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Spell Sweeper

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Most students at Dragonsong Academy spend their days practicing spells and wielding wands, but after flunking her sixth-grade standardized tests, Cara Moone is on the fast track to becoming a MOP (a.k.a. Magical Occurrence Purger). See, when a real wizard casts a spell, it leaves behind a residue called spell dust—which can be dangerous if not disposed of properly. It’s a MOP’s job to clean up the mess.

And no one makes more of a mess than Dragonsong Academy’s star student, Harlee. Widely believed to be the Chosen One who’s destined to save the magical world, she makes magic look easy. So of course she’s Cara’s sworn nemesis. Or she would be, if she even knew Cara existed.

But then Harlee’s spells begin to leave behind something far worse than spell dust: rifts in the fabric of magic itself. Soon Cara begins to suspect that the so-called “Chosen One” isn’t going to save the world. She’s going to destroy it.

It will take more than magic to clean up a mess this big. Fortunately, messes are kind of Cara’s thing.

368 pages, Hardcover

First published November 30, 2021

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About the author

Lee Edward Födi

19 books105 followers
Lee Edward Födi is a children's author, illustrator, and educator—or, as he likes to think of himself, a daydreaming specialist.

He is the author of several books for children including Spell Sweeper, The Secret of Zoone, The Guardians of Zoone (HarperCollins Children's Books), and the The Chronicles of Kendra Kandlestar (Simply Read Books).

He has also illustrated several picture books for other authors, including The Chocolatier's Apprentice (a national bestseller) and I'll Follow the Moon.

He is a co-founder of the Creative Writing for Children Society (CWC), a not-for-profit program that helps kids write their own books. He has the joy of leading workshops for kids in Canada, the US, Korea, China, Thailand, and other places here and there.

He enjoys mythology, history, and the mysteries of the universe. During his free time, he is a traveller, adventurer, and builder of dragon eggs. He lives in Vancouver with his wife, Marcie, and his son, Hiro.

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Profile Image for Lee Födi.
Author 19 books105 followers
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May 7, 2021
Dear reader,

I obviously can’t provide an objective review of my own book—but I can tell you a little about why I wrote it.

First of all, you might wonder what I was thinking, writing a book about wizard school! The Harry Potter books are so popular and authoritative that anything in this genre is merely standing in their shadow. (Hey, that’s the power of J.K. Rowling's characters, setting, and world-building.)

Instead of trying to ignore this behemoth of a series, I tried to play upon it, giving my main character Cara a slightly satirical tone as she confronts certain fantasy tropes and, depending on her mood, is either impressed by them being fulfilled or miffed that they have been contradicted.

In writing Spell Sweeper, I wasn’t thinking only of Harry Potter, but of the long line of fantasy books, movies, and TV shows that populate this genre (though at the same time understanding that for many of my readers, their own references may go no further than Rowling’s books). I was thinking about Jane Yolen’s Wizard’s Hall, T.H. White’s The Once and Future King, The Chronicles of Narnia, The Worst Witch, Terry Pratchett’s Discworld books, Star Wars, Buffy the Vampire Slayer, Firefly . . . the list goes on. There’s always a mentor, a magical talisman used to finish the quest, a prophecy of a chosen one.

(I’m particularly fascinated by the concept on the archetypal “chosen” character. I invite you to google “The Chosen,” which is an excellent two-part series from CBC’s IDEAS podcast.)

Well, as for my exact inspirations for Spell Sweeper, here is some of what I included in the author’s note at the back of the book . . .

In 2004, I met a like-minded dreamer named Joon-hyoung Park who was seeking a writing program for his daughters to take. He couldn’t find the right type of workshop, so he decided to invent one—and he wanted my help. The next thing you know, Joon and I had started a creative writing program in Vancouver for immigrant kids from Asia (our own school of magic!).

Our workshops blossomed and bloomed, and now we host many programs for kids from all walks of life. We write stories, draw pictures, brew potions, build dragon eggs—you name it! My wife and I have enjoyed an additional privilege—the opportunity to visit Asia to teach creative writing at schools, libraries, and education centers (I’ve been to Korea over twenty times!). Reading the stories by these creative kids—and about their dreams, desires, and fears—has definitely played a role in the creation of Dragonsong Academy.

