Readers will cheer for Brown’s Anna from the start. An expert in the world of illusions, Anna has a huge heart, brains and a desire to be normal. But the real high point of the novel is Brown’s 1920s-set world. There is a feel of magic — literally and figuratively — to everything, practiced by illusionists like Houdini and also in reality. This construct builds a plot different from most of today’s YA. One frustrating aspect, however, is Anna’s continuing indecision — or naïveté — toward the two men in her life. A mysterious and magical tale.

Anna Van Housen is not only a magician at handling her shallow and manipulative mother, but a real one — on and off the stage. She assists her mother, a renowned medium, through mind-bending illusions no one has seen before. Unfortunately, Anna’s real powers seem to be growing stronger when all she wants is to be normal. She realizes her powers have been amplifying ever since her new neighbor, Cole, moved in downstairs. Cole shows Anna she is not alone, but Anna has bigger problems. (BALZER + BRAY, Jun., 384 pp., $17.99, ISBN: 9780062187543, HC, 13 & Up)
Reviewed by: 
Julie Knowles