely read everything she wrote. I can't wait to read The Rules Of Magic.
I want to also say the story telling in this book was
...more
Brenda
Gillian and Sally had been in the care of their aunts since they were quite young – the Owens family had had a reputation for over two hundred years. As they grew up, Gillian and Sally would watch their aunts from the staircase as they administered potions to lovelorn women – they pinky vowed never to fall in love; ever. School was horrid – teased, taunted – children and adults would cross to the other side of the road if they encountered the sisters.

But then the day came that Gillian ran away.
...more
Magdalena aka A Bookaholic Swede
I have seen the movie Practical Magical several times, the last time was actually today, the day after I finished the book for the first time. Well, I did start watching the movie before I started the book. However, I decided to read the book before I finished the movie. I had a very good reason for that. I have a copy of the prequel to the Practical Magic book (The Rules of Magic) and I wanted to read Practical Magical before I started the new book.

This is one of those times when the book is
...more
« previous 1 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 next »

Readers also enjoyed

  • A Secret History of Witches
  • Daisy Jones & The Six
  • Garden Spells (Waverley Family, #1)
  • The Turn of the Key
  • The Testaments (The Handmaid's Tale, #2)
  • Time's Convert
  • The Night Tiger
  • City of Girls
  • Ninth House (Alex Stern, #1)
  • The Immortalists
  • The Witches of New York
  • The Girl Who Chased the Moon
  • Spooky Trails and Tall Tales Connecticut: Hiking the State's Legends, Hauntings, and History
  • Circe
  • A Discovery of Witches (All Souls Trilogy, #1)
  • The Starless Sea
  • The Bookish Life of Nina Hill
  • Hocus Pocus & The All New Sequel
See similar books…
11,529 followers
Alice Hoffman is the author of more than thirty works of fiction, including The World That We Knew, The Rules of Magic, The Marriage of Opposites, Practical Magic, The Red Garden, the Oprah’s Book Club selection Here on Earth, The Museum of Extraordinary Things, and The Dovekeepers. Her most recent novel is The World That We Knew. She lives near Boston.

Other books in the series

Practical Magic (2 books)
  • The Rules of Magic (Practical Magic, #0)
“Sometimes the right thing feels all wrong until it is over and done with.” 2068 likes
“There are some things, after all, that Sally Owens knows for certain: Always throw spilled salt over your left shoulder. Keep rosemary by your garden gate. Add pepper to your mashed potatoes. Plant roses and lavender, for luck. Fall in love whenever you can.” 1013 likes
More quotes…