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Bad Magic (Bad #1)

4.15  ·  Rating details ·  2,235 Ratings  ·  334 Reviews
A magical new series from Pseudonymous Bosh, the bestselling author of the Secret Series

Magic is BAD.

As in fake. Cheesy. Unreal. At least, that's what Clay, who has seen one magic show too many, thinks.

When words from his journal appear mysteriously on his school wall as graffiti, he never imagines that magic might be to blame. And when the same graffiti lands him at Earth
Hardcover, 400 pages
Published September 16th 2014 by Little, Brown Books for Young Readers (first published September 1st 2014)
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Katie "Bad Magic" is not the last book in the Secret Series. This is the first book of another series, but it's related to the Secret Series. I recommend…more"Bad Magic" is not the last book in the Secret Series. This is the first book of another series, but it's related to the Secret Series. I recommend you read the Secret Series first, because it provides you with a bit of background information. The last book in the Secret Series is called, "You Should Stop This".(less)

Community Reviews

(showing 1-30)
Rating details
Sort: Default
Jun 16, 2014 rated it really liked it
Reread May 2018:
I can’t believe it’s been 4 years since I read this. A lot has changed and I actually really enjoyed it. More than the first time around. It helped that I finally got to read the sequels too.

I’ll write more details in my review of the third book. But for now, all I’ll say is that I’m really glad that I came back to this series and this author. It felt like coming home.

Original review: December 2014

Before reading: GUYS I AM SO EXCITED!!!!! I just got a copy of Bad Magic as a Chr
Aug 03, 2014 rated it really liked it
Recommended to Brenda by: ARC was received from the publisher for free via NetGalley
Psuedonymous Bosch is the author of the Secret Series (for which I've read the first two). The first book in the series was The Name of This Book is Secret and featured the characters of Max Ernest and Cass, who were trying to uncover a secret. I remember liking the narrator of the story, with his cautioning the reader, asides, foreshadowing and funny way that he would have a conversation with himself. Think Lemony Snicket.

Opening line: "This book begins with a bad word."

Okay, so that line cer
Pop Bop
Jul 29, 2014 rated it really liked it
Shelves: reviewed
Better Than the "Secret Series"; A Study in Misdirection

I really liked this book, but for lots of reasons that no one else seems to be mentioning.

First things first - I did not care that much for the first two volumes of the "Secret Series". The narrator was way too arch and intrusive for me, and I just didn't respond well to the antic cleverness of it all. I get it that lots of kid readers love that series and its comfortable jokiness, and I think that's wonderful, but it was just a bit too muc
Lindsey Lewis
Jul 31, 2014 rated it it was ok
Shelves: net-galley
I received a free digital ARC via NetGalley for reviewing purposes.

When Clay is sent to a camp for mischievous children, the crime he didn't commit seems inexplicably linked to a mystery on the island and an even greater mystery in his own home.

I've wanted to read the Secret Series for a very long time as the writer reminds me of Lemony Snicket, but it wasn't until I received this book on NetGalley that I had access to Pseudonymous Bosch's work. This book has all of the elements I look for in a
Elizabeth Johnson
Dec 02, 2014 rated it liked it
I had really mixed feelings about this book. I had read Pseudonymous Bosch's Secret Series, and I enjoyed it, which is what got me started on this book. It was good for the most part, but the ending of 'Bad Magic' is what ruined it for me.
First off, the plot takes a really long time to get started. Once it does get started, it built up really quickly and gets pretty suspenseful. But then, at the last minute, most of the stuff is resolved, and it all kind of crumbles. There is all this really ha
Laurie Arnez
Aug 10, 2014 rated it it was amazing

I received a copy of 'Bad Magic' by the publishers via NetGalley in exchange for an honest review.

