Virginia's Reviews > The Spell Book of Listen Taylor

The Spell Book of Listen Taylor by Jaclyn Moriarty
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's review
Dec 29, 2008

really liked it
bookshelves: libraryfinds, ya-fiction
Read in December, 2008

I judge a book by its cover many a time, which is why I picked up this book. The instantly grabbing image of a woman in heels, looking like she's practically flying into an open, glowing window; the title (who can resist a title such as this one?!); and the predominate color of green all sucked me in immediately. Plus, I'd read other books by Jaclyn Moriarty ("The Year of Secret Assignments") in which she'd employed a writing method where the story was told in a series of handwritten notes between characters... entirely fun and captivating.

The book promises this on the back, which is coincidentally, tied into the story as the line on the back of the "spell book":

This book will make you fly, will make you strong, will make you glad. What's more, this book will mend your broken heart.


The writing in this story is beautifully poetic and very witty, and never feels contrived to me. I loved this part of the book, when Listen Taylor, the "main" character in the story, is contemplating her name,

"The name Listen worked better with Taylor. The Taylor part relaxed the Listen, or gave it an approving tick. 'What's your name?' 'Listen Taylor.' 'Oh, okay, hi.'

'What's your name?' 'Listen Zing.' The stranger, already skating on Listen, would whack her head hard against Zing. 'It's what?!"

I was already sucked into the book, and couldn't put down the delightful writing style in this story.

However, as the book unfolded, I became more and more confused over the labeling of this as a "young adult fiction" novel. Please read this review, linked below (it's fairly short!) in describing the actual story and the content of the characters' plot lines. I discovered that this is a re-worked version of an adult novel, and I truly think that they should've left the adult fiction label attached. It's pretty heavy for a YA fiction book (not that I don't think young adults can't handle heavy, but you'll see what I mean if you read the linked review.)
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