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Upside-Down Magic #1

Upside-Down Magic

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From New York Times bestselling authors Sarah Mlynowski, Lauren Myracle, and Emily Jenkins comes the hilarious and heartfelt story of a group of magical misfits.

Nory Horace is nine years old. She's resourceful, she's brave, she likes peanut butter cookies. Also, she's able to transform into many different animals. Unfortunately, Nory's shape-shifting talent is a bit wonky. And when she flunks out of her own father's magic academy, Nory's forced to enter public school, where she meets a group of kids whose magic is, well, different.

This new, offbeat series from hit authors Sarah Mlynowski, Lauren Myracle, and Emily Jenkins chronicles the misadventures of Nory and her oddball friends, who prove that upside-down magic definitely beats right side up.

196 pages, Hardcover

First published September 29, 2015

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About the author

Sarah Mlynowski

109 books3,127 followers
Sarah was born in Montreal, Canada. After graduating with an honors degree in English literature from McGill University, she moved to Toronto to work for Harlequin Enterprises. While she never met Fabio, she used her romance publishing experiences to fuel her first novel Milkrun.

Since then, Sarah has written four additional novels for adults: Fishbowl, As Seen on TV, Monkey Business, and Me vs. Me; the New York Times bestselling middle grade series Whatever After; the middle grade series Upside-Down Magic (with Lauren Myracle and Emily Jenkins); and the teen novels Bras & Broomsticks, Frogs & French Kisses, Spells & Sleeping Bags, and Parties & Potions (all in the Magic in Manhattan series), as well as Gimme a Call, Ten Things We Did (And Probably Shouldn't Have), Don't Even Think About It, Think Twice, and I See London, I See France. Along with Lauren Myracle and E. Lockhart, Sarah also wrote How to Be Bad, and along with Farrin Jacobs, she wrote See Jane Write, a guide to writing. Sarah also co-edited two bestselling charity collections (Girls' Night In and Girls' Night Out), and has contributed to various anthologies (American Girls About Town, Sixteen: Stories About That Sweet and Bitter Birthday, 21 Proms, First Kiss (Then Tell), Fireworks, and Vacations from Hell).

Sarah is also a co-founder of OMG BookFest, a celebration of books aimed at the early to middle grade reader (ages 7-12) that brings together commercial and award-winning authors with underserved local communities for an exciting experience of books, games and activities.

Sarah's books have been translated into twenty-nine languages and optioned to Hollywood. She now lives in New York City with her husband and two daughters.

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5 stars
2,431 (42%)
4 stars
2,044 (35%)
3 stars
1,004 (17%)
2 stars
163 (2%)
1 star
64 (1%)
Displaying 1 - 30 of 805 reviews
Profile Image for Sarah.
242 reviews8 followers
March 30, 2017
As someone who has worked in special education and with children of multiple ethnicities, I immediately read deeper into Upside-Down Magic than most people. Sarah Mlynowski, Lauren Myracle and Emily Jenkins are mad brilliant. They took a girl’s worries about being different and forced her to accept them instead of following the typical narrative of self-discovery and being mainstreamed and everyone liking her, they were much more realistic with how they handled the politics of education and the fact that all students’ needs are different, whether it be in learning math or magic. They also incorporated the fact that most minority and special needs student are often taught by a white, female teacher that the students have difficulty relating to. And while the teacher may have people in her life that have unique needs, rarely did/does the teacher.
I recommend Upside-Down Magic to children at the store that feel like they don’t really fit in or who really like magic stories, but I also recommend it to each and every teacher that walks through the bookstore doors because, whether the authors intended or not, they have written a brilliant piece of social commentary on our education system in the United States and how imperative it is to teach every child in a manner that best fits their unique needs and style.
Profile Image for Schizanthus Nerd.
1,113 reviews226 followers
March 10, 2019
Nory is ten and desperately wants to pass the Big Test to gain entry to the elite Sage Academy where her father, Dr Horace, is the principal. Her brother, Hawthorn, who is sixteen and a Flare, and her sister, Dalia, who is thirteen and a Fuzzy, both attend Sage. The problem is that Nory’s magic goes wonky. When she tries to turn into a cute black kitten she does, sort of. Except her kitten becomes a bitten; half kitten, half beaver, and the beaver part of her wants nothing more than to chew wood and build a dam.

