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The Spell Book of Listen Taylor: A Girl with Something to Hide

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    Available in PDF - DJVU Format | The Spell Book of Listen Taylor: A Girl with Something to Hide.pdf | Language: ENGLISH

A fairytale, a mystery, a history of hot-air ballooning, and a romance . . . A novel so brilliant, moving, zingy -- and Zingy -- that it could only have come from Jaclyn Moriarty.

The Zing family lives in a world of misguided spell books, singular poetry, and state-of-the-art surveillance equipment. They use these things to protect the Zing Family Secret -- one so huge it draws the family to the garden shed for meetings every Friday night.
Into their world comes socially isolated middle grader Listen Taylor, whose father is dating a Zing. Enter Cath Murphy, a young teacher at the elementary school that Cassie Zing attends, suffering from a broken heart. How will the worlds of these two young woman connect? Only the reader can know!

2.3 (4749)
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Printable? Yes

Book details

  • PDF | 432 pages
  • Young Picador (2008)
  • English
  • 7
  • Children's Books

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Review Text

  • By Not My Real Name (TM) on August 12, 2017

    JM is supposed to be a YA author, but warning: this book is a collection of sophisticated themes disguised as a YA book. True, there's a girl who is unhappy at school, but this book is so much more-- it's about three generations of her entire adopted family. Or maybe three and a half. And, of course, that family's secret.I couldn't put it down. The writing style is hard to describe. It pulls you in and leaves you with your mouth hanging open, looking around, collecting all the bits of the story. The details come at you in scrambled order, the way a group of middle schoolers would tell you something: this-- and then this-- but before that, this--It's so great. What a delightful read.

  • By Whitney R. Clink on November 29, 2008

    I haven't read this book yet, but I just wanted to give others a heads up, so they don't make the same mistake I made. Others have mentioned that this is a revised edition to an adult novel. The other novel is called "I Have Made a Bed of Buttermilk Pancakes." It was only released in Canada, but there are some people selling it used on Amazon. I didn't know that they were both the same book and ordered them both thinking there were two Moriarty books that I hadn't read yet. I don't know how much, if anything, was changed between the two editions, but from reading the descriptions on the back of the books they sound essentially the same. Regardless of the mix up, I'm looking forward to reading the book, because I've really enjoyed all of her others.

  • By Kindle Customer on August 25, 2009

    I can't give a review of the whole book because I was only able to force myself to read 80 of the 479 pages. The title makes you think this is a book about Listen Taylor and her spell book. Well, of the first 80 pages, maybe 3 have been about Listen and her spell book. The rest is about Listen's father's girlfriend, Listen's father's girlfriend's sister, and Listen's father's girlfriend's sister's daughter's teacher. None of whom have anything to do with the spell book. Boring adult themes that I frankly don't give two hoots about. This is not a children's book, nor is it a book for young adults, or a book for adults who like innocent children's stories. This book is blah, blah, blah.

  • By KatyM on February 9, 2008

    One word of warning: this isn't a book for young kids, although the first two characters we meet are in fact young kids. Many are adults and adult themes are certainly central to this story.That said, I thought it was great. Creative, odd, realistic. If you live in a cold climate you will die laughing over the reaction to the "blizzard" that incapacitates Sydney, Aus. (It's meant to be funny, too, of course).Listen is a lovely girl, and the story of her challenging year is at the heart of this story. It's certainly a marvelous depicton of how one girl's challenges are only part of the swirling world around her--how easy it is for her problems to get lost, then found. I highly recommend this book to women and to older teens.

  • By Swank Ivy on September 1, 2014

    There were so many good things about this book. First, I'll hit the plot: There's an overarching set of circumstances tying everyone in this book together, but the picture is big enough throughout most of it that you cannot see the threads.Consequently, the big surprise, namely, the Zing Family Secret which gets thrown around all through the beginning of the book, actually stays a secret until the author damn well wants you to see it.Second, let's look at the characters: They're all real, sympathetic enough that even when they do incredibly stupid, dishonest, or nonsensical things you can feel for them, and they're vulnerable each in their own way. Listen was a wonderful character as a sensitive and awkward seventh grader with no friends (and keeper of the Spell Book, of course), and I liked the wackiness of Marbie and Fancy Zing (Marbie with her sleepwalking, Fancy with her ridiculous novel-writing attempts) . . . and Cath, she was so easy to relate to as she sat at the crux of everything important. Their ordinary selves were entertaining enough even without their extraordinary circumstances, and while I would have preferred a slightly more distinctive voice for the characters, I followed their individual personalities well enough.But lastly, the narration is where this author truly shines (as usual). There is some incredibly clever wordplay and bittersweet metaphor use in this book, and the ordinary is truly brought to life as people weather snowstorms and personal disasters, have affairs and suspect each other of having affairs, and deal with bee stings and broken vacuum cleaners. And after the Zing Family Secret belongs to the reader as well, there is still the drama to unfold as we watch who gets to learn it, what circumstances reveal it, and most importantly, what then? The ending made me think "And . . . ?" Exactly. And then . . . the characters lived on, despite it not being a "happily ever after" story. (And I must say I'm pleased with this first book I've read of Moriarty's where she doesn't tell the story entirely in text-based communication between the characters.)


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