Sticks & Stones (Upside-Down Magic #2) Review
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Unabridged Digital Audiobook
Runtime: 3 hours, 9 minutes
Read by Rebecca Soler

In Upside-Down Magic, the first book in their magical series for kids, authors Sarah Mlynowski, Lauren Myracle, and Emily Jenkins introduced readers to a class full of magical misfits. In the audio edition of the follow-up, Sticks & Stones, these lovable kids face yet another obstacle in their education.

The story catches up with the kids of the Upside-Down Magic class as they continue on their quest to fit in. As ten-year-old Nory Horace works to control her unpredictable magical abilities, she finds a new calling in a sport where her differences could actually be an advantage. Meanwhile, friend and classmate Bax works to understand his own strange abilities. And as a group of rival students petitions to have them removed from school, the UDM kids must once again work together to prove that it’s okay to be different.

The second book in this magical kids’ series isn’t quite as heartbreaking as the first. After all, it barely mentions that Nory was disowned by her own family because of her magical differences—which made the first book a bit of a downer. But that doesn’t mean that the series has turned a corner and is suddenly bright and cheery. This time, it’s poor Bax and his family who are struggling—and the kids in the UDM class continue to face all kinds of prejudice and bullying.

But, of course, it’s not all doom and gloom here. The characters are adorable, their magical differences offer plenty of laughs, and their friendship and determination are inspiring. Nory’s ability to turn into a dragon-kitten—as well as a few of the other magical mishaps—will definitely keep young readers giggling.

Sticks & Stones also continues to develop the delightful characters in the Upside-Down Magic class. After learning to accept her differences in the first book, Nory begins to discover more of the benefits of her “wonky magic.” She’s stronger and growing more sure of herself, and that makes her the kind of main character that kids will admire.

Meanwhile, some of the focus in this second installment shifts to Bax, a sweet kid who can’t seem to control his own magic. Bax turns into a rock at random times—and he seems to spend more time at the school nurse’s office than in class. And his own magical—and personal—adventures add even more drama, tension, and humor to the story.

Sticks & Stones is slightly lighter than its predecessor, but it still tells an enchanting story about a bunch of lovable underdogs and their battle for acceptance. It’s a cute series with an important message for young readers.

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