After failing the entrance exam to Sage, Nory winds up being sent to live with her Aunt Margo, who’s practically a stranger, so she can attend the Upside-Down Magic class at Dunwiddle Magic School and Nory’s not happy about it at all. All she wants to do is fix her magic so she can be normal.

In this world of magic there are the five F’s:
* Flares, who can do fire magic
* Fuzzies, who do animal magic
* Flickers, who can make themselves or objects invisible
* Flyers are usually only able to fly themselves, but special flyers, like Aunt Margo, can take passengers
* Fluxers can transform into animals.
“Thinking about opposites is a great place to start understanding unusual magic.”
Ms. Starr’s Upside-Down Magic class is being offered for the first time and Nory and her fellow misfits are the outcasts in the school. In Ms. Starr’s class Nory and her classmates learn to trust, forgive and manage their emotions. Hopefully they can also learn that being different means that their abilities are special, not something to be ashamed of.

Nory’s classmates have some really interesting abilities.

This is a feel good story that made me smile and I feel better about the world now. I love stories about outcasts who learn that fitting in doesn’t have to be the goal and that being different should be celebrated. I read this book a couple of years ago and enjoyed the reread even more. I love this Upside-Down class and can’t wait to read about their accidents and triumphs in the rest of the series.
Profile Image for Prabhjot Kaur (Away).
1,030 reviews134 followers
January 8, 2021
Nory Horace is nine years old and she is prepping for a Big Test so that she can start fifth grade at Sage Academy in the coming fall. She has magic, she can turn herself into lots of different animals but her magic is wonky and Sage academy doesn't admit kids with wonky magic. She is nervous and it doesn't help that her father is the headmaster at the academy. She loses control of her magic and starts to turn into different animals at random in her test and as a result fails.

Nory has an older brother and a sister. Her mother died six years ago. Her father sends her to live with her aunt to Dunwiddle to attend school for upside-down magic. She isn't happy about it but she finds out that there are other kids with wonky magic. Normally there are five categories of magic talents - Flares have fire talents. Fuzzies have animal talents. Flickers have power to be invisible or make things invisible. Flyers can fly. Fluxers can turn into animals. But there are people whose magic doesn't fit into these categories and they are known as wonky or different or people with upside-down magic. Nory attends class with seven other different kids.

Nory becomes friends with Elliot who attends the same class but then Nory misses home and she wants to learn how to control her magic so that she can attend Sage academy somehow. She finds a book that can help Nory to do normal magic and she along with Elliot starts to practice the normal box trick to contain her feelings. Elliot being a flare can light things up but his wonky magic makes him freeze things afterwards so he also starts to learn the normal magic even though their teacher, Ms. Starr wants them to stay in the class to understand their feelings and their magic.

When their friend, Andres is in danger both Nory and Elliot do their upside-down magic to save his life and end up realizing that their different magic is part of them and they should accept it and try to understand it.

It was fairly predictable and the plot wasn't all that great even though the message is good that being different is nothing to be ashamed of, in fact being different is encouraged. My main issue is that not much was explained about the world and the rules in it but I am guessing these will be addressed in the next book. It was a quick read though.

2.5 stars
Profile Image for Rashika (is tired).
976 reviews714 followers
August 9, 2015
***This review has also been posted on The Social Potato

Upside Down Magic is a very special book. I went into it expecting to like it but I ended up loving it. It’s a cute little children’s book but at the same time it is so much more than that.

I would like to start off by saying that I absolutely LOVE that this book is so diverse! There are so many people of color in this book and seeing that made me happy!

But also there was magic in this book so obviously it was going to be great. There was a dritten (a dragon/kitten), a kid who is a human balloon, a kid who can freeze things (as well as light them up), a kid who can turn into inanimate objects at will (except not really) and many other awesome kids. All of these kids have one thing in common, their magic is ‘wonky’.