Something else happened during my many trips to Asia. I began seeing brooms. Everywhere. There was always one leaning against a park bench or in the corner of a temple, as if impatiently waiting for its owner to return. I started photographing these brooms because—well, that’s what I do. Something catches my interest, I take a photo, make a sketch or note in my brainstorming journal, just in case I need it down the road. I began imagining that these brooms contained hidden and unusual magic—my second strand of inspiration.

Coming back from a trip to Vietnam and Cambodia, I remembered something else: My grandfather used to make his own brooms! He grew the broomcorn, harvested it, and bound them to broomsticks. I never saw my grandfather build a broom (I really wish I had), but I realized I had one of his creations in the dusty corner of my closet. I had never dared to use the broom, but I dug it out as inspiration. Then, on a subsequent visit to my parents, I scavenged their house to find they had their own collection of my grandfather’s handmade brooms. They all have the same humble construction—and, if you ask me, their own type of magic. Clearly, these brooms have been lingering in my subconscious all these years, waiting for me to tell their story.

The final bit of inspiration for this book came from an exchange that I’ve had many times with students. It happens almost exactly the same each time; I’m wrapping up a class or a school visit and a student approaches me and asks, “Are you famous?” I always answer the same: “I think the answer is in your question!” They inevitably press me on the matter: “But don’t you want to be famous?”

“No!” I cry with the passionate zeal of an introvert. “I want to be a writer.”

I have always asked my students to focus on craft over reward—but who can blame them for their yearnings? Every writer, artist, actor I know (including me!) has craved accolades and recognition, has experienced those “why not me?” or “when is it my turn?” moments. My time as a teacher and speaker has prompted me to ponder our personal definitions of failure and success—and from these musings came the character of Caradine Moone. It is my hope that her journey (even though it involves not flying on a broom) rings true for readers.
Profile Image for Shannara.
436 reviews74 followers
December 9, 2021
I absolutely adored this from start to finish. Starting with the snarky, but lovable main character, Cara Moone, to the spunky sweet magic fox, Zuki, I thoroughly enjoyed just about all the characters. Even the bad guys and gals added an interesting spark to the story,

Cara is your basic nobody, unable to really do a whole lot of magic and definitely not the chosen one. By the way, any and all references to our beloved HP are totally intentional and humorous. Another piece of added fun to this book. Although our main character is not the chosen one, she makes for such a great protagonist who almost always does the right thing! You’ll have to read the book to get elaboration on that!!

I laughed quite a bit and the story was so interesting that I was into it the whole time! That’s not always the case for a middle grade read, so I feel like that’s saying a lot. This was magical in every way and I wholly recommend this to those who enjoy a good wizardly middle grade read.

Thanks so very much to NetGalley, Lee Edward Födi, and Harper Collins for the opportunity, nay, the pleasure of reading this for my honest and unbiased opinion!!!
November 27, 2021
Wowza! This was absolutely phenomenal! It makes me want to read the other books I have by this author ASAP. This was different & unique in so many ways, at least to me. What a genius idea to have the witch/wizarding world to actually use a broom to SWEEP, & find the whole idea of RIDING one absurd! Lol I have to admit, the things pointed out about how riding them would NOT be fun, made a LOT of sense! Then, this was a different take on the usual “chosen one” approach. The whole time I thought there would be a twist & 1 thing would be revealed-but nope! But that’s the TYPICAL thing that would usually happen. So I was very impressed the author took his own path, & appreciated that.

Cara is my kind of MC. Characters like her remind me a little of myself at that age. It’s so hard to say everything amazing about this book, because there are so many. From the magic system itself. To the school & the wizards & that whole backstory. To what a sweeper means & everything that goes along with that. The Bliss humans & what that means. Cara, & her family-including a sister who used to be her biggest protector, but has turned into a mean stranger. Then you have wizard whistles, talismans, the occuli, & magical creatures..I don’t want to say more so you can discover everything yourself. Then the characters are soooooo good! From Harlee-who you can’t quite decide whether she’s good or bad, the chosen one or not..To Gusto who is just the sweetest. For some reason, Master Quibble has a special place in my heart-he really grew on me, & I really enjoyed his character. I absolutely loved Nova. So cute! And all the meaning behind choices made with her, & the outcome. Zuki has my heart though. I love that little guy so much.

