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Parties and Potions (Magic in Manhattan Series #4)

Parties and Potions (Magic in Manhattan Series #4)

4.6 114
by Sarah Mlynowski

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Perfect hair, cute clothes, healthy tans—life’s a breeze when you’re a witch! Even special witchcraft classes Rachel agrees to attend with Miri turn out to be fun. The sisters meet other teen witches just like them—who knew? Everyone’s preparing for a magical party called a Samsorta—a debutante ball for witches. And it


Perfect hair, cute clothes, healthy tans—life’s a breeze when you’re a witch! Even special witchcraft classes Rachel agrees to attend with Miri turn out to be fun. The sisters meet other teen witches just like them—who knew? Everyone’s preparing for a magical party called a Samsorta—a debutante ball for witches. And it wouldn’t be a ball without warlocks. Cute ones. Like Adam, who wants to slow dance with Rachel, and ski with her in the Rockies—on a school night! Of course, Rachel is madly in love with her boyfriend, Raf. So why can’t she bring herself to tell Adam—funny, charming Adam—that Raf exists?

Rachel knows Raf likes her. Maybe even, gulp, loves her. But Raf doesn’t know her secret. Unlike Adam, Raf doesn’t know who she really is. And she can never tell him. Or can she?

From the Hardcover edition.

Editorial Reviews

Children's Literature - Judy DaPolito
What is a girl to do when she discovers that she is not like most of the people around her? Fifteen-year-old Rachel Weinstein has recently found out that, like her mother and her thirteen-year-old sister Miri, she is a witch. Many of her powers, such as being able to move through space without physical transportation, are great fun, though she is not quite proficient yet and sometimes ends up in unintended places. Her real problem, though, is her fear of other people finding out. She does not want the kids at school to know, especially her best friend Tammy and her boyfriend Raf. She is too afraid of losing them to trust them with her secret. And she certainly does not want her father to find out. Her parents' divorce and her father's remarriage have created enough stress; Rachel fears that her father will stop loving her if he knows she is a witch. Her mother will not tell him—she has never let him know about her own powers—but Miri thinks their father ought to know. And when Miri finds out about the witches' coming out party, or Samsorta, she is determined that she and Rachel will attend Charm School so they can participate. At the school, the sisters meet and enjoy other young witches and warlocks, and Miri finds a boyfriend of her own. She is ready to stop hiding who she is, but Rachel is still uncertain. When she and Miri finally tell their father and stepmother, her fears are realized. Her father is horrified and both girls are heartbroken. But by the end of the book, their father comes to the Samsorta and Rachel tells Tammy, who is delighted, and Raf, who still loves her anyway. The story, part of the "Magic in Manhattan" series, is filled with breezy dialogue andslapstick humor as well as credible emotion. Reviewer: Judy DaPolito
VOYA - Sarah Sogigian
The adventures of Rachel and Miri Weinstein, teen sisters who live in present-day New York City and who also happen to be witches, continue here. This book is the fifth in the Magic in Manhattan series and focuses on the sisters' Samsorta, a rite of passage for female witches. After being kept in the dark about their powers and their mother's pre-parent life, the girls learn more about their witch lives by taking classes and meeting others in the witch community via Mywitchbook.com. Rachel begins the book as a slightly superficial character, spending much of the first chapter deciding what color her new back-to-school top should be, but she becomes an incredibly likeable character. Rachel is reluctant to become too involved with her new life, especially after seeing how their new witch friend, Wendaline, is treated at school. While Miri is enjoying every minute of her Samsorta preparation, Rachel struggles with explaining herself to her norlock (non-witch) father and boyfriend, Raf. To make matters more complicated is the introduction of Adam, a teen warlock, who makes Rachel wonder if dating (and living) solely within the witch community would make life easier. Beyond offering the obvious plot of fitting in when one is different, this book is especially memorable for the very real depiction of sisters who love and support each other. This book is recommended for libraries where the other series titles have been popular Reviewer: Sarah Sogigian
KLIATT - Donna Scanlon
In the fourth installment of the Magic in Manhattan series, sisters Rachel and Miri learn about a special coming-of-age ritual for young witches called the Samsorta. Miri wants to participate in the ceremony, and she talks Rachel into participating. Rachel is really more concerned with keeping her magical status a secret, especially from her boyfriend Raf, and with navigating the cliques and status situations of her high school. Complicating the situation is a new friend, Wendeline, another witch who has been home schooled until this year; Rachel tries to convince her to keep her magic under wraps. At first they enjoy the preparatory classes, but soon life becomes more complicated when they have to figure out how to keep their attendance at class a secret from Raf and from their father. Also, they feel torn between their new friends and adventures with them and their old life in New York. Ultimately, Rachel learns an important lesson about being honest with herself. Rachel narrates the story in first person in a breezy chick-lit style, and while the spells and some of the situations seem a little silly, there's a solid story underpinning the fluff. Rachel and Miri and their mother have to learn how to trust each other and the people important to them. For Rachel, the most important insight is what it means to be true to oneself, and that comes through clearly although not too obviously. The characterizations are a bit thin, but Rachel is sympathetic and appealing. The book stands well on its own; the back story is woven into the narrative unobtrusively. Pick it up especially if you have the other titles in the series, but it's also worth giving this a try if readers are looking forteen witch-type stories. Reviewer: Donna Scanlon
Kirkus Reviews
Teen witch Rachel and her sister Miri discover more about their magical roots in this fluffy, style-conscious fourth installment of the Magic in Manhattan series. Newly aware of the magical community that exists parallel to their everyday lives, Rachel and Miri spend much of the book preparing for their Samsorta, a sort of witchy coming-of-age ceremony (perhaps most closely resembling a bat mitzvah). Subplots involving Rachel's confusion over her feelings for two different boys and her fear of being outed as a witch to her father and nonmagical friends provide a bit of depth and will be relevant to teen girls. Details including a witch-specific social-networking site and popular teen text-speak may eventually date this title, but at the moment are right on the mark. Established fans of the series will find this a satisfying expansion of the story line, and it may well appeal to young teens looking for a fun, light read. However, the one-dimensional secondary characters and too-neat ending pull it down toward the mediocre. (Fantasy. 10-15)

