Tuesday, January 13, 2009

Discovering Pig Magic by Julie Crabtree

Mattie, Ariel, and Nicki are fast friends facing the pitfalls of life at thirteen. Mattie's kitschy pig collection and agoraphobic mother might completely derail her social life. Ariel's attempts to follow in Rachael Ray's culinary footsteps have landed her in hot water. And Nicki is carrying a secret that threatens to cut her off from her best friends.
After discovering a mysterious book of spells and performing a ritual, the girls leave their troubles far behind. Or so they think. Several disasters later, Mattie and her friends fear that their ritual is working against them. Can they break the spell before their problems spiral out of control?
(Summary from back of book)

I never really read any MG books. I don't think I ever read very many even when I was a "Middle Grader". They just always seemed sort of simplistic and below me. Not to sound hoity-toity or anything, but I do think there is some validity in that assumption. MG books ARE simple. The authors don't normally risk throwing in complex plot developments or themes for fear that they might lose their hold on their audience. Preteens have notoriously short attention spans so reading a book tailored to their needs when you yourself don't have those needs is rather trying. I'm used to reading really complex books. Or at least the books that are my favorites and which really capture my attention are detailed and thoughtful. 

There was something about the simplicity in this book that I liked, though. The plot was rather stereotypical and I was able to predict all the turns the book took, but I sort of liked it. It was weirdly comforting. Like an old friend that you've shared all your secrets with; not to sound cliched or cheesy. This book took me back to my middle school and preteen days, with their friendship dramas and awkward adolescent moments. It was like one big ol' flashback for me.
That's not to say that this book was perfect. It wasn't. The characters were very stereotypical and some of the moments that were meant to be climactic weren't. The characters were what really brought the story down for me. The three main girls had the most overused family issues and run of the mill appearances. I wish there had been some more thought and energy put into the character creation and development. I also wish that Ms. Crabtree had tried to make the climaxes for climax-like. I read what I think was meant to be the main turning point of the book and thought to myself, "That's it?" To add to that, the writing was pretty plain. It didn't add much to the story. I would've enjoyed a few more flourishing adjectives and sprightly verbs. 

But despite all that, I wouldn't tell you to disregard this book. It's a good comfort read. You won't get anything enormous out of it, but hey, when you were in your preteens, did you want to be hit over the head with deep philosophical novels? I think not. Read Discovering Pig Magic for yourself first and then gift it to a younger sister or cousin. They'll love you for it, I promise.

*This book is published by an awesome non-profit Minnesota publisher. :) All the more reason to buy, eh?


  1. Looks cute! And I love the cover...

  2. MN Publisher represent! I totally know what you mean about Middle Grade books, I didn't even know that was a term until a few months ago lol!

  3. Aw, that sounds like a really cute book. Maybe my little sister would like it. :)

  4. Good read for a preteen! albout girlfirends, growingup & fitting in- without the magical pig...


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