The twists at the end that come out!? Floored, & never saw coming! The villain?! Soooo well done! I was so engrossed, & couldn’t put it down, especially when things really started to unfold & the twists started happening. Every part of this was so fascinating & engrossing really. So many great messages as well. Everyone is dealing with something. Even the ones who look like they have it all, are perfect, or you think they couldn’t possibly have any reason to complain. Everyone has something. Also, believing in yourself, & loving who you are for who are. Accepting yourself. We are each special in our own way. We are all significant. We all matter. Chosen “one” is so silly when you think about it, because none of the chosen ones could “save the world” without their friends by their side. Everyone can be a chosen one.

This book would be perfect for any kid who ever read the typical chosen one stories, but couldn’t ever see themselves as those characters I think(don’t get me wrong, I love all those stories too lol). There’s also chapters between the main actual chapters, that Cara kind of talks to you, gives info. Whether it’s facts about school, sweeping, her sister, or even memories she shares. I really loved that. I don’t don’t if this is a series, but I hope so. There are a couple things I wonder how they end up turning out. This comes out this coming Tuesday November 30th! HIGHLY recommend! Absolutely STUNNING cover by Maike Plenzke too!💜
Profile Image for Andy.
2,354 reviews176 followers
April 23, 2022
Thank you to Harper Collins & HarperKids for sending me a finished copy in exchange for an honest review and promotion. All opinions are my own.

This was such a fun middle grade fantasy. I'd love to see this become a series!

Spell Sweeper is a middle grade urban fantasy that follows middle schooler Cara Dean Moone. Cara has recently flunked her wizarding exams and been put in the M.O.P. (Magical Occurrence Purger) program and is left to clean up other wizards' spell dust. If left unattended spell dust can turn dangerous. There's no one else at Dragonsong Academy who makes more of a mess than star student, Harlee Wu. In fact, Harlee is the school's "Chosen One" and Cara's nemesis, well she would be if Harlee acknowledged Cara's existence. But when rifts in the fabric of magic start occurring, Cara suspects something worse at play. Could it be that the Chosen One won't save the world, but destroy it?

This was such an easy book to get lost in. I loved exploring Cara's magic. While she doesn't think so highly of her MOP abilities, it's clear to the reader that Cara is as much a wizard as any other student at Dragonsong Academy. Throughout the book Cara struggles with feelings of inadequacy and constantly putting herself down as less than a regular wizard. As she continues on her adventures, learns more about cleaning up magic and helping to heal the rifts, Cara finds her own unique kind of magic.

I loved seeing all the various kinds of classes Cara takes. Being a MOP, her class schedule is a bit different from the average student. She also ends up on a few field trips during the book, I loved this mix of classroom and field work. It was a ton of fun and I enjoyed seeing Cara's spontaneous problem solving skills.

The ending definitely surprised me! I wasn't expecting the villain at all and the other reveals were a surprise as well. Overall, I really enjoyed this one and I hope it becomes a series one day, I'd love to see more of Cara's adventures!

Rep: White female MC, Asian-American female side character, Black female side characters, South Asian side character.

CWs: Bullying. Moderate: Past mentions of a car accident and death of parent, toxic relationship (sisters), grief.
Profile Image for Ben Gartner.
Author 4 books356 followers
June 14, 2021
My 10yo and I loved reading Spell Sweeper together. This was a great read-aloud book because, in addition to the exciting twists and turns, there were many laugh-out-loud moments that made us pause and giggle with each other. That's the best!

The story was quirky and hilarious, like the grandma's funny overuse of "hashtag" trying to be cool. My son definitely wants a three-tailed fox now. Besides the fun bits, this story had real meat and was a well-crafted narrative with strong characters and realistic, subtle development arcs.

I especially enjoy a good twist, and this book had several! I won't include spoilers, but I will say that the reveal about the occuli was surprising. Did not see that coming, nor did we anticipate the twist about the leader of the Cipher.

We also enjoyed the clever details sprinkled throughout, such as the fun chapter titles ("That Sinking Feeling You Get When You're--Well, Sinking"). And sheesh, cliffhangers galore. It was like a boxer getting pummeled in the ring! Another reason it was a great read-aloud. "One more!" was a constant refrain.