I read this in one siting! Great start to an exciting series for students in grades 4-6. There is magic, adventure and mystery all rolled into a past paced story. Just when you think you have things figured out, the plot shifts and the reader is surprised again.
Sarah Miller
Sep 14, 2014 rated it it was amazing
Two years ago, students were sharing some of their favorite, laugh-out-loud books. One student reported loving - LOVING - The Name of This Book is Secret, and I've never forgotten her vigorous recommendation. While I haven't yet picked up of copy of Bosch's Secret book... I was delighted to have a chance to read Bad Magic.

And I wasn't disappointed, not one bit. You know how sometimes, someone recommends a book so highly, and you have these huuuge expectations... only to be disappointed? Not the
Mar 22, 2016 rated it liked it

Ok, I didn't like this book nearly as much as the second one. Perhaps it just took me a while to get used to the author's writing style, which I hear is Lemony-Snicket-esque. Not having read Lemony Snicket, I cannot vouch for this.

The thing that I do like about Pseudonymous Bosch is that I can't ever figure out where his books are going. I can't figure out any plot twists or such like that. And for me, that is major. Whenever I come across a book or movie that truly surprises me, it is a note
Lia   Covington
Feb 05, 2016 rated it really liked it
Lia's Bookish Obsession

Psuedonymous Bosch, happens to be an author for not only the The Secret Series but also the Bad Series. It seems that these two series are actually connected through character relationships. In The Name of This Book is Secret, features a character name M.E., Max-Ernest as well as his friend Cass, who were on their way to discover a secret. I have not read this series but after reading the  Bad Magic a

Alysia Verhagen
Feb 15, 2018 rated it really liked it
I thought this book was incredibly clever. It's kind of a weird concept, but it's just a fun read. I can see how this author is popular with kids.
Dec 20, 2017 rated it it was amazing
This book was great! Lots of twists, turns, and unexpected things happen. There's even a cool appendix at the back that teaches you how to do a simple rope trick and make a potato battery. This novel is a spin-off series of the book "The Name of This Book is Secret." I would suggest "Bad Magic" to literally anyone! After about the first hundred pages or so, I really got into it and finished it in roughly two days. Can't wait to read the next book in this series!
Jerry Hillyer
Sep 06, 2014 rated it liked it
Title: Bad Magic

Author: Pseudonymous Bosch

Publisher: Little, Brown Books for Young Readers

Year: 2014

Pages: 400

[Disclaimer: I was provided with an ARC via NetGalley in exchange for my fair and unbiased review of this book. I was in no way compensated for my review and was not required to provide a positive review.]

This book is part of a series of books written by Pseudonymous Bosch. Now I don't know Mr. or Mrs. Bosch, but I do happen to appreciate the play on words in the name. It's kind of like
Oct 23, 2014 rated it it was ok
Before you go any further reading this review, please understand that I am a very critical person. If I had just happened upon this book by chance I probably would have given it three stars, but because Pseudonymous Bosch wrote one of the most entertaining series I have read for children, the Secret Series,I have to say this book fell way short. There were so many problems I don't even know where to begin. Basically everything I loved about his first series is used in this book as well, but it f ...more
Audrey Wilkerson
I must confess. I have had this book forever. OK, that's stretching the truth a little bit, but I received this book back in July of 2014. Then, as it happens sometimes, it fell off of my e-reader. So when I was trying to catch up with my reviews, I realized I had to check it out of the library. I've tried to read it twice, and then seriously buckled down and finished it. It is due back to the libary on Friday after checking it out ten times.

So that beginning sounds a bit ominous, doesn't it? I
Aug 19, 2014 rated it it was amazing
4.5 stars
I like it when a book is talking to me and this is what this book accomplishes, the author writes as if he’s talking to his readers. Clay and his brother Max-Ernest are “bad brothers,” bad is their bond which started over a discussion over swear words. Max-Ernest, an amateur magician performs his magic at home and Clay learns while watching him. Max-Ernest disappears one day without any explanation leaving his family asking lots of questions. Years later, while at school inside one of C
Joe Hempel
Sep 02, 2014 rated it liked it
There is magic in the air when it comes to the book Bad Magic. Both good, and bad. Clay, the recipient of a very bad prank (or was it?), was in trouble for writing the words Bad Magic on the wall in class. Only, he didn’t do it. So his punishment, no, consequence, as his parents put it, was to be sent to Earth Ranch, a sort of rehabilitation camp.

