Book Review: The Magic Misfits by Neil Patrick Harris

The Magic Misfits (Magic Misfits, #1)The Magic Misfits by Neil Patrick Harris
Publisher: Little Brown Books for Young Readers
Release Date: November 21, 2017
My rating: 3 of 5 stars

Publisher’s Description:

When street magician Carter runs away, he never expects to find friends and magic in a sleepy New England town. But like any good trick, things change instantly as greedy B.B. Bosso and his crew of crooked carnies arrive to steal anything and everything they can get their sticky fingers on.

After a fateful encounter with the local purveyor of illusion, Dante Vernon, Carter teams up with five other like-minded illusionists. Together, using both teamwork and magic, they’ll set out to save the town of Mineral Wells from Bosso’s villainous clutches. These six Magic Misfits will soon discover adventure, friendship, and their own self-worth in this delightful new series.

The Magic Misfits is Neal Patrick Harris’s (Barney from How I Met Your Mother) middle-grade debut. It’s the first book in a planned trilogy. Carter’s parents are dead and now he travels the country with his uncle, who is a pick-pocket and scam artist. Carter is a good boy and desperately wants to get away from him. But where would he go? He’s just a kid.

One day, Carter and his uncle stop at B.B. Bosso’s circus. There he meets a girl his age who introduces him to her group of friends. Carter is excited – he’s never had friends before. And these friends use magic for good, unlike his uncle.

My eleven year-old son and I both read this book. He’s really into magic and loved that in-between chapters there were instructions on how to do magic tricks. The tricks were simple enough that a kid can perform them and still amaze adults. I thought they were pretty cool too.

I thought The Magic Misfits was a cute story with a good message. I liked that it had a diverse cast of characters, including a girl in a wheelchair and a same-sex couple. One thing I didn’t care for was how NPH interrupted the story to give the definitions of words or phrases he thought kids wouldn’t know. I felt like kids would either already know the definitions or could figure it out from the context in which they were used.

I’m a huge fan of NPH and most everything he does but although I enjoyed this book, I didn’t like it enough to continue with the series. However, my son wants to continue with it and that’s more important since he’s the intended audience. When I asked him if he wanted to read the next book when it comes out, he shouted, “Yes, yes, yes!” That’s a pretty hearty recommendation indeed.

(I received a complimentary copy of this book for review.)