Premise: After a graffiti incident at school, Clay is sent to a camp for struggling kids on an isolated volcanic island. When Clay meets the other campers and discovers ruins occupied by a ghost, he vows to get off the island.
Author: Pseudonymous Bosch
Length: 400 pages
Genre: Mystery / Fantasyish
Series or Stand Alone: Book 1 in a new series
Content appropriate for: Grades 5-8
Format: Digital ARC provided by Little Brown Books via Edelweiss
Publication Date: September 16, 2014
Three adjectives that describe this book: mysterious, strange, twisty
Bad Magic, is a wildly unique mystery with an intriguing solution. I especially enjoyed all the book-love - one setting is a library, one character is a book nerd, and there are frequent discussions of Shakespeare's The Tempest.
Pseudonymous Bosch is well-known for his Secret Series, in which he makes heavy use of authorial intrusions, similar to those used by Lemony Snicket in the Series of Unfortunate Events. I enjoyed the first few books in the Secret Series, but became annoyed by the over-the-top jokey tone by the end of book 2.
Bad Magic, however, represents a shift for the better for Bosch. He still uses intrusions to keep things fresh, but they are toned-down and refreshing when compared to The Secret Series. Those books were silly, this one was mysterious and effective.