Nory is the star of this novel and we see her be rejected by her father because her magic is not normal and then sent away. Her asshole father (harsh words need to be used here) refuses to pick up her calls or even ring her up to see if she is okay. Instead he just ships her off to her aunt and assumes she will be okay. Nory has trouble adjusting though. She doesn’t want to learn how to deal with her magic, she just wants to be normal. She doesn’t want to be referred to as someone with wonky magic. After all, who doesn’t want to fit in rather than stand out? But Nory learns to appreciate her amazing classmates and she even makes friends along the way.

This is an adorable little book about learning to appreciate yourself and those around you. It is a fantastic read and one that won’t fail to charm you (*crosses fingers*). You should read it if you like books about kids who turn into drittens because their magic is wonky.

Note that I received an ARC of the book in exchange for an honest review.
Profile Image for Caryn Caldwell.
434 reviews250 followers
June 5, 2015
Nory has serious magic troubles. While other kids her age can turn into kittens, beavers, skunks, or elephants, Nory can never hold one animal at a time. Instead, she always ends up becoming a "bitten" (beaver + kitten) or "skunkephant" (skunk + elephant) or some other unlikely combination. Her uncontrollable skills land her in a special class filled with other kids who have "wonky" magic of their own -- exactly what she doesn't need if she ever wants to be accepted as normal. But it turns out that wonky magic has its own benefits, and maybe wonkiness is a matter of perspective anyway.

This is a cute story with entertaining magical powers, plenty of humor, and a very likable heroine. What sends it into "essential" territory, though, is the natural way in which it handles diversity, and, especially, the many parallels between "upside down magic education" and real-life special education. In a fun way, and without being preachy (for the most part), Upside Down Magic has readers cheering for the special magic kids, hoping they will learn to accept their unusual abilities and show the "normal" kids that wonky magic may be different, but it's still just as good. The strong voice, funny scenarios, and possible discussion topics make this one perfect for a read-aloud. (My five-year-old, for example, adored it to no end.)
Profile Image for Zahra.
110 reviews24 followers
April 7, 2021
یک بار که رفته بودم راما پیش مهسا، اینو آورد و بهم نشون داد و من عاشق جلدش شدم. :)) آخه کیه که گربه دوست نداشته باشه، مخصوصا اگه بال داشته باشه؟
داستان توی دنیایی اتفاق می‌افته که بچه‌ها تا تا کلاس چهارم به یه مدرسه‌ای میرن، و وقتی ده ساله شدن و جادوشون خودش رو نشون داد، باید مدرسه‌شون رو عوض کنن. نُری، حالا که ده سالش شده داره تلاش می‌کنه که توی مدرسه‌ی دانا، که انگار خیلی خفنه و برادر و خواهرش اونجا درس می‌خونن و پدرشم اونجا مدیره، قبول شه. ولی جادوش چپکیه. یا به قول خانوم استار، وارونه.

باحال بود کتابش. مخصوصا که پیام قشنگی هم داره.

من نسخه‌ی نشر پرتقال رو خوندم با ترجمه‌ی مهناز بهرامی؛ ولی توی ادیشن‌های گودریدز ثبت نشده بود.
Profile Image for Jim.
Author 6 books2,015 followers
July 2, 2018
Nory doesn't fit into the straight world of one of 5 distinct types of magic. It's a stupidly straight-laced world & her father figure has a stick up his bum second to none. There is one way to do everything & anything outside of the norm is awful. Of course, Nory wants to fit in, especially to please her father.

Luckily, she winds up getting in with some decent people & finding out that it's OK to be different. That's the entire theme of the book - lots of diversity throughout & it's OK to be unique. Friends are OK, cliches are jerks, & being kind is the best way to go. A bit overpowering, but probably perfect for the 5th grade audience it's aimed at. Highly recommended for them, but I think most will get a kick out of this short novel.
Profile Image for Stormy Summer.
39 reviews39 followers
April 3, 2019
Warriors Rp!!!!