It’s here where things take a turn for the strange. Something isn’t right and Clay realizes this early on. However, it takes almost 60% of the book to
Will Wortner
Sep 20, 2014 rated it it was amazing
The Quick Review:
Bad magic is a fun book to read. A blend of magic, mystery, adventure, and a little comedy give the reader plenty of reasons not to put the story down. The writing is up tempo and corky and is a very nice change in storytelling from a typical third person.
This is the first book in a new series by Pseudonyms Bosch, as well as the first book I have read of this particular author. This series ties into his previous one, which I plan to read after reading Bad Magic.

The Longer Review
Aug 05, 2014 rated it really liked it
Pseudonymous Bosch has authored a witty mystery for middle schoolers in the vein of Lemony Snicket's Series of Unfortunate Events. Bosch writes from a personal perspective but does not reveal the narrator's relationship to the featured characters right away.

Bosch uses wry humor and a comfortable story telling style to introduce protagonist Clay, a 12 year old familiar with magic since his preschool days. But since his older brother with whom he shared the pursuit of magic mysteriously left home,
Jul 25, 2014 rated it it was amazing
I received a copy of this book via NetGalley in exchange for an honest review…

I greatly enjoyed and thoroughly recommend Bad Magic by Psedonymous Bosch (2014). The book follows the adventures of Clay, who is wrongly sent to Earth Ranch, a mysterious camp for juvenile delinquents on an isolated island. Clay, with the help of his new camp friends, slowly learns about the history of the island and unravels the secrets of Earth Ranch and its benefactor, Randolph Price.

I love Bosch’s style of writing
Aug 04, 2014 rated it liked it
Shelves: children
6th grader Clay didn't do what he's accused of, but still gets sent to a very strange summer camp for children having difficulties in school, or with the law, or who otherwise need "reforming." It's on a volcanic island. There's mystery--and fog (volcanic fog)--in the air. And some really good lines from Clay and the other campers. There's a bit of Shakespeare, fantasy/ghost story, adventure, moral-to-the-story, and a whole lot more. One can't help but feel sorry for Clay as things continue to g ...more
This book starts auspiciously enough, with Max-Ernest’s younger brother Clay trying desperately to fit in at school. He is moody, restless and bored with magic and (thankfully) lacking in his older brother’s loquacity that made so much of Max-Ernest’s dialogue a teeth-clenching ordeal to endure.

The book becomes a mystery that needs solving. But as matters gradually unfold what emerges is a staged series of tests that pushes Clay to his limits. However, this tactic cheats the reader of any emoti
Zoe Mark
Jul 06, 2014 rated it it was amazing
When I first learned that this book was coming out and it was from Pseudonymous Bosch I knew that it had to be good, and it was. Even though it is not related to the secret series, it makes some really cool references to it. This book is about Clay, his parents think that it is best to let him parent himself thinking that they over parented Clay's older brother Max-Ernest. When Clay gets in trouble for supposedly graffitiing the school wall his parents for once decided to punish him for it by se ...more
Aug 20, 2014 rated it liked it
I read this book ARC via NetGalley in exchange for an honest review.

Magic has been a part of Clay's life since he was little. But when Clay's notebook graffiti mysteriously appears on his school's wall, he never thinks that magic could be to blame. He is sent to a remote island summer camp for troubled kids, where he meets an entertaining cast of characters and soon has a mystery to solve.