On a personal note, I very much appreciated the theme that two contradictory things can be simultaneously true, that we can be more than one thing and that’s okay. If any kid reading this book takes that to heart, they'll be one up on me at that age...

I also really loved the Author's Note, specifically about his grandfather’s handmade brooms. Beautiful.

My thanks to the author for an advance reader copy.
Profile Image for Tanya Kyi.
Author 93 books67 followers
February 12, 2022
Spell Sweeper playfully sweeps through a dozen fantasy tropes on its way to becoming something completely unique. And magical misfit Cara is obstinate and defiant in the most charming way possible — I was sorry to part with her when the story ended.
Profile Image for Kathie.
Author 2 books61 followers
May 30, 2021
Thank you to Edelweiss+ and the publisher for an eARC of this book.

I LOVED the author's Zoone series, so I was worried about how I might feel about a new stand-alone book by him. I'm happy to report that Spell Sweeper is a fantastic read! The author calls it "wizard school meets Ghostbusters," which I think is an excellent way to describe it. Caradine (Cara) Moon attends Dragonsong Academy but was recently demoted to MOP (Magical Occurrence Program). It's her job to clean up after "real" wizards and sweep away the dust that's left behind when they cast a spell. But a black, oozing, destructive goo is wreaking havoc on the wizarding world, and Cara is suspicious that star student Harlee Wu is behind it. When the MOP team is sent on a mission with Harlee to uncover who is behind the threat to the magical Field, Cara realizes there's more to Harlee than meets the eye, and there are secrets that also connect her to the rogue magic.

One of the things I most love about the author's writing is his world-building. I can almost picture Dragonsong Academy and its grounds, Seattle's secret neighbourhood, the ship where…(oops, can't say any more about that!) There's a cast of unique supporting characters, such as Zuki, a three-tailed magic fox familiar belonging to Cara's instructor, Master Quibble, and a rapidly growing creature named Nova. There is so much humour in the story, including the chapter headings, but I also really like that alliances are tested, and Cara is never really sure who she can trust. She also develops confidence in herself and her ability to use her limited magic in her own way.

I would definitely recommend this story for fantasy lovers in Gr. 5-7, especially those who have enjoyed the author's earlier books.
Profile Image for Stephanie.
183 reviews13 followers
January 21, 2021
I am so excited to share this book with all of you! Cara Moone and her voice are a knockout: funny, relatable, conversational, and with a massive—and massively endearing—chip on her shoulder. It’s a delightfully dysfunctional adventure that feels fresh, fun, and absolutely fantastic.
Profile Image for Sam Subity.
Author 2 books43 followers
June 14, 2021
This was a super fun read that plays with and debunks all the tropes of wizarding worlds and "chosen ones" in clever and hilarious ways. I was immediately drawn to the main character, Cara, whose failures in wizarding school have landed her in janitorial duty cleaning up after other wizards' messes. A great underdog story that will keep you cheering through all of Cara's misadventures to the end!
Profile Image for Mahtab Narsimhan.
Author 25 books60 followers
March 18, 2022
Cara Moone is a MOP (Magical Occurrence Purger) at the Dragonsong Academy- a school for witches and wizards located on an island, and secretly covets the popularity of her nemesis, Harlee Wu, aka the Chosen One. When the Field of Magic, which all real wizards use for spell casting, starts to fester and ooze toxic slime, Cara is convinced it has something to do with Harlee who happens to be around every time things go badly wrong. Cara, an independent thinker and a bit of a rebel, is in trouble not only at school, but also faces a hard time at home. Her sister Su, a teen with a creepy boyfriend, is no longer the loving and protective sibling she used to be when their father passed away. When precious artifacts from the school go missing and the field of magic is at its weakest, Harlee Wu, Cara, and a motley crew set out on a quest to put it right. Cara soon discovers that everything was not as it seemed and in a classic reversal, she has to set aside her prejudices and assumptions and do what is right. 
Spell Sweeper is a magical fantasy which hooks you from the very first page. Cara's voice is sassy and fun, as is her personality. A rich world brimming with potions, spells, and fantastical creatures (an adorable squix and a magic fox with three tails!) this story will appeal to fans of Harry Potter.
Fodi keeps the story moving at a fast pace and throws in enough plot twists and curveballs to delight the most seasoned of readers. The denouement came as a total yet inevitable surprise. A second read was just as enjoyable, if not more so, than the first. Highly recommended!
Profile Image for Payal Doshi.
Author 2 books67 followers
February 8, 2022
SPELL SWEEPER gave me all the magical and fantasy vibes I was looking for! I absolutely LOVED this book! I loved the main character Cara Moone whose voice in the book is hilarious to read! She is snarky and sweet, hilarious with her dry sense of humor, and also so relatable as she navigates her feelings and emotions of being a wizard with very few magical abilities. She has to grapple with being relegated to a sweeper of magical spell dust, the lowest role for those with magical abilities. Adding to that is the fact that she has to hide her magical abilities from her family while trying to win back the affections of her big sister who seems to be drifting further and further away from her. This book has so much fun, suspense, heart, fantastic characters and magical creatures (a magical fox with three tails and Nova, a baby squix!), an arch-nemesis, an underground dark magic movement, a magical school - oh, I could go on, there's so much to love about this book! I highly recommend this book for middle schoolers and anyone who loves a fantastic fantasy adventure!
Profile Image for Kate.
Author 2 books356 followers
May 19, 2021
Spell Sweeper is a fabulous, non-stop thrill ride from beginning to end! Lee Edward Fodi has created a world with wonderfully cheeky references to other stories about magical schools (main character Caradine 'Cara' Moone is disappointed that the paintings don't move), but a world that is wholly its own. Non-magic folk are 'Blisses' (because, you know, ignorance is...), those who clean up magical messes are known as MOPs (Magical Occurrence Purgers) and brooms are used not for flight but for spell sweeping (broom travel is terribly impractical). Clever chapter titles abound, there are cliffhanger endings aplenty, and lots of laugh-out-loud moments (like an utterly hilarious grandmother who talks in hashtags). Young readers will absolutely fall in love with this magical adventure! Thank you to the author, Harper Children's, and Edelweiss for the eARC.
Profile Image for Chrystopher’s Archive.
529 reviews32 followers
December 12, 2021
A solid Middle Grade adventure. I enjoyed the interplay of upside down tropes of magical schools and hidden societies.

