A Lot or a Little?
What you will—and won't—find in this book.
Bo accuses Julian, a dancer, of being less than a real man. The boys want to protect the girls from danger.
Violence & Scariness
Teena slashes an attacker with a skewer. The villain injures a dog and hits Bo over the head. Lisa suspects that a woman has been murdered, but the reader isn't shown any details.
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Occasional mild profanity.
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Parents Need to Know
Parents need to know that the occasionally unnatural narration and a few odd breaks can't derail the steadily building tension of this truly chilling tale. Plenty of plot twists and scary surprises keep readers guessing all the way through. A sufficiently complex plot (and even a hint of romance) keeps older mystery fans intrigued.
Is It Any Good?
"Sometimes the kids don't seem scared enough," was one 12-year-old's reaction to A DEADLY GAME OF MAGIC. True, Lisa and her friends remain remarkably levelheaded after they realize someone's stalking them, even stopping occasionally to fix snacks, tell jokes, and discuss career plans. But, ironically, the characters' amazing calmness is partly what makes the book so scary. If they panicked the moment they found the first plaster head, the story would have nowhere to go. Instead, Joan Lowery Nixon keeps piling on the sinister details, and when the characters finally get frightened, readers will be rushing to lock the doors and turn on more lights.
Lisa herself is the most sensible member of the group, and although readers might grow impatient with how her plans always seem to work when no one else's do, they'll still be impressed with her magic skills and her determination to solve the mystery. Lisa's first-person narrative occasionally seems stiff, but this won't distract most kids, who will be sucked in by the mystery.
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