Product Details

Random House Children's Books
Publication date:
Magic in Manhattan Series , #4
Sold by:
Random House
Sales rank:
HL450L (what's this?)
File size:
3 MB
Age Range:
12 - 17 Years

Read an Excerpt


So Many Outfits . . . Only One First Day

Do I like red?

I pirouette before the mirror. Yes, the red shirt could work. Red makes my hair look super-glossy and glamorous and goes great with my favorite jeans.

If I do say so myself.

The shirt has a scooped neckline and adorable bubble sleeves. It’s my back-to-school top for the big, BIG day tomorrow—the very first day of sophomore year! My BFF, Tammy, and I went shopping last week for the occasion. I know I could have just zapped something up, but the first rule of witchcraft is that everything comes from something. I didn’t want to accidentally shoplift a new shirt from Bloomingdale’s.

I like the red. It works with my complexion. But I don’t know if it truly shows off my fabulous tan. Hmm. I touch the material grazing my collarbone and chant:

“Like new becomes old,

Like day becomes night,

Pretty back-to-school top,

Please become white!”

I’ve found that adding “please” to my spells really helps. The Powers That Be seem to appreciate it when I’m polite.

A chill spreads through the room, sending goose bumps down my back, and then—zap!—the spell takes effect. The red of my top quickly drains from the material, which turns fuchsia, dark pink, pale pink, and finally as white as Liquid Paper.

Now we’re talking! Yes. It should be white. White shows off my awesome summer tan.

My awesome fake summer tan. Obviously. It’s not like I have a pool in downtown Manhattan to lounge by, and anyway it’s been way too muggy and humid in this city to stay outside for more than twenty seconds, so how could I get naturally sun-kissed? Unfortunately, my camp tan is long gone. But is my fake tan a spray-on? Nope. Is it from one of those tanning booths that could pass for a medieval torture chamber? Again, nope.

How did I get it, then? Why, I call it the Perfect Golden Tan That Makes Me Look Like I Live in California spell. (Patent pending.)

I made it up last week and it worked immediately. True, at first I looked like I had a rash, or perhaps a severe case of the measles, but by the following afternoon, the color had settled into a golden glow. A golden glow that makes me look like a native San Franciscan. Or is it Francistite? Francissian?

