Unfamiliar Magic by R. C. AlexanderUnfamiliar Magic by R. C. Alexander

Unfamiliar Magic

byR. C. Alexander

Paperback | May 10, 2011

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Desi is a witch. And she knows she could be a great witch—if only her mom would teach her any spells. Unfortunately, Desi’s mom is more concerned with keeping them safe and their abilities hidden.

When her mom leaves town under mysterious circumstances, it should be Desi’s perfect opportunity to explore magic on her own. But Desi has been left in the care of the most unusual babysitter of all time: her pet cat—also her mom’s familiar—now transformed into a teenage girl named Cat. And Cat has only three goals: Learn how to eat sushi with her new hairless monkey paws, get the awkward boy next door to pay for her sushi, and keep Desi out of trouble. And that means no magic.

Yeah, right!

This hilarious and high-spirited fantasy is perfect for cat lovers, embattled siblings, and anyone who yearns to find the magic in everyday life.


From the Hardcover edition.
R. C. Alexander lives in Florida. This is his first novel.From the Hardcover edition.
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Title:Unfamiliar MagicFormat:PaperbackDimensions:368 pages, 7.69 × 5.25 × 0.73 inPublished:May 10, 2011Publisher:Random House Children's BooksLanguage:English

The following ISBNs are associated with this title:

ISBN - 10:0375858555

ISBN - 13:9780375858550

Appropriate for ages: 10 - 14

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1“Mom, come here!” Desi shouted. “I think I broke Dad.”Desdemona stared down into the cardboard crate she had just opened. Inside lay what looked like a middle-aged man in a flowered shirt, motionless, half-buried in crumpled newspaper.She heard a muffled “Who?” from the kitchen. The next moment, her mother’s head poked in, looking harried. “‘Dad’? What dad? Where?” Callida asked cautiously, surveying the mess scattered around the living room.“See, it won’t start up,” Desi said, shaking the edge of the crate with both hands.“Oh, you’re talking about the golem.” Callida smiled and brushed the hair out of her eyes.“What else would I be talking about?” Desi rattled the box. “Come on, dummy, move.”“Don’t do that,” her mother said. “It’s not broken. It needs the potion to animate it.”That was the word Desi had been waiting to hear. “Right, the potion. I can make it.”“Maybe,” her mother said guardedly. “We’ll see.”Desi knew what that meant. “Why do we need a fake dad, anyway?” she asked, nodding at the thing in the box. “We didn’t use it in Paris or before in Hong Kong. . . .”“Our apartments were way too small. I like it. People leave you alone if they think there’s a man around the house,” Callida said. “Here in the suburbs, it’ll help us fit in. Plus, it does mow the lawn.” She tucked a strand of her long black hair under her scarf in a losing battle to keep it under control. Grabbing a box labeled kitchen, she said, “Come and help me put the dishes away.”They made their way down the hall to the back of the house, weaving through cardboard boxes and scattered furniture. Desi got there first; she was energized now that they had arrived at their new home. “So, what exactly makes the golem go?” she asked.“You should know—we’ve made that potion many times.”Desi shook her head. “That was years ago. And you never let me make it. You never let me do any spells.”“You did a spell.” Callida looked indignant. “For your birthday last year. I taught you the balloon one, remember?”“Hobblebobblebowlameni. By the time I say it, I could blow up a balloon the regular way. And that’s a kid’s spell. I’m talking about real magic.”“It’s all in the textbooks I gave you. If you would pay more attention to your studies—”“I’ve practically got those books memorized,” Desi said, exasperated. “History of Magic, Principles of Magic, History of Principles of Theory of Magic—I know everything about magic except how to do anything. When are you going to show me how to make things fly around the room or transform stuff into other stuff?”Her mother began unloading the contents of the boxes into the cupboards. “I told you, when you’re older.”“That’s what you said three years ago.” Desi put her hands on her hips. “I am older, in case you hadn’t noticed.”Callida struck the same pose, mimicking her. “Please don’t be in such a hurry to grow up. It’s not as great as you think it is.” She sighed. “Maybe if you show how responsible you are by helping out more?”“All right, all right, I’m helping.” Desi knew it was time to back off—for now. She reached into an open carton and shrieked.A black tornado whipped out of the crate, scratching and snarling. Taken by surprise, Desi tumbled backward into a pile of newspaper. “Aargh! Bad cat!” She grabbed her arm. “Watch it, will you?” she snapped at her cat, who had disappeared under the kitchen table. “Your claws are sharp.”“Are you okay?” her mother asked. “Be careful—you frightened her.”Desi checked her arms for scratches. “What were you doing in there, anyway?” she said to the small figure crouched in the shadows.“Hiding,” Callida answered for her Familiar. “She hates change; you know that. Moving is hard for her.”“Welcome to the club. You still shouldn’t use your claws,” Desi griped with her head under the table. Two big yellow eyes glared back at her resentfully from the shadows, making her feel guilty. “Sorry about the yelling. I’m a little freaked out, too, you know,” she confided to her cat. “Did you check out your sandbox? I set it up in the garage first thing.”“Could we get back to work, please?” Callida bent down to open another box. “I’m tired of eating fast food. I want my kitchen back.”From the Hardcover edition.