Book Rating: ★★★★★ (5/5 stars)
Audio Book Rating: ★★★★★ (5/5 Stars)
Total Rating: ★★★★★ (5/5 stars)
Amelia Jones always wanted to go to Mystwick School of Musicraft like her mother. But after she flubs her audition, she doesn’t think it is possible…until she receives her acceptance letter in her tree house while composing a tune. But little does she expect the chaos her acceptance letter causes: she was never supposed to come to Mystwick School of Musicraft. But magic has a funny way of working, and the school offers Amelia a trial period to prove herself. How can she manage to prove herself when it seems like someone is trying to sabotage her? Is it her roommate Darby, the grumpy Professor Pinwhistle, or…a ghost? And can she overcome her own self doubt in time to prove she belongs at the school?
In a story reminiscent of Harry Potter, but with a musical twist, we venture with Amelia Jones to Mystwick School of Magic, and experience both the magical nature and detrimental trials of the school. We learn, through Amelia’s own telling, the different rules of magic, and all the threads of knowledge weave together giving way to the confrontation with the ghosts of Amelia’s past…literally.
This isn’t just a story about magic though: this is a story about believing in yourself, and that the strongest magic, no matter how cliché, is what we have inside of us. It may have been the narrator’s storytelling in this audiobook, but from beginning to end I saw Amelia as a real individual. She isn’t some prodigy, she isn’t perfect; in fact, she is flawed like the rest of us. These flaws are what make us unique…and what helps magic grow.
Children need stories with these types of lessons. Amelia Jones isn’t the chosen one, she isn’t perfect, and even with her natural gifts, she struggles. But, it also shows how working hard and using flaws to your advantage will reward you.
I feel I cannot go without addressing the elephant in the room. Yes, there are a lot of elements similar to Harry Potter…but in all the right ways! We have a magic school, based out in Colorado, with different “houses” based on their instruments: percussion, brass, string, or woodwind. But, there have been many stories with similarly magical schools, so in this case I find mimicry to be the kindness form of flattery. Amelia Jones’s story takes the best elements of Harry Potter and enhances on them…not just with musicraft, but also with representation. While Amelia Jones has bushy red hair and pale skin, the rest of the cast is diverse: Darby is of East-Asian descent, Kai Kupoor is of Indian-descent, and from there the background cast consists of multiple races and ethnicities. And it doesn’t stop there! There is even mentioned of a character in a wheelchair who is not once tossed aside. These elements will speak to children of all different backgrounds, and this is something that has been criticized in Harry Potter over the years.
Will this book be the next magical edition to grace most children’s libraries? Maybe. It definitely has the potential! I do hope to have more adventure with Amelia in the future and tie up a few of the loose ends.
So if you want something to fill a magic-school-sized void, look no further. You, and your children as well, will love this.
What’s it about?
Amelia Jones always dreamed of attending the Mystwick School of Musicraft, where the world’s most promising musicians learn to create magic. So when Amelia botches her audition, she thinks her dream has met an abrupt and humiliating end—until the school agrees to give her a trial period. Amelia is determined to prove herself, vowing to do whatever it takes to become the perfect musician. Even if it means pretending to be someone she isn’t. Meanwhile, a mysterious storm is brewing that no one, not even the maestros at Mystwick, is prepared to contain. Can Amelia find the courage to be true to herself in time to save her beloved school from certain destruction?