Shelf Discovery Challenge Report: A Gift of Magic by Lois Duncan

When the old woman died, she left each of her grandchildren something very special. For Kirby, the gift of dance. For Brendon, the gift of music. And for Nancy, the most extraordinary gift of all . . . the gift of magic.

To be honest, I was a bit disappointed with this book. I think it has to do with how this book was marketed. It's labeled as a thriller, comparable with Duncan's other books like I KNOW WHAT YOU DID LAST SUMMER or SUMMER OF FEAR. However nothing in this book is thrilling at all, at least not compared to the other books. The book is just not scary at all. There's some tense scenes but nothing that will put you on the edge of your seat. I finished the book and was like...that's it? The characters in this book are really young too. I was really surprised that this book is marketed as YA when the oldest sibling is not even in high school yet. I was thinking maybe that the characters would age throughout the book but they don't.

The one good scene that involved Nancy's gift was just too short IMHO. I really felt that it could have been expounded on and if it had kept going it would have been really interesting. What is there is really good, it just cuts off. Brendon's gift of music is totally wasted as we barely see any of it in the book. Kirby's gift of dance is there, but it just doesn't make much of a statement to me. I didn't really feel as if I got close with any of the characters.

I was going to write off this book as probably my least favorite of all Duncan's books. I really felt that it could have had really good potential especially with the powers the three had. It just felt that it never really picked up and sorta stalled at the end. However, there was something at the end of the book that I really liked. And it's hilarious about how I didn't catch onto it beforehand. I don't want to spoil it for you but let's just say take note of the family's last name and there's going to be another power. Overall, I think this is good for younger teens as it's not that scary yet there's still some good suspense and a bit of magic as well.


  1. I don't know about this one. I think the cover does portray it as a supernatural type book, and it probably would have led me to believe that it is scary. Maybe today it would have been marketed as MG????

  2. Sometimes these books don't work as well as we mature. At least it had a good ending!


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