The protagonist has a clear, mostly enjoyable voice, but her obsessive behavior can be irritating at best and worrying at worst. The ending was satisfying but felt like it came too late. So much time is spent for the main character to realize there are other ways to view the world than hers.

I did appreciate that in the end, The Chosen One was going to save the world through civic engagement rather than physical (or even magical) strength.

A good fit for young fans of The Owl House and, obviously, Harry Potter
Profile Image for Aly.
2,467 reviews
June 1, 2021
3.5 stars

This was a cute book with a fun twist on wizard lore and a message that anyone can make a difference. We follow Cara Moone, a wizard who's been put in the M.O.P. program, wizards who clean up magic dust after big spells are cast. She's discouraged that she doesn't have more power and isn't important like the great Harlee. When spells start going awry and darkness is on the horizon, Cara starts to suspect that Harlee may be up to no good.

I really liked that Cara wasn't a 'chosen one' and was support to other wizards. It was refreshing to see an average girl realize that she's capable of great things and learn to believe in herself. Occasionally Cara was a bit spiteful and did the wrong thing, but she's young and learning. I liked her friends and the way they came together to stop the evil going on.

The adults in the story were the most frustrating, not listening to Cara and unwilling to look closer into what was happening. I also got a bit lost a couple times, not quite understanding the wizard world or the evil happening. Overall, I thought this was a fun story, fast paced, and had cute characters.

I voluntarily read and reviewed this book. Thank you to Harper Audio and NetGalley for the copy.
Profile Image for rylanne burdette.
400 reviews47 followers
September 26, 2021
Spell Sweeper was a magical and adventurous middle-grade story that follows Cara Moone, a struggling wizard who realizes just how strong she really is. Full of entertaining characters and an exciting plot, I thought this was a cute book! I love the middle-grade genre, so Spell Sweeper was fun to listen to.

Thank you to NetGalley and Harper Audio for the audio ARC of Spell Sweeper by Lee Edward Födi!
Profile Image for Rebecca.
2,938 reviews73 followers
May 11, 2021
Caradine Moone was thrilled when she was accepted to the secret wizard school on Dragonsong Island, but her Harry Potter dreams seemed to crash and burn pretty quickly when she flunked a sixth grade standardized test and wound up a Spell Sweeper. As far as Cara's concerned, that's a magic custodian, and definitely not what she wants to be, certainly light years away from the world inhabited by so-called Chosen One Harlee Wu, the school's wunderkind. Will Cara's bitterness keep her from seeing her real value?

