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Unfamiliar Magic

3.92  ·  Rating details ·  183 Ratings  ·  35 Reviews
Desi is a witch. And she knows she could be a great witch—if only her mom would teach her any spells. Unfortunately, Desi’s mom is more concerned with keeping them safe and their abilities hidden.

When her mom leaves town under mysterious circumstances, it should be Desi’s perfect opportunity to explore magic on her own. But Desi has been left in the care of the most unusua
Hardcover, 357 pages
Published April 27th 2010 by Random House Books for Young Readers
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Jun 16, 2012 rated it really liked it
Alright, I thought this book was really funny. I didn't think that the main plot was that interesting really, but I always wanted to know what was happening with Cat.
Desi, teen witch, wants to learn more magic, but her mother is refusing to teach her much more than simple baby spells. When her mom runs off to deal with some unknown danger (that turns out to be Desi's semi-evil warlock dad, who is still miffed that Desi’s mother left him and went into hiding), Desi figures she can now start to experiment on her own. Cue wacky hijinks, at least until Desi's dad finds out where she is and attempts to win her over with a mix of actual fatherliness and crazed pow ...more
Jul 25, 2010 rated it liked it
Recommends it for: Middle school
There is a lot to like in the book the characters are appealing and unusual.
Valerian and Callida have a daughter Desdemona who will be very powerful. Callida flees with Desi at birth, she fears that Valerian will use Desi's power to his own ends.
Twelve years later we have this story.

Desi is confused and angry with her mother who abruptly leaves her with her familiar, a cat with the lovely name, Devalandnefariel. The cat is changed into a human (now called Cat) so she can be a more effective pr
Kat (Lost in Neverland)
You will die laughing when you read this book.
I promise.
You'll still be laughing even in your grave.

That's how hilarious this book is.

G. Ludlow
Jun 15, 2017 rated it liked it
I enjoyed the read. It's a different and original look into the world of witches and warlocks. The relationship between Desi's parents is well wrought, I thought.
Cat stole the show though. What a character. Human life from a cat's point of view is very entertaining.
The suggestion of the fourth kind of magic suggests that there is at least one more book coming and that this fourth magic branch will be explored more fully.

One hopes.
Mar 03, 2011 rated it it was amazing
Unfamiliar Magic Random House, 2010, 353 pp., $17.99
R.C. Alexander ISBN978-0-375-85854-3

Have you ever wished that magic were real? Well for Desdemona (Desi) it is real. Not just like the kind of magic tricks you see on T.V.. She’d be a very powerful witch if only her mother would teach her. Over the course of Desi’s life, her mother Callida, Desi and her familiar Devalandnefariel (nicknamed Devil, who’s form is a cat), have moved all over the world. Desi doesn’t even know why. Whenever Desi asks
There is a lot to like in the book the characters are appealing and unusual.
Valerian and Callida have a daughter Desdemona who will be very powerful. Callida flees with Desi at birth, she fears that Valerian will use Desi's power to his own ends.
Twelve years later we have this story.

Desi is confused and angry with her mother who abruptly leaves her with her familiar, a cat with the lovely name, Devalandnefariel. The cat is changed into a human (now called Cat) so she can be a more effective pro
Apr 19, 2016 rated it liked it
Shelves: 2016
Desi's mom has disappeared, her cat is now a teen girl who seems determined to embarrass her in front of the neighbor boy, and, oh yeah, she's a witch. Unfamiliar Magic is told from alternating third-person limited; sometimes the story focuses on Desi and sometimes it focuses on her cat, now a teen girl. The story is fun, but I found knowing more than the individual characters to be frustrating. Because Cat is a cat, she doesn't get human behavior and some of her actions are second-hand embarras ...more
Oct 30, 2015 rated it it was ok
Twelve-year-old Desi wants to learn magic from her mother Callida, who doen't want to teach it to her. So, Desi tries to teach herself using her mother's spell book.Then Callida turns the family Cat in to a teenager to babysit Desi.Weird behaviors occur and the plot gets confusing when Desi's real father comes along and the two parents fight witches and wizzards to try to protect Desi from a monkey who plans to kidnap her. I did not really like this book and I tried to stop reading it twice. I t ...more
Mallory Beckler
Sep 28, 2012 rated it really liked it
Shelves: fantasy
This review has been hidden because it contains spoilers. To view it, click here.
Jul 07, 2010 rated it it was amazing
Okay. First of all even though a girl is on the cover it doesn't mean a boy can't read it. I did. Second of all this book was a roflol kind of book. My mom kept having to shush me. I kept laughing and finally had to read it somewhere else. It is a realitvely short book I thought. I hope the author has made another book because this one was awesome! I haven't checked I know. I also know I haven't posted a book so I thought I would post some of my more recent books. So try this book out. If you're ...more
Nov 02, 2015 rated it liked it
In the book Desi is a teen witch who wants to know more about her magical culture, but her mother is very protective of her, and for good reason. Together they move from state to state to countret to countrey to house to house to evade the mysterious man trcking them and as they use more magic it leaves a kind of magical residue and makes them easily able to be tracked down.