Deputy :



Medcat: OPEN
Apprentices: open

Riverclan ~
Deputy: OPEN





Leader: OPEN
Warriors ~


Medcat ~


Leader: open
Deputy: open

Solticepaw(Queen Selchannary)

Profile Image for Bookishrealm.
1,778 reviews4,481 followers
March 3, 2018
This was such an adorable book that deals with issues of fitting in. I'm so glad that I took the opportunity to actually listen to it on audiobook. It's great for kids who are having problems fitting in or so desperately want to fit in with everyone else around them. The main character was adorable and it was great to see how much she learned about herself towards the end of the book. I think this is a great series for children who are interested in magic or prefer books that take place at magical schools. Some of the writing was problematic for me especially looking at the naivety of the main characters; however, I do recognize the audience it is written for and I think it would be a great choice for those who are interested.
Profile Image for Sandra Deaconu.
654 reviews96 followers
January 7, 2021
O lectură simpatică, haioasă (pentru copii; eu nu am râs) și educativă deopotrivă, care chiar cred că i-ar putea ajuta pe copiii mai timizi, mai emotivi sau care pur și simplu percep lumea altfel. Te învață că nu poți percepe lumea altfel de cum e pentru că lumea e de fapt așa cum o vede fiecare. Cartea este prima parte dintr-o serie, dar asta nu afectează considerabil înțelegerea finalului. Se pare că e și un film, dar nu mă tentează deloc. Totuși, trei autoare pentru atât?! Recenzia aici: https://bit.ly/3rYiUcZ.

,,Fiți voi înșivă, nu ce credeți că trebuie să fiți!''
Profile Image for The Library Lady.
3,550 reviews509 followers
November 13, 2015
Three authors may be too many. This is incredibly predictable and extremely didactic, right down to the carefully selected ethnic blend of the classmates. Adequate but no more.
Profile Image for Amy Plum.
Author 19 books4,866 followers
June 8, 2017
My kids and I loved this book. It had us laughing out loud.
Profile Image for Muzmuz.
347 reviews8 followers
September 24, 2020
such a cuuuuuuuuuuuuuuuuuute little book of beautiful magic, learning to stand up and loving oneself.
great for the little ones as well for the adults who needs a little pick me up.
Profile Image for Kristin B. Bodreau.
261 reviews47 followers
September 3, 2020
Sitting in the pediatrician’s office, waiting for my kid to have his physical, there was a commercial for a new Disney TV movie about kids with crazy magic called Upside-Down Magic. It looked absolutely adorable. However, I don’t have cable. Since everything seems to have started as a book these days, I decided to check if there was one. I’m glad I did. I’m no stranger to YA, but I never really read MG. I’m happy I made the exception. This was a delightful read and something I think is very important for kids to read. The main message is that it’s ok to be different. That you should celebrate what makes you unique and be kind to everyone, regardless of who they are. Not only does it celebrate differences in magic, but the characters themselves come from diverse backgrounds.

Overall a sweet story with important challenges and some excellent messages. Highly recommended for young kids, or adults who just need something simple and wholesome to enjoy.
Profile Image for Bianca.
Author 1 book83 followers
June 10, 2020
This has been on my audiobook radar for a while. I was intrigued by the cover and then the story stole my heart.

Little Nori has upside down magic. Which means her magic is different to the norm.

This book shows how it’s okay and even amazing to be different. There is nothing to be ashamed about, and it’s not bad at all. Different people show us new ways to do things and to make changes in the world.

This is a lovely series for young children to learn tolerance. I will definitely be reading it to my kids one day.
Profile Image for Kourtney.
567 reviews22 followers
October 11, 2015
In my eyes, Sarah Mlynowski can do no wrong. We have another winner with Upside-Down Magic! If you enjoyed her Magic in Manhattan series then you will love this one as well. I can see me reading this book with my daughter when she's old enough to see if she will also enjoy the Magic in Manhattan series, as well as Harry Potter.