Well, if they did, this wouldn't be nearly as good a book as it is, but by the same token, Cara realizing her worth too soon would also tank it. Fodi maintains a beautiful balance between Cara's (and Harlee's) rebellion against the system and the unfolding of the multiple character truths unveiled throughout the text, and the resulting story is one that both lets readers know that being The One may not be everyone's thing, but also that sometimes being the Chosen One is a matter of choosing yourself.

There are some heavy themes in here, such as feelings of betrayal, sibling rivalry, death, and alcoholism stemming from PTSD, but Fodi largely handles them well. The issues between Cara and her sister Su are particularly well done, because they shape so much of who Cara is versus how others perceive her (and how she sees herself). Other characters, such as Yuna and Gusto, could definitely have used a bit more development, mostly just feeling there rather than like active participants in the story.

But you know what? I'd still take this over Harry Potter any day. It's a much more unique take on the Chosen One trope, a story that shows that coming-of-age isn't a one-adventure deal, and that before anyone else can really choose you...you really do have to choose yourself.
Author 1 book44 followers
May 27, 2021
Being a part of the coveted wizarding world is a dream come true for everyone except for seventh grader Caradine Moone. Instead of learning to wield magic and adopt her own animal companion, Cara’s level of magical skill places her in the ranks of the spell sweepers, where she learns how to clean up the messes left behind by other wizards. And because she comes from a Bliss—or non magical—family, Cara has to keep the true nature of her time at Dragonsong Academy a secret. Though initially struggling to fit in everywhere, when mysterious events begin to take place at Dragonsong, Cara finds herself more deeply involved than she could have ever predicted while on a journey to discover where she truly belongs.

Reflections of the wizarding world popularized by the Harry Potter series are pervasive in this story that is at once a tale of self discovery and a commentary about what human traits are most valuable. Despite Cara feeling like her role as a spell sweeper is a demotion, the story frequently proves that this is not the case; though she does not follow the traditional wizarding path, Cara’s role is no less important.

The world-building in this book is done unconventionally, through the use of intermediary chapters that go into more detail about relevant aspects of Cara’s story. Whether speaking about the wizarding world specifically or Cara’s life outside of that, these brief interjections give readers a deeper understanding of Cara’s reality while allowing the plot to continue separately.

Colloquial phrases and social media references form the backbone of this narrative, connecting readers to a magical world that is not so different from their own. From a hashtag-spouting grandma to mentions of Instagram and TikTok, this story is placed squarely in the present day. Juxtaposed against familiar dialogue are vivid and complex descriptions that expand a reader’s vocabulary while using just the right combination of words to appropriately depict each moment.

Magic is the tether connecting this story of family, friendship, and finding one’s place in the world. Though leading to a satisfying conclusion, readers are left with many unanswered questions that make a sequel likely. This is a delightfully constructed magical adventure for middle grade readers who do not always recognize their true worth.
Profile Image for Ryan.
4,371 reviews22 followers
May 27, 2022
Spell sweeper is the perfect amalgamation of Harry Potter and Worst Witch. There’s the magic school, the secret magic the normal society can’t know about. There’s even the non-magical society that the magical call Bliss: as in ignorance is bliss! Cara is a young witch who happens to come from a bliss family and she can’t let anybody know that she’s magical. However at magic school she learns that she may be magical but just barely. Her magic is good enough to be the janitor. In this magical world all magic has repercussions and if these are not cleaned up it can cause disasters. So if you don’t have someone trained as a spell sweeper the Bliss are going to learn about magic one way or another. We follow Cara as she comes to term with being a Magical Occurrence Purger (aka MOP) and learns that her sister knows more than she ever let on. This book is both a great thriller, a magic story, and a family story. It gives you everything readers of Harry Potter want without letting a person who doesn’t believe in all people profit from her fandom. Spell Sweeper was so magical that I want more books in this land and I think movies and TV shows would be absolutely great. It seems like a series that could do well on Disney+ if they gave it a chance. I was so watch it and champion it. This is a magic people can believe in and this is the magic people should believe in.
Profile Image for Maureen Ulrich.
Author 9 books24 followers
October 28, 2022
Spell Sweeper is an excellent MG novel— full of humour, suspense, action, and magic. What I love most is Cara herself. She lacks confidence, blames others (in particular the “Chosen One” Harley Wu) for her problems, and struggles to communicate with her peers and her family. Her life is far from perfect. There is so much in Spell Sweeper for young readers to relate to that has nothing to do with magic. And that, for me, is the true charm of this book. Magic is messy, but so is life. Cara has to dig deep and face her own mistakes and misconceptions in order to move forward—oh, and save the world.
Profile Image for Kristina Bliss.
110 reviews56 followers
May 6, 2022
Thank you to Netgalley and the publisher for granting me an advanced reader's copy of the audiobook.