Anyway, I am very in control of my powers these days. Ever since Miri taught me megel exercises (you control the flow of your raw will by lifting and lowering inanimate objects such as books and pillows. Not glasses. Don’t try glasses. Trust me on this), my magic muscles have gotten much stronger.

I finally got my very own copy of A2 (otherwise known as The Authorized and Absolute Reference Handbook to Astonishing Spells, Astounding Potions, and History of Witchcraft Since the Beginning of Time), but since I’m so good at making up my own spells, it’s not like I need it. If you know how to cook, do you need a recipe? I think not.

Yes, my top has to be white. Everyone knows white is the best color to wear when tanned. Tomorrow, when I glide into JFK High School, they will say, “Who is that perfectly bronzed girl? Could that be Rachel Weinstein?” And “Did you hear? She’s going out with the wonderful and gorgeous A-lister Raf Kosravi! Isn’t she amazing?”

Yes, it’s going to be a great year. The best year ever. I’m calling it The Sophomore Spectacular! My very own Broadway show. And tomorrow is opening day.

Nothing can go wrong, because:

I am healthily tan, I have a boyfriend, and I have a groovalicious new haircut with lots of fabo layers. And I am a witch.

Yup, I’m a witch. Obviously. How else would I be able to change the color of my shirt over and over again? My mom and sister are witches too. We’re chanting, broom-riding, love-spell-casting magic machines. Well, Miri and I are magic machines. Mom is a mostly nonpracticing witch.

Luckily, I did not need a love spell to make Raf fall in love with me. Nope, he loves me all on his own. Not that he’s said those three magic words. But he will eventually. Am I not lovable? I think I’m pretty lovable. He’s definitely lovable.

He’s my honey-bunny.

Okay, I haven’t actually called him that to his face. But I am auditioning potential terms of endearment in my head. Other options are sweet pea and shmoopie.


Just shmoo?

Even without the names, we make everyone sick. Not throwing-up sick, but yay-for-them sick. I think. Since we became a couple at camp, we’ve spent practically every day together. We hung in the park. We watched TV. We shopped. (He bought this awesome-looking brown waffle shirt that brings out his brown eyes, olive skin, and broad shoulders, and every time he wears it, I tell him how hot he is.) We kissed. (There was a lot of kissing. A ginormous amount of kissing. So much kissing I had to buy an extra-strength Chap Stick. But it tasted like wax paper, so I switched to extra-shiny cherry lip gloss. Yum. The problem is I love it so much I keep licking it off. Which just increases the chappedness of my lips. It’s a vicious cycle.)

As I was saying, I don’t need to use spells around Raf. Okay, you got me; that’s a bit of a lie. Last week I poofed up fresh breath after gorging on too many pieces of garlic bread. I didn’t want him to have to hold his nose while playing tongue gymnastics. But that’s it. I would never cast a love spell on him. Okay, that’s another lie. When Miri first got her powers, we zapped him with one. (Miri, my two-years-younger sister, discovered she was a witch before I found out that I was. How unfair is that?) But we accidentally cast the spell on Raf’s older brother, Will, instead, so no harm done. Well, not too much. Will and I dated but broke up at the prom when I realized he was really truly in love with my friend Kat.

Now, what was I doing? Oh, right. White!

I pretend that my room is a catwalk and sashay away from the mirror and then back toward it. Here’s the prob: wearing white might be mega-obvious, since everyone knows that you wear white when you’re trying to show off a tan. Also, for some reason, white is making my head look big. Do I have a big head? Is having a big head bad? Or does it mean I’m smarter?

Perhaps I should try blue. Blue looks good on me. It brings out my brown eyes. Yes! I must bring out my eyes! I clear my throat and say:

“Like night becomes day,

Like calm seas become wavy,

Pretty back-to-school top,

Please become navy!”

Cold! Zap! Poof!

From the Hardcover edition.

Meet the Author

Sarah Mlynowski’s novels include the first three books in the Magic in Manhattan series. Like Rachel, Sarah lives in Manhattan. Unlike Rachel, Sarah has no magical powers . . . yet. Visit her anyway at www.sarahm.com.

From the Hardcover edition.

