What's the Name of That Book??? discussion

Charmed Life (Chrestomanci, #1)
This topic is about Charmed Life
SOLVED: Children's/YA > SOLVED. MG or YA Fiction - Boy and older sister away at magic(?) school, sister evil, writes secrets (spells?) behind the glass of the mirror [s]

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message 1: by Gabby (new)

Gabby | 2 comments I read this novel several times circa 2005. I don’t remember much about the storyline as a whole--- just a few details.

A boy and his older (teenage) sister were sent away to what I believe was a small school for those who exhibit magical ability. It was housed in a mansion or something of the sort--- maybe in the clouds, maybe not.

The boy was naturally left-handed, but was punished for it at his old (non-magical) school. With this in mind at the magic school, the boy would write right-handed when his instructor looked on, switched to his left hand when he turned away, and switched back to right once more when the instructor turned around again. When the instructor noticed, the boy explained that he thought he would be punished if he was caught writing left-handed. The instructor assured him that he should only write with whichever hand he felt comfortable writing with (his left), and that he would only be punished if he was caught switching back and forth and impeding his writing progress again.

The boy’s older sister was a snark throughout the entirety of the novel, but was revealed to have succumbed to the charm of dark magic towards the end of the book due to her thirst for power. She was seen through a supernatural portal, dressed as a queen and being carried upon the shoulders of strapping young men as she declared her plans for domination. Knowing her usual hiding places, the boy found the notes and spells she had scrawled behind the glass panel of her mirror in red lipstick (I think).

The storyline was not entirely linear, and occasionally would switch to another story entirely. One such instance starred a young boy (a different one) who became obsessed with mermaids. His mother was hosting a cocktail party while the shy boy hid in his room. Eventually he crept into the party unseen. He was later caught laying on the floor, peering up the skirt of each woman as he tried to determine whether any of them were hiding their mermaid tails.

If I remember correctly, I believe the boy (the original boy, not the mermaid one) used to live in a poor household (a rundown apartment) before he and his sister were taken away to the magic school, and learned violin from a kind-hearted neighbor.

I think there was something about a cat. Either the boy was catlike, or his specific form of magic was cat-based, or there WAS a cat--- I don’t quite remember.

message 2: by Lou (last edited Jul 04, 2015 11:54AM) (new) - rated it 5 stars

Lou Rocama | 392 comments This is Charmed Life, less the bit about the mermaid. That might be in The Lives of Christopher Chant (I regret I don't remember), which would make sense if you ended up with the omnibus edition The Chronicles of Chrestomanci, Vol. 1

Liralen | 687 comments Seconding Lou's assessment. Very fun series.

message 4: by Lou (new) - rated it 5 stars

Lou Rocama | 392 comments Checked, and the mermaid thing is in Christopher Chant.

message 5: by Gabby (new)

Gabby | 2 comments That's it! That's the one! Thank you!

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