“I believe she will shortly describe me as
‘that dipshit who’s always smiling at himself.’”
(Joshua, page 3)
The Secret Science of Magic by Melissa Keil is smart, funny, and one of my favorite reads of 2018.
Its blurb via author Melissa Keil’s website:
Sophia is smart. Like, genius-calculator-brain smart. But there are some things no amount of genius can prepare you for, and the messiness of real life is one of them. When everything she knows is falling apart, how can she crack the puzzle of what to do with her life?
Joshua spends his time honing magic tricks and planning how to win Sophia’s heart. But when your best trick is making schoolwork disappear, how do you possibly romance a genius? In life and love, timing is everything.
It was pure chance I stumbled on this book and I’m so happy it happened. While at my local library to pick up a few books for research purposes, I couldn’t help but make a detour into the Young Adult section. Big surprise, right?
The Secret Science of Magic caught my eye from its place on the “new” shelves, just by its title. After reading the jacket blurb, I knew it was coming home with me. Then I opened the book and it began with with a quote from Harry Houdini. I was all in.
How could I not want to know what would happen when a young magician attempts to win the heart of a genius?
This is not your typical high school romance novel. Set in Melbourne, Australia, author Melissa Keil gives readers alternating POV from Sophia and Joshua. Sophia is a genius, particularly skilled in mathematics, while Joshua does well in history class, his overall interest in studying and homework is minimal. His passion is magic. Neither are part of the popular social circles at school.
There were many elements about this book that I loved. Normally, I’m not a fan of first person POV but I really liked it here as it kept me close to the characters. From the first pages, I became invested in Sophia and Joshua. I laughed out loud more than once before finishing chapter one. Keil’s writing style is sharp and witty. She has created characters that you want to know inside and out, and then shows us all their messy truths but in ways that are completely relatable.
I also enjoyed the numerous pop culture references, in particular the Doctor Who tidbits. As a fan of Eleven, I swooned and giggled with the tiny fez hats that “magically” appear on Sophia’s pencils when she opens her pencilcase.
As we all know, the course of teenage romance rarely runs smooth, and in the case of Sophia and Joshua the odds are stacked against them. However, it was a joy to be able to tag along for their journey. The Secret Science of Magic kept me entertained from start to finish and I’m still chuckling over several moments. I highly recommend it.
Melissa Keil is the author of The Secret Science of Magic, Life in Outer Space, and The Incredible Adventures of Cinnamon Girl.
I already have Life in Outer Space on reserve at my library, so keep an eye out for my thoughts on that one.