Wednesday, November 4, 2015

Review: The Case of the Washed-Up Warlock by Patrice Lyle

Poison Ivy Charm School, Book 2
by Patrice Lyle
Leap Books, LLC
 Middle Grade Fantasy/Mystery
112 pages
ages 8+

When thirteen-year-old Tulip Bonnaire’s super-cute crush, Dexter, is threatened with expulsion from Poison Ivy Charm School, she can’t help but take the case. Someone has put a spell on Garrett’s Levitation skills and all the evidence, including the testimony of a sea hag stone, points to Dex. Tulip can’t imagine Poison Ivy without him, so she’s intent on proving his innocence. But that means delving into an old secret to find out who turned Garrett into a washed-up warlock. 

Book Two in the Poison Ivy Charm School Series. 


This is a mystery with a fun, new twist. Tulip is a young witch enrolled in Poison Ivy Charm School with other young witches and warlocks. But most of all, she's a detective. One might think that this would include a lot of magic spells and tricks to find the answer to whatever mystery needs unraveling. But not with Tulip. It takes traditional questioning, searching for clues and filling in the missing pieces to solve crimes, and Tulip and her friends are the perfect ones to do it.

I love the setting of this story--a school full of fantasy and magic. There are cute surprises around every corner, but still, the author keeps everything grounded enough to feel familiar. Bullies? Sure. Problems with teachers? You bet. School isn't that much different than one might think. Although magic is involved, it's kept at a minimum, allowing these witches and warlocks to present themselves in a way every normal kid can relate to. (Just with a lot more eye of newt and weeping willows.)

The mystery itself is engaging and not so easy to solve. Tulip loves a good puzzle and uses her brain to figure things out. Her problem solving pattern is laid out in a logical way, and she seldom lets herself get thrown off the track. Of course, the deeper she digs, the more confuse everything becomes. But a good mystery has to be full of unexpected twists and turns. 

To help balance the sleuth side of things, Tulip still has to deal with being a normal, 13-year-old witch. Everyday, teen social problems keep popping up, and then there's her own best friend, who she's secretly falling for. There's never a dull moment, on the case or not. 

I had no trouble reading this in one sitting and never would have guessed what the final solution was. In other words, this is a great mystery series for kids who would simply like something a little different and enjoy mixing a bit of magical fun into an intriguing detective story.


“In a breezy, sassy, and snappy first-person narration… Morgan is so appealing that readers can’t stop turning pages to find out what she’ll do next. Like cotton candy this is fun…” ~ Kirkus Reviews 

“The world that Patrice Lyle paints in this book is simply amazing.” ~ Kyuu S. at Night Owl Reviews 

“At the end of the day this is just a fluffy little book (I think I read it in about an hour and a half) that I absolutely adored.” ~ Ellen at I Love YA Fiction 

**Honored to be a 2014 Killer Nashville Silver Falchion Award™ Nominee**


Tamara Narayan said...

Sounds like a good fit for kids who like mysteries and Harry Potter.

Tamara Narayan said...

Sounds like a good fit for kids who like mysteries and Harry Potter.