This book was preety good overall. I really liked it and I thought it was super funny. Though I could have done without s
Feb 13, 2010 rated it it was ok
This is a first novel, and fairly uneven. What makes the book enjoyable and worth the read are the parts with Cat as a human (she's transformed from a witch's familiar into a human form to better protect the teenage daughter). The author does a great job taking typical cat behavior and showing what it would be like if a human did the same thing:

"Would you like some salad, Cat?"

"No, thank you. I do not wish to throw up now."
Apr 14, 2016 rated it really liked it
Shelves: funny-and-cute
I enjoy reading fantasy, so I picked u this book and read it. I found a lot of humor from this book. There are so many parts that are very funny! The plot is about a young teen witch living with her mom and her cat, a familiar. They have been hiding all of Desi's from her father. Her mom goes away on a secret trip and leaves the cat in charge to take care of Desi, but before she goes she turns the cat into a human! After this the funny parts start...
May 04, 2011 rated it it was ok
Shelves: ccbc-choices
A fairly predictable story with marginally interesting characters and a few interesting twists. Younger readers will probably enjoy the antics of Desi, a twelve-year-old witch in training, and Cat, formerly the familiar of Desi's witch mother, now turned into a teenage girl to look after Desi while her mother is mysteriously missing. I didn't really see much that was original here, though overall the book is moderately enjoyable.
Ashlyn Poppy
Jul 06, 2015 rated it really liked it
I really enjoyed the book. I loved how he was able write like a cat was REALLY trying to learn about human kind. I love Cat, and Desi, and all of them but it was unclear on what familiars do, and how the spirit world works, and the four paths. It really needs a second book because we don't know how the parents roles work out, what happens to the power of love and the drifting of the spirit world, what the forth path is, and what do demons do.
Jun 11, 2013 rated it liked it
This book is about a girl, named Desi, who is a witch. one day her mom leaves her and turns her pet cat into a teenage girl, who starts dating the boy next-door at the mall and makes him pay for everything (later, they find the mom's credit card). It turns out her mom is on the run from a powerful wizard (Desi's long lost father), who befriends Desi in an attempt to kidnap her. This book is fine.
May 12, 2011 rated it it was amazing
Shelves: children-s
This was a wonderful book. Desi (a witch in training) is learning spells (mostly from her mother's book of spells). When her mother leaves she turns the cat into a human to help take care of Desi. This is a fun book to read. I laughed a great deal between Desi's mistakes at magic and the cat trying to learn how to act like a human. Enjoyable!
Michelle Rebar
Dec 26, 2009 rated it it was amazing
Oh, I finished this a while ago but I forgot to come back and mark it read and review it. I promise I will as soon as I get a chance.

In short, this is an adorable and fun book that anyone who loves magic and cats absolutely MUST read! Seriously, I laughed until I cried in parts because of some of the things that Cat did. I'll give it a proper review soon, but don't miss out on this one!
Apr 26, 2013 rated it really liked it
Unfamiliar Magic is a good book about a teen witch named Desi and her cat named Devil. Her mom runs away to save her daughter from evil that is coming. Devil gets turned into a human and watches over Desi while her mom is gone.

I think that this book is a good read. I would definitely recommend this book to friends/family.
Mar 26, 2015 rated it liked it
The cat remands me of one of my cats, all black and love sushi. Be just like her if she becomes human.
I didn't understand what the problem with Desi's father. Why did they need to get away from him? Not everything was solve in the end.
However it is an enjoyable read and there can be a squal.
Sep 06, 2012 rated it really liked it
I was surprised by how good this book was. It was a different sort of fantasy/magic, not a Harry Potter wannabe, but it wasn't a thick dusty novel where you had to take forever to learn all about this new magical world.
Jan 31, 2012 rated it really liked it
I really liked this book and would recommend it to middle graders that enjoy a good magical coming-of-age (teenage, that is...) story. It was fun to see things from Cat's perspective. Also good for kids whose parents aren't together, because Desi has to face that. Really enjoyable read.
Dec 08, 2012 rated it it was amazing
Shelves: favorites
This is one of those book that went by to fast and you didn't want to end! It literally made me LMAO! this is not something you read in the library. Her cat becomes a human and tries to fit in. I really hope there's a sequel!
Feb 14, 2011 rated it really liked it
Shelves: ya-magical-tales
I've been reading reviews of this book since it came out. I finally managed to snag a copy from my local library. I enjoyed it very much, but I'll admit that I did skip past a bunch of pages which I felt were slowing down my enjoyment of the book.
Isabelle V
Oct 15, 2010 rated it really liked it
Unfamiliar magic is a fairly happy book, no deaths. I felt that it was a tad predictable. Its a good for people who like happy endings
Jan 31, 2017 rated it did not like it
Reading this was like pulling teeth....
Dec 27, 2009 marked it as dropped
Shelves: middle-grade
Aug 19, 2013 rated it liked it
Shelves: young-adult
It was okay but it has some parts in it that i don't think should be in a children's book.
Apr 14, 2011 rated it it was amazing
My 12 year old daughter read this book and loved it. I read it as well and absolutely loved it!! It is humorous and well-written.
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