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Parties and Potions (Magic in Manhattan Series) 4.6 out of 5 based on 0 ratings. 114 reviews.
TeensReadToo More than 1 year ago
Rachel's ready to start off her sophomore year of high school with a bang! Now that she's gotten her powers, and learned to semi-control them, there's nothing holding her back from having the best year ever. Except there is one little hindrance - she has to keep her witch life and her "normal" life separated, and the task is proving to be a lot harder then she thought. First there is her Samsorta, which is pretty much a debutante ball for witches. Miri (her sister) and she have to take classes and learn that there are tons more teen witches out there. Rachel soon meets up with Adam, who is cute, funny, and a witch, but there's also Raf - adorable, sweet, and he doesn't know Rachel's secret. Then there is Wendalin - Miri's new witch friend who just started high school and doesn't understand why she can't let everyone know that she's a witch. Rachel kind of takes her under her wing and tries to change her into a more "normal" teenager. And finally she has to deal with the fact that her dad still doesn't know that she and Miri are witches, and she's terrified to tell him. Even though she's a witch and it takes nothing to hop on over to Paris or to change the color of her shirt, Rachel still has many issues that can't be solved with the snap of her fingers. This whole series is seriously cute! The books always pick up right where the last left off with nothing missing. That said, though, the story can definitely hold its own, and it would be just as enjoyable to read if no other book in the series had been read. Rachel kind of retells her past adventures throughout the story in a way that sparks your memory if it has been a while since you read the previous books, or will catch you up if you haven't read any of the others. One of the best parts of the book for me was the creativity of the plot. In all the types of realistic fantasy books I've read, I've never come across anything with a plot even remotely similar to this series. I feel that in PARTIES & POTIONS, Sarah Mlynowski's creativity is exemplified more then it ever has been before. Having a witch debutante ball and popping to Arizona to attend Samsorta classes at a witch community center! I felt like the book was something out of my wildest dreams! It was truly a blast to read this book. The characters were fairly well-developed. There were some times when I got frustrated because Rachel would act the same way in a multitude of different situations. When this happened the book dragged a little, but then it quickly picked up again and was great. I also enjoyed the author's writing style. She made it really easy to see through Rachel's eyes and I felt like I was walking down the hallway with her or zapping off to Paris and standing on top of the Eiffel tower. Overall, I really enjoyed the book and think it was a great addition to a fun series. It's a great story for all, that provides a great adventure and some fun magic. I absolutely can't wait for more from Sarah Mlynowski, and urge you all to pick up this book, or at least one of the books in the series!
Ekaterini Tsilou More than 1 year ago
I loved this book but i liked spells and sleeping bags even better
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
Parties and potions is and amazing book!
Mattie604 More than 1 year ago
Must read. Will change life.
Ciara Chappell More than 1 year ago
Edith Hayes More than 1 year ago
Stephanie031299 More than 1 year ago
You have to read this book!!
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
I really enjoy reading this book. There's a lot of description and the author wrote the book really well. It's funny too, which will appeal to people who like comedy books. The author also did a great job of making it seem so realistic!
SpellxBound More than 1 year ago
This book is amazing! Rachel strikes agian in Parties and potions. I just love the series. In this book Rachel and Miri get in-touch with the witch world. Ive read this book twice and im starting it agian! This is a great book for my age. Being in high-school i love it! Keep those books comeing!
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
This book is so wonderful and it is very accurate. I felt as if I could relate to the main character, Rachel, in this book. It relates to us teenage girls because it pretty much explains how our mood and bodies change throughout our life. Rachel meets this witch that goes to her school but Wendaline uses her powers way too much and they are not supposed to use them in school. Rachel and Miri have a Samsorta together because their mother wouldn't let them have them separate. Whenever they have their Samsorta, they have all of their family and friends with them. Their family is in full support of them and they don't care what other people say about their family. Rachel has a boyfriend, Raf, and they are so compassionate and nobody could break them up. Rachel did not want to tell Raf about her "witch secret" but she finally did and he loved her even more. They are such an excellent teenage couple and they are so loveable. When Rachel tells him, he is really shocked and she feels bad because they have been dating for awhile now and she feels bad because she has kept this secret from him for so long. Rachel and her sister, Miri, are taking these Samsorta classes and they are meeting so many new witch friends. Rachel met this really cute guy, Adam, and he thinks that she is available and so he tries to make a move on her. I absolutely loved this book!!! I would recommend this book to any teenager and they would absolutely love to read this book. This book is so interesting and once you start it, you won't want to put it down. I was so into this book that my mom yelled at me because it was all I could do to read this book any chance that I could.
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
i really liked the story. Amazing! and Mylnowski wrote an amazing teenage book that would make anyone laugh
mrdarcy3 More than 1 year ago
Rachel loves having the ability of preforming magic. When Miri meets a new friend on Mywitchbook.com, they learn there are teen witches all over the country. Each year, the witching society hosts a magical coming out party which Miri can't wait to attend. Before they come out as witches and join the magical society, they will need to take magic lessons. They sign up for Saturday afternoons. At first, it's cool meeting new people, but then they want to hang out after lessons. Miri loves her new friends and she has her eye on one boy in particular. But she's so shy around him. Soon she's begging her sister to hang out with the other witches. With juggling her boyfriend, school, and her home life Rachel isn't sure that she has time for magical lessons let alone hanging out afterwards. But she can't say no to her sister. Soon she's learning more about magic, but she's also attending parties on the Eiffel Tower in Paris, lying to her boyfriend, and sneaking out of her Dad's house. Sooner or later, all this lying will have to stop. But are the sisters ready for their secret to be revealed?

