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The Zigzag Effect

3.69  ·  Rating details ·  249 ratings  ·  36 reviews
Sage is delighted to land a holiday job with a magician. It will earn her the money she needs for the photography course she's coveted since she first picked up a camera - and working for the The Great Armand should be interesting, right? Plus there's a cute stagehand named Herb, who could make it even more interesting.

But one night Sage, Herb and the magician's assistant
Paperback, 360 pages
Published April 1st 2013 by Allen & Unwin (first published March 1st 2013)
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Average rating 3.69  · 
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'"Magicians don't do real magic. We do effects. Using all sorts if misdirection and sleigh of hand. But there is no real magic."'

I guess this is one of those books that smack bang in the face tell me I am a whimp. The Zigzag Effect is by no means creepy or horrifically scary. Yet still, late at night I could not read any further until the next day due to my sudden wash of hyperventilation. Practically going There's a ghost in my house. It's a magician ghost.
The Zigzag Effect is Lili Wilkinson’s latest book. Sage is halfway through year ten when her parents move her and her little brother from Queensland to Melbourne. Sage misses the warm weather and her friends but is looking forward to taking a course in photography, taught by Yoshi Lear. She winds up with a job helping with the admin for The Great Armand’s magic show, and finds herself involved in a disappearance and a haunted theatre.

The Zigzag Effect was a lot of fun! There aren't many YA bo
Things you can expect from a Lili Wilkinson book: intelligence, humor, awkwardness, and HIJINKS. The Zigzag Effect is no exception. There are photographs that lie, theater ghosts and curses, and the best worst first date since Gracie Faltrain stuck her tongue in Martin Knight's ear. Oh, there's also a Magician's League.

Basically, Lili Wilkinson delivers the goods again.

Full review to come.
"So? She's smart and she knows about floorboards. I bet she knows about computers, too."
My last update around the 38% mark had been "PLEASE remind me never to read a Lili Wilkinson again. It's a very subjective thing, but consistent: I hate all the guy characters, do not connect to the girl ones and get irritated by the mystery/stetting/story/world/whatever. I am not sure whether I will finish the strange love story/wacky job/creepy people story or not." What has changed since then is: I am now
Mar 17, 2014 rated it it was amazing
Shelves: owned
I will say this author has an excellent imagination, a great understanding of characters, a quirky sense of humor, and obviously researches and enjoys the myriad of subjects her characters pursue. I've read two of her books now, and I can't imagine two more unique and different novels. Somehow she thinks of awesome settings for her stories; how many YA novels get haunted theatre holiday job story lines? Then there's the characters! There's no stereotypes here. There's flaws, glorious flaws! Herb ...more
Emily Wrayburn
Feb 05, 2019 rated it really liked it
Review originally published on A Keyboard and an Open Mind 22 February 2019:

Actual rating: 3.5*

I knew I had to read this book as soon as I learned that it was about a girl getting a summer job with a magic show. I wanted to be a magician when I was a kid, and while I learned a few card tricks that I’ve now forgotten, I still have a soft spot for all things magic.

I thought the main character, Sage, was really well-written. She’s homesick and sad, and trying to make the best of it. She’s also rea
Rebecca McNutt
Every time this book mentioned Sage being in love with Herb, all I could think of was Herb Tarlek from WKRP in Cincinnati. Sorry.

...Anyway, the plot for this book was okay, but the author couldn't have been less subtle about the romance if she were taping it up onto billboards in New York City. In fact, the romance is so up-front that it takes away from the story because every five pages the chain of events is interrupted so that Sage can drool over Herb. I was hoping that somewhere in this boo
Some classic laugh out loud moments as well as a great little mystery plus a dollop of romance. Loved everything about this book!
Not bad, the characters are memorable. Except maybe Sage, the MC... she was too young for my taste. She is 17 but I keep picturing a 14yo girl, no idea why. I guess with all her blushing and thinking about Herb and having a crush and the way she was reacting felt too young for me. And I Herb was ok, but not really a MLI material... he was also way to childish and sensitive. But I liked Bianca and Zacky and Armand and even Jason Jones, I could picture them vividly.

Now, for the story, it wasn't ba
Khanak Sharma
Aug 16, 2018 rated it really liked it
The plot is AMAZING. I honestly thought it would be quite a common story, guess I was wrong! I loved the way how the book ended. If you like a little bit of mystery and romance, this book is recommended! 😊❤
Apr 04, 2013 rated it liked it
zigzag effect. geek-cool. cool geek? what’s the right term here? of wilkinson’s stories i have read, there are offbeat, self aware, funny-odd types who stand out even when (especially when) they don’t want to. one a taxidermist in the making, another a girl forcing herself in a mold she's unsure of... and now this, magicians, magician wanna be's, their assistants and noobs. but it’s the last in that line up who sticks out the most in her knowing who she is and what she wants. that she's so smart ...more
Jan 05, 2014 rated it really liked it
I really, really, really liked this book!

I didn't give this book five stars just because it was pretty predictable, within about the first 30 pages or so, I knew what would happen. But nonetheless I still enjoyed the book. There were quite a few things that I really liked about this. The first one had to be the constant, however discreet references to the "Zig-Zag Effect" throughout the book. It really made it feel like the title had a purpose. The other thing I really liked was the name of the
Apr 09, 2013 rated it really liked it
I loved Lili Wilkinson's 'A Pocketful of Eyes', a quirky, funny detective story set in a natural history museum, but I was disappointed in the followup, 'Loveshy'. 'The Zigzag Effect' is, at least in my opinion, a return to form, and thank goodness for that.

