Magic in the Mix

Book review by
Tracy Moore, Common Sense Media
Magic in the Mix Book Poster Image
Exciting time-travel sequel has big ideas, mild peril.

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The parents' guide to what's in this book.

Positive Messages

Magic in the Mix has positive messages about history, curiosity, compassion, integrity, and the value of friendship and understanding among siblings. There's a particular emphasis on the power of our actions in shaping our -- and others' -- fate. 

Positive Role Models & Representations

Molly and Miri are curious, passionate twins in a large family who work to balance their own interests against those of the group. They seek to understand and appreciate their parents and siblings and do right by the people they encounter on their adventures. They're shown exhibiting great interest in the world and a desire to solve problems and help others. Though there are a few simplistically bad characters -- a mean general, a verbally abusive woman -- they're portrayed with a realism that often shows the sadness in them. Adults are largely engaged and caring, though they're not always present.


Mild danger and some dark themes. There's a reference to a mother who died in childbirth, and a girl punches a man in the face. There's a brief scene of explosions during war. A boy's face is hit with the butt of a rifle and he bleeds. Two boys are threatened to be shot or hanged. A man falls off a porch and is presumed dead.


Very brief scenes of a man and woman flirting.


Mildly insulting language throughout and some profanity, such as "lame," "idiots," "worthless," "dammit," "big fat loser," "scoundrel," and others.

Drinking, Drugs & Smoking

What parents need to know

Parents need to know that Magic in the Mix by Annie Barrows (Ivy + Bean) is the sequel to The Magic HalfHere time-traveling twins Molly and Miri have more exciting adventures in which they learn more about and shape their pasts. There's some mild danger, the discussion of a mother who died in childbirth and a family situation with verbal abuse that's been escaped, and some scenes of the Civil War. It's a lively, clever, engaging book about time travel, history, twins, and friendship.

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What's the story?

Molly and Miri are 11-year-old twins who are just beginning to explore the magic that exists in their Victorian farmhouse. When construction at the house reveals new magical portals for discovery, they decide to go back to 1935 and see what other adventures are in store for them. But each new travel adventure brings up new possibilities for fun and danger and the chance that they could change their own shared history forever.

Is it any good?

MAGIC IN THE MIX takes this series about twins with a special gift for time travel to an even more considered, heartfelt place. Here, Miri and Molly return to 1935 to see the mother and father Molly never knew, travel to 1910 and to Virginia during the Civil War, and meet characters from their past at different points in their histories. They're both smart, headstrong, curious characters who inspire readers to think more deeply about their own environments and history. There's a bit of danger and some scenes of mild verbal abuse, but overall, this is a rewarding, clever book about the nature of time, relationships, love, and what it means to shape your own destiny.

Talk to your kids about ...

  • Families can talk about time travel. Do you think time exists the way Molly and Miri theorize it does: like a cake with many layers, happening all at once? What are some of your theories about how time works?

  • If you could go back in time, would you want to have fun or help others? What time would you most like to visit, and why?

  • What are the biggest differences between now and when Molly and Miri lived originally? Which do you like best, and why?

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