I'm glad the sisters came back for another book. I do hope that this series continues: it's so magically fun and surprise. I'm always wondering what scrapes Rachel will get into next.
~ yabooknerd @ http://yabooknerd.blogspot.com/
moomoo120328 More than 1 year ago
I am a fan of Sarah Mylnowski's work and Parties & Potions was my favorite in the Magic in Manhattan series. Parties & Potions plot line was very well-planned and easy to follow. There was more romance and thrills in this book a than the others in the series. I highly recommend this book to anyone who enjoys action, romance, thrills, comedy, and drama. This book had everything in the right amounts.
Sabrina22 More than 1 year ago
I read the excerpt of the first chapter online and it was amazing. I think the reason that I and many others like these books so much is that everyone wants to have magical powers. They would make life so much easier! If you have a project due tomorrow, just snap your fingers and it's done! Rachel is also very easy to relate to, with the same goals that I have, embarrasing moments and boyfriend troubles. I find these series intriging and can not wait to see what Rachel gets into next!
miridamermaid More than 1 year ago
I havent read this one yet but Im sure it will be great(although, when am I ever sure???). I have been waiting for this book to come out for a while but hopefully its been worrth it. To Sarah...well good job on the rest of youre series, both of them in fact i recomend. Please read for i hope/belive it'll be worth it. :)
Marissa More than 1 year ago
These books are amazing... im 14 and i still like them ALOT!
I cant wait til this one comes out...until then GO READ THE OTHER ONES =D
Guest More than 1 year ago
I recommend this seires to all teens! It is amazing and it deals with real life situations. This book will probably be as good as the rest of them were!
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
This is one of my favorite book i read it like 2 times Good book or bad book
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
Loved it i felt so into it!!!!!!!!!!
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
Worst book ive ever read (and i like ever thing)
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
I have not yet read this book, and I was looking at reviews and you guys totally ruined it for me! If you are going to write a review, then don't spoil ANY shocking or the end of the book.
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
Not my favorite book in the series, but super cute! Rachel is so lucky. Samsortas sound like a lot of fun. It's also so sad that Rachel had to dump Raf just to avoid telling him her secret. I love the end, though.
DanceBree17 More than 1 year ago
This last book in the Magic in Manhattan series was so much fun, I hated to see it end. Rachel and Miri have alot of changes and experiences, but they never fail to stay connected. I thought Miri's romance with Corey was so sweet and perfect. To me, she embodied all the shyness and fluttery feelings you get with first love. Rachel and Raf go through some ups and downs, but they hold onto each other in a way that you know their love is true. I loved the settings this time, and you really felt as if things really could happen the way she describes it. I can only wish to zap myself somewhere in seconds like they can. Its sad to see this series close, and I really wish there was another book to let us see what the girls do with their powers after their sophomore year.
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
Wow i just started reading this book today. I started reading at 5:53 and it is now 9:00 that is a total of threr hours and fortyseven min. Thats how the whole seris has been for me on school nights. I recomend to anyone over ten... awsome!!