Five reasons we love A Most Magical Girl by Karen Foxlee

A Most Magical Girl by Karen Foxlee is one of the six books shortlisted for this year’s Readings Children’s Book Prize. Here are five reasons why we think it’s brilliant.


1. It gave me that ‘Harry Potter feeling’.

From the first moment that 12-year-old Annabel Grey steps into Misses E & H Vine’s Magic Shop, the reader is aware that this girl’s life is about to change forever, and that almost everything she thought to be true is going to be be proved wrong. A Most Magical Girl takes place in smelly, foggy Victorian-era London, a London that’s home to neighbourhood societies of witches and wizards. The story is thoroughly atmospheric and enchanting; the last time I felt this amount of mystery and magic was reading Harry Potter.

2. It has a most villainous villain for kids.

This is a classic story of good vs. evil and sees Annabel and the Great & Benevolent Magical Society go up against a dastardly, power-hungry villain. Mr Angel has managed to get his hands on the Black Wand, build a Dark Magic Extracting Machine that feeds on sadness and despair, AND raise Darklings… which you don’t even want to know about. He is just the right amount of scary, without even being too frightening for young readers.

3. It takes more than the Chosen One to defeat evil.

Annabel is the prophesied Most Magical Girl who must defeat Mr Angel and ensure that darkness does not descend on the city. But in order to achieve her aims she must learn how to trust and rely on a whole cast of characters, not least of all her wild companion, Kitty. The unlikely friendship that forms between genteel Annabel and feral Kitty is a beautiful thing, and so is their teamwork, courage and generosity.

4. It will make you want a little troll sister.

It takes a while for Annabel and Kitty to reach the trolls in their labyrinthine underground community, and I don’t want to spoil this part of the book for readers. I will say that I followed the two girls into the tunnel feeling scared of, and disgusted by the trolls. I then spent the rest of the book wishing that I could be friends with a troll so squishy and adorable as brave, grubby little Hafwen.

5. It’s the perfect book for a sophisticated younger reader.

We talk to many people in our shops who are trying to find a book for a really good young reader of ages 8 to 11 that’s challenging and engaging, but doesn’t have anything in it that’s too ‘grown-up’. As a rule, fantasy is a safe choice for these kinds of readers as it often employs complicated plots and inventive use of language. A Most Magical Girl fit the bill with its rich language, intriguing historical detail, a thoroughly relatable heroine, big emotions and hair-raising plot.


Find the full Readings Children’s Book Prize shortlist here, and don’t forget you can buy all six of our wonderful shortlistees in a specially-priced pack.

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A Most Magical Girl

A Most Magical Girl

Karen Foxlee

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