The Zigzag Effect stars Sage, our lovely heroine, who has stumbled into a summer job working for b-grade magician The Great Armand. Along with the glamorous magician's assistant Bianca and the oddball (but attractive) stagehand Herb, Sage is
Sep 12, 2014 rated it really liked it
Fairly basic characters, but I really liked the layering that Lili Wilkinson made within Herb and Bianca. Sage was an okay protagonist, and at times I did feel like I was beginning to really understand her, but I felt that there wasn't enough character development in her story for me to really connect with.

The story over all however, is what makes me give this book 4 stars. The theatre setting and and the fact that you get an insight into this stage magic industry was very fascinating and frank
May 16, 2013 rated it liked it
Shelves: read-2013, aussies
I picked this book up for 2 reasons... 1. I have read Pink and enjoyed it. 2. It has a bunny on the cover. It is fairly easy to read and isn't too long plus it is engaging enough to keep the pages turning. I just didn't really like Sage, she doesn't seem sure as to what she believes in but then she is very vocal about women's rights. Herb was a bit abrasive as well. I have to admit though, that this is one of the few times that I worked out who was behind it all before the book told me. I love t ...more
Apr 27, 2014 rated it it was amazing
This story was so intriguing, I loved how it was about magic and how magic is all illusion or trickery! The plot was mysterious and captivating, I found I got to be a detective and solved the mystery half way through the book.
Wikinson's characters are likable and charming, I loved the chemistry between Sage and Herb. This story is thrilling if you like teenage detectives, I found it very Nancy Drew like but the magic was just brilliant and I wasn't about to let that get me down by the ending as
This is a terrific mystery story, which includes moving interstate, Vietnamese food, rabbits, and a vanishing magician. There is also romance, mixed messages, deception and worry. It is a lot of fun, while being just a little bit scary as well.
Sage (photographer, state-mover and theatre assistant) is a delightful protagonist, and Herb (geddit?!) (magic effects creator) is a perfect foil. The mystery is convincing and well-constructed, and is satisfactorily resolved. There is a suitable amount of
May 04, 2013 rated it really liked it
Another quirky tale from Lili Wilkinson. Sage, Zacky and Herb are lovely characters, endearing and eccentric in their own ways. There is a lot of intrigue, humour and magic within the pages and I must admit that the ghostly parts were scary enough to stop reading one night as I scared myself! The lovely city of Melbourne is realised well too, and the historical context of magic and photography was a lovely and well researched addition!
May 19, 2014 rated it liked it
Recommends it for: fans of contemporary or mystery; anyone interested in stage magic
Shelves: contemporary
A very interesting book.

The funny thing is, I would never have picked it if I hadn't met the author!
She did a presentation at a festival I went to, and she was such a brilliant speaker that I just had to read some of her books.

I loved the way each chapter heading was a different trick, it added an intriguing depth to the plot.

It's very evident that she did a lot of research; all of the magic in it was really cleverly and interestingly explained.
Clever book with another of Lili's awesome feisty heroines. All the magic stuff was unusual and allowed the narrative to develop with both humour and suspense.

I figured out what was going half way through and then was cranky when Sage did not. Or did she?

Anyhoo, all the characters are excellent, particularly Zacky and Herb.

Jan 17, 2014 rated it it was amazing
Such an enjoyable book. Some parts I just wanted to yell at the characters "JUST CALL HIM!!!! TALK TO EACH OTHER!!! SORT OUT YOUR PROBLEMS!!!" b/c fucking misunderstandings, but it all got resolved nicely in the end.
10/10 do recommend.
Mar 25, 2014 rated it it was amazing
A bit of mystery, a bit of romance. And I got to learn about magic and photography, so I could follow peole around at home saying "hey did you know...?". Love everything Lili writes. There are always a few surprises along the way, and REAL characters. Highly recommended!
Jan 14, 2015 rated it liked it
This review has been hidden because it contains spoilers. To view it, click here.
Feb 03, 2016 rated it liked it
This starts off a little bit flat but the plot gains its own momentum once the mystery kicks in and the main character becomes more and more involved in the magic show. In the ned, I really enkoyed this.
I could have lived without Herb (such an a-hole) and the plot was a little predictable but overall it was a quick, fun read.
Feb 05, 2013 rated it really liked it
Very quirky and interesting mystery. Recommended.
Light harmless mystery easy to solve but enjoyable any book that had four Harry potter references by page 3 is gonna be good
David McLean
Magic, photography and romance.
May 25, 2013 rated it did not like it
Shelves: bear
The only thing magical about this book was the Harry Potter references.

Jun 19, 2013 rated it it was amazing
amzing! spooky in all the right places! great read!
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Lili Wilkinson was born in Melbourne, Australia, in the front room where her parents still live. She is an only child, and loves it. She was first published when she was 12, in Voiceworks Magazine. After studying Creative Arts at Melbourne University, Lili was employed by the Centre for Youth Literature at the State Library of Victoria, where she manages, a highly acclaimed all-a ...more

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“Correct. That’s the Sucker Effect. You do something, while making the audience think you did something else. So they’re all busy feeling self-congratulatory that they figured it out, and it gives you all this awesome wriggle room to keep tricking them.” 1 likes
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