Magic is messy, someone has to clean it up. This cute story features Cara Moone, a girl chosen to go to a secret wizard school. She is considered a "Bliss," which means she comes from a non-wizard family. Since she isn't from a magical family she isn't able to perform real spells, just clean up the magic dust left behind from other wizards.

There is of course a protagonist that everyone else just loves, Harlee. Harlee can do no wrong, and is the chosen one to save the magical world, according to prophecy. Cara and Harlee do not get along.

When trouble strikes, and magic must be saved, Cara and Marlee must team up despite their differences.

This tale also has some good morals: "don't judge others based off of rumors", as well as, "those you love can also hurt you."

Spell Sweeper is super cute. The cover is cute, the characters are cute, and the storyline just grabs you. I love that the main character has a non-human sidekick. Multiple tails for the win.
Profile Image for Kathy.
526 reviews11 followers
November 26, 2021
Very fun and quite quirky. You’ll love the main character, Cara. We’ve all been in her place in our lives but our janitor work wasn’t cleaning up magic messes:) I could liken this to Harry Potter or Elizbeth Rain’s Rule Academy 9 series, but it is its own book. Its own feeling and its own theme. It’s also not all fun and games. There are some deep subjects touched on in the plot and all are handled well by the author.


A must read for a middle grade reader or a YA reader or...an old reader like me.
Profile Image for Vane Wayne.
109 reviews5 followers
December 29, 2021
First of all I would want to thank netgalley for providing me with an advance reader copy in an exchange for my honest opinion.

I enjoyed reading this book but from the very beginning I could see a lot of similarities with Harry Potter. There is nothing bad with Harry Potter similarities or references for I enjoy Harry Potter. I also want to say that even though it had those similarities it was also a unique story with unique characters that really pop out in the book.

Our main character is Cara Moone who is a spell sweeper at Dragonsong Academy. She’s always wanted to be more of a wizard. Harlee Wu is popular she is what you would call “The Chosen One” and of course Cara Moone doesn’t like Harlee. Then we have Zuki the magical fox that has three tails; super cute and cool.

This book reminds me of Harry Potter in many ways! I feel like when the book has “the chosen one” trope they tend to be just okie for me but also very fun to read.

This is a middle grade fantasy that I would recommend for anyone 10 years and older. It is fun, magical, and full of adventure!
July 11, 2021
This fun and sassy tween book is perfect for fans of any magical school series.
Cara was not born into the wizarding world, but was taken out of the "Bliss" world (non-magical) when she showed that she has magical abilities. Unfortunately, her magical abilities aren't sufficient and she ends up as a M.O.P. who cleans up after the other wizards' spells. Now her life in wizard school is just like it was in Bliss school - bullies, detention, and teachers who don't understand.
Födi manages to write a relatable female wizard whose sarcasm will make readers laugh. One of my favorite parts of the book were the little asides that poked fun at other magical school series! At the same time, some of the wizarding slang Cara used seemed overused.
I loved the magical creatures throughout the story. Födi describes them in such a way that I could visualize these animals without any prior knowledge of what they look like. Actually not true - Ninetails and Zuki are definitely related so I just thought of a less regal Pokemon for Zuki (don't tell him I said that though!).
Cara brings a totally new perspective to the wizarding world and I hope her story will give tween readers the confidence to question why things are how they always have been. I haven't been able to determine if this is the first book in a series but I really hope it is! #SpellSweeper #NetGalley
Profile Image for Brigia.
73 reviews8 followers
May 1, 2022
This is a totally cute, Harry-Potter-style but also completely unique young adult paranormal novel. I loved this imaginative magical world. The MC here is definitely not the Chosen One, but has her own abilites. They might not be the most prestigious, but they will get her through all the adventures in the story. And in the end she might learn to value herself, no matter what others might think.