LOVED IT LOVED IT LOVED IT! I can't wait for the second book to come out!
Profile Image for Myrtle.
212 reviews1 follower
January 30, 2021
A good book. It is pretty predictable yet lighthearted though. Very cheesy
Profile Image for J..
309 reviews30 followers
August 19, 2021
Sort of cute, but, even though I adore children's books, I'm definitely too old for these kind of stories 👵👵👵😄
Profile Image for Sara Jovanovic.
296 reviews73 followers
February 24, 2020
I went into this without any particular expectations, and afterwards, I'm glad to say this was such a pleasant suprise. I was having a bit of a hard time with reading lately, and this book really managed to cheer me up and make me excited about reading again.

We follow nine year old Nory Horace who, after being turned down by one of the most prestigious magic schools, run by her own father, enrolls in special class for kids who have difficulty controlling their magic, called Upside-Down Magic. At first, Nory is disappointed in this turn of events, and faces many challenges trying to fit in in her new class, while struggling to make the most out of her unique powers.

This is a feel good story about being different, accepting other people and cherishing your individuality in the midst of peer prejudices. Even though it's aimed at the younger audience, I think anyone can gain something meaningful from this story. I can't wait to see what have Sarah, Lauren and Emily done with this series later on.
Profile Image for Grace W.
826 reviews8 followers
November 28, 2020
(c/p from my review on TheStoryGraph) A cute, fun story that is very fun for the age group. It's not anything overly special but it's not bad either. It's just a fun story about a girl who can't stop turning into strange animals. I like the humor, I like the story, I like the world building such as it is for such a short book. Overall I just really enjoyed the playfulness.
Profile Image for Philip.
959 reviews259 followers
July 1, 2018
*My 11 year old daughter, Eleanor (El) wrote this review. I'll intersperse my thoughts throughout using an asterisk.*

I recommended Upside Down Magic to Dad a few years ago, and he's finally listened to it on Hoopla. He listened to it because he couldn't find the one he was looking for. *Night, by Elie Wiesel* I said, half joking, that I would recommend the book I was listening to, but I thought he'd think it was too girly. *The Mother Daughter Book Club* He looked it up and was going to listen to it, but then, he asked which book I recommended more, that one or any other book I recommended. I said that Upside Down Magic was one of the first books I really recommended to him, so he listened to it.

The way I heard about Upside Down Magic was from Gwen. We take turns choosing stories to help us go to sleep, and Gwen wanted to choose Upside Down Magic. I looked it up on Bard Mobile, digital books for blind people - we call it Bard for short, and they had it. Gwen heard of it from the book fair at our school library. I had, too, but I didn't think it sounded very good. As it turns out, I was wrong. I ended up turning it off because it was so good, I couldn't fall asleep. That didn't work, though, because Gwen was awake and she didn't want me to turn it off.

I think part of the reason I like the book so much is because I'm kind of like the protagonist, Nory. We both eat our cereal with no milk. When I first read this book, I was 10 - like her. We both have the same first name and last initial, and Mom and Dad thought about calling me Nora. After hearing about this, Dad said that if they had called me Nora, they probably would have started calling me Nory. When I asked why, he said it was because of the IE sound at the end of little kids' names. My favorite part was when, I didn't believe Lacy when she said that they used the fire hydrants 4 times because of her, because she's the kind of girl who I think would make those excuses. I'm guessing when they had ice cream was one of Dad's least favorite parts because they had to miss geography, and he's a seventh-grade social studies teacher. *Heh. I actually didn't even catch that they were missing geography to have their ice cream. But I don't mind. It was well deserved.* I liked that part because all problems in that book were solved, and how often do you get ice cream at school? I only got it for an iReady growth party at the end of the year. iReady is part of the barrage of tests that are thrown at students these days here in Indiana, and really all over the US. #NotAFan* I think upside down magic class sounds more fun than regular magic because I'm guessing they don't get to eat whipped cream looking for cherries like in upside down magic. *Side note on the book, the main characters had flawed, or "upside down" magic. Its not really "flawed" per se, but different. They had to go to a special class for it, and didn't like feeling different in the class, but DID like being around kids that were like them.* If I had to choose one magical category to be in, it would be a fluxer because it sounds interesting to be an animal. For upside down magic, it would still be a fluxer. I'll give the book 5 stars. I recommend this book to people, wildly.