This book reminded me of a mixture of Holes and The Unwanteds.. While I think children will enjoy this boo
Aug 18, 2014 rated it really liked it
Shelves: read-in-2014, fantasy
“This book would bring me great wealth. And great grief …”

It all started with a harmless looking journal given to Clay by Mr. Bailey, the journal they used when performing The Tempest. Who knew that whatever Clay wrote in the journal, would end up on the walls of school? Did Mr. Bailey know? Busted for graffiti, Clay is sent to Earth Ranch, a camp for “wayward youth.” The camp is on an island that used to be the residence of the mysterious Mr. Price and his niece. With a huge house and library,
Anna (BooksandBookends)
I received a copy of 'Bad Magic' by the publishers via NetGalley in exchange for an honest review.

If you like the mixture of magic, Shakespeare and intrigue around every corner, then this is just the book for you. Clay, a typical teenage boy, is given a journey by a teacher and after drawing in the journey the next thing he knows, he's being accused of graffitiing a school wall! Nobody will listen to his pleas of innocence and the next thing he knows he's being sent away to a summer 'camp'. But
Though touted as the beginning of a "new series", Bad Magic is really just a continuation of the Secret series, only this time starring Max Ernest's much younger brother Clay instead of Max Ernest himself and Cass. The narrator remains the same (anonymous) narrator as before, though he's somewhat less intrusive this time around. Various references are made throughout the book to people and events from the Secret series, so one's experience with Bad Magic is enhanced by prior reading of the Secre ...more
May 14, 2015 rated it really liked it
I received this book from Netgalley in exchange for a review. The book is written in a style easily read by upper elementary and middle readers. It's a book of magic, mystery and adventure - all the current rage for readers of this age.

In a story that reminded me a little of Louis Sachar's Holes, young Clay gets in trouble for something he did not do. His choice is to be expelled from school, or spend the summer at a camp for troubled kids. From his first step on the island (after wading through
Feb 05, 2015 rated it it was amazing
Bad Magic, by pseudonymous bosch, was an entertaining read. The center of the story is Clay, an eleven year old boy. Life has not been the same since his older brother left home and Clay is feeling lost. Things really get strange after Clay receives a mysterious journal. Falsely accused of defacing school property, Clay is punished by being sent to a mysterious island for the summer and the mystery continues to unfold from there. I enjoyed the author’s writing style in this book as he often adds ...more
Jul 25, 2014 rated it really liked it
I received a copy of this book via NetGalley in exchange for an honest review....

A great book for older children who will probably relate to the twelve year old star character, Clay, who keeps being accused of things he hasn't done. Well, how would you feel if something you'd sketched out in your personal journal was on display as a huge piece of graffiti art at school the next day - and it doesn't just happen once!?! Strange happenings like this lead to Clay going to a very special summer camp
Paula Lyle
Jul 30, 2014 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: 2014, school
I received a copy from NetGalley for an honest review.

This is a very good book for intermediate and middle school readers. It takes on Shakespeare's Tempest as a reference and theme and gives just enough information so that it makes sense. I love the footnotes that are background knowledge for kids that need it, but done in such an interesting way that all readers will enjoy them.

The story is exciting and will keep kids involved up to the end. The characters are believable and worth knowing. It'
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Pseudonymous Bosch is the infamously anonymous author of the New York Times bestselling Secret Series and the Bad Books. Despite rumors to the contrary, his books are not actually written by his pet rabbit, Quiche; the rabbit is merely his typist.
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“Never let a pickpocket bump into you if you can help it” 7 likes
“The llama was wearing a bridle with a rope attached where you might expect to find reins. A greeting card was hanging from his neck:
'Hola Como se llama? Yo me llamo C. Llama.'
During his preschool years, Clay's favorite cartoon had featured a Spanish-speaking boy naturalist who was always saving animals with his girl cousin, and Clay still knew enough of the language to translate:
'Hello. How do you call yourself? I call myself Como C. Llama.'
The llama's name is What is your name?”
More quotes…