I really, really hope this will become a series.
Profile Image for Amy Ayan.
56 reviews2 followers
December 1, 2021
Thank you, Lee Fodi, Netgalley, and HarperCollins Children's for the advanced copy of this book.
What a wonderful addition to the middle-grade fantasy books. I loved the main character Cara and her take on the magic system. She is so relatable and not the usual chosen one type of MC. I
I especially loved the unexpected twists and turns and also the funny moments this book offers. The writing is clever and drew me in right from the first page.
I highly recommend this book to all fantasy lovers. Can’t wait to read more by the author.
Profile Image for Stephanie.
241 reviews
September 16, 2022
A middle grade book. Delightful world building, obviously tons of deliberate references to existing magic school tropes, complete with snarky mockery. I particularly enjoyed the trip to Whistler!

Didn’t love the ending because it didn’t tie off the relationship between sisters in a satisfying way for me. If a sequel were planned this would bother me less. Guess we will find out if the author decides to revisit this world later!
Profile Image for Aria.
128 reviews1 follower
December 24, 2021
Spell Sweeper is a fun and unique middle grade fantasy, and I loved every page. One thing that I love about a lot of middle grade is that it tends to be more fast paced, which Spell Sweeper definitely was. I flew through the book, reading it in just a couple of days, and every page was engaging!

All of the characters are well thought out and very well developed. Cara Moone, the main character, is a student at Dragonsong Academy, a school for wizards, which is pretty amazing for her, especially since she comes from a family of Blisses (nonmagical people, since they’re pretty ignorant about all the magic stuff, and, well, ignorance is bliss). Or at least it would be, if Cara was training to be a real wizard. Instead, she’s learning all about how to be a MOP; a Magical Occurrence Purger. This means that she has to clean up the messes of the wizards, who leave behind magic spell dust every time they cast a spell. This spell dust can cause a lot of problems and create chaos in the non-magical world, so it’s very important for MOPs like Cara to do their jobs well. Cara just wishes that she could be doing spells and all that fun magic instead.

Cara is a really interesting protagonist, and I really loved reading about her story. She wasn’t the only great character; there were many, from Zuki, the shapeshifting fox, to Su, Cara’s older sister who had a fascinating character arc throughout the book.

One character who I want to talk a little about in this review is Harlee Wu. Harlee Wu is also a student at Dragonsong academy, a couple years above Cara. Harlee is a wizard prodigy, and everyone at the school has decided that she is their Chosen One. A very vague prophecy has decreed that there will someday be a very powerful wizard that will save them all, and the students of Dragonsong academy are pretty much all in agreement that Harlee’s their girl. Cara, however, is more than a little skeptical of those claims. When Cara begins to notice rifts in the fabric of magic that are causing harm to the magical rift itself, she is quick to point all her suspicions to Harlee. I thought it was very interesting to see how Cara’s opinions of Harlee shift throughout the course of the book, and also how Cara treats a student who is the so-called Chosen One.

There are lots of books where the main character is the chosen one, so it was interesting to read about someone who is watching the chosen one from more of a distance, and how it feels when the chosen one gets all the attention and glory. It was a very unique take on the chosen one trope, and I really enjoyed reading it.

The pacing of Spell Sweeper was also done really well. There was just enough time in the book that was less action packed to really get to know all of the characters, and that was perfectly balanced with a really exciting and fast moving plot.

The worldbuilding was also fantastic. It didn’t take long to really understand the world of Spell Sweeper, and how everything work. From the history of the world of the wizards, to how Dragonsong academy works, and it’s past, and how the magic and non magic worlds intertwine, everything was so easy to understand while always feeling very immersive. None of those are easy to do in a book, and I was overall just so impressed by the worldbuilding.

Spell Sweeper is exciting, fast-paced, and overall fun. I recommend it to anyone who loves middle grade fantasy, or is looking for a good read to pull them out of a reading slump!
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