I'm going to hand it over to Dad now, so you can see what he's got to say about the book.

*Dad here. Well, that was fun. I enjoyed the book, and I enjoyed reading Eleanor's first complete review. She's the biggest rule follower I know, so she's not getting a goodreads account until she turns 13 - which is approaching faster than we had hoped...

For the record, my favorite part of the book was the skunkephant.

Five stars, per Eleanor's request.*
Profile Image for Koby Z. (KZ Reads).
122 reviews16 followers
October 1, 2020
4.9 Stars | Magical
Woo-hoo! I loved this book! There's a reason I'm following Mlynowski-she's a wonder! Sarah Mlynowski-click here to view her profile!
When Nory is not accepted into her father's school, she becomes extremely depressed until she gets better than that! She realizes that just because she isn't accepted into a really good school, maybe that's because her powers are too good!
**Make sure to like this review, and of course, follow or friend me if you haven't yet.**
**My blog link is www.kzreads.blogspot.com. I would greatly appreciate it if you take a moment to look at it, and if you like it, subscribe!**
November 7, 2016
This book deserves to be published by Scholastic Inc. because it is remarkable. The words used in the book are strong. The book is remarkable because it is relatable and it has a diverse cast of characters. It also speaks about bullying and prejudice of children with disabilities. This book relates to me because I am still trying to fit in and make new friends. Since this book is a series, I will continue reading it because I want to see the adventures of Nory and her friends. I would recommend this book because this book is literary spectacular.
Profile Image for James.
366 reviews12 followers
July 16, 2018
Summer reading program with my daughter. We both loved it - a great message of inclusion, diversity and understanding of strengths. It's a fun one to read out loud together.
Profile Image for Anne (ReadEatGameRepeat).
569 reviews47 followers
April 28, 2020
This book is just really cute. The writing style is just really fun and it really does capture all the frustrations that come along with being somehow different. At the same time this book is incredibly diverse. The main character is biracial, the side characters are also of a wide variety of racial backgrounds, and there is also a side character who wears a hearing-aid. The story was really fun and I do kind of wish I could've given it to a younger me to read. I'm definitely going to keep going with the series.

I listened to the audiobook for this and the narrator did a fantastic job conveying all the emotions Nori (and also various animals-nori) feels. I think listening to the book made it even more fun.
Profile Image for Sasha.
859 reviews31 followers
October 28, 2018
Ok Kit, you were right. This is delightful! It may seem like it's a fluffy chapter book and it is, but it's so stuffed with charm and deep thoughts and humor that I'm not even mad. I had a blast reading this little guy, and I would read more. Original and happy and has room for lernin'. Yay!
Profile Image for Rasta Nasseri.
81 reviews16 followers
September 27, 2019
خیلی خیلی خیلی خوب بود حتما به دختر هایی که ماورا را دوست دارند پیشنهاد می کنم مخصوصا اگر آن دختر قصه ها عوض می شود را خوانده باشد و دوست داشته باشد
April 27, 2020
What a beautiful, fun and really profound story about friendship and learning to embrace what makes you different instead of trying to fit in! I listened to the audiobook for this and the narrator did a fantastic job as well. 4.5🌟
Profile Image for Christa.
850 reviews67 followers
January 16, 2019
A cute juvenile novel my 9 year old niece told me was the BEST.

There are five types of magic and strict rules on how to follow them. Nory can’t her her magic to work right, she would start as a kitten and the grow dragon wings. Or turn into an elephant-skunk combo. She fails the entrance to her dads magic school, and goes to live with her aunt and attend school for kids with wonky magic.

It’s got a lot of lessons on acceptance without being preachy and having a good sense of humor. It’s a good book for its target audience.
Displaying 1 - 30 of 805 reviews

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