Spells and Sleeping Bags (Magic in Manhattan Series)

( 123 )

Overview

At long last, Rachel's powers have arrived and she's a bona fide get-your-broom-ready witch! And it's happened just in time. No Manhattan for her this summer—she's spending her vacation at Camp Wood Lake.

But she's having some serious issues:

Mosquitoes in the Adirondacks ...

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Spells and Sleeping Bags (Magic in Manhattan Series)

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Overview

At long last, Rachel's powers have arrived and she's a bona fide get-your-broom-ready witch! And it's happened just in time. No Manhattan for her this summer—she's spending her vacation at Camp Wood Lake.

But she's having some serious issues:

Mosquitoes in the Adirondacks are incredibly thirsty.

Her stepmom keeps sending embarrassing feminine hygiene care packages.

She accidentally zapped away all her clothes.

And there's a backstabber in her cabin intent on making life miserable.

Good thing Rachel's a witch.

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Product Details

  • ISBN-13: 9780385733885
  • Publisher: Random House Children's Books
  • Publication date: 4/22/2008
  • Series: Magic in Manhattan Series
  • Edition description: Reprint
  • Pages: 320
  • Sales rank: 216,604
  • Age range: 12 - 17 Years
  • Product dimensions: 5.10 (w) x 7.80 (h) x 0.70 (d)

Meet the Author

Sarah Mlynowski
Sarah Mylnowski is the author of numerous novels, including Bras & Broomsticks and Frogs & French Kisses. She spent nine summers at sleep-away camp, where she enjoyed campfires, color wars, and conjuring up excuses to get out of swimming lessons. She now lives and writes in New York City.

From the Hardcover edition.

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Read an Excerpt

1
ALL ABOARD!

I'm pretty sure my camp backpack is not supposed to be levitating off the sidewalk of Fifth Avenue. Whoopsies. I make a (somewhat) discreet lunge for one of its red straps and plant it back next to my feet.
Tee hee.
My mother, who is fortunately too busy eyeing the parked camp buses lining the street to notice my infraction, asks, "Do you know where you're going?"
"Yes, Mom," my sister says, rolling her eyes. "We know how to read. We're both on the same bus. The sign says 'Girls grades seven thru nine,' and since that's both of us, that's where we're going. Unfortunately."
Miri is not happy about being shipped off to Camp Wood Lake in the Adirondacks for seven weeks. She'd much rather stay in the city, free to spend the summer as she pleases, helping the homeless. That's her cause du jour. Unfortunately for her, she can't help the homeless when she is being sent to a summer camp filled with spoiled rich kids. Those are her words, not mine. I'm perfectly happy to spend the summer with spoiled rich kids. No, wait. That didn't come out right. What I mean is I'm perfectly happy to be going to camp, because I'm perfectly happy doing anything these days. Deliriously happy. Jumping-on-couches-like-they're-trampolines happy.
Why? Because I'm finally a witch!
No, not witch as in mean or cranky. I don't pull my sister's hair or rip off her Barbies' heads. (Not that either of us still has Barbies. Okay, fine. Not that I still play with them. Sure, they're in a bag at the back of my closet, and I sometimes take them out just to see how they're doing, but that's it, I swear.) I have powers, like Hermione and Sabrina. Like my sister. And my mother.
We found out in February that my sister is a witch. My mom, who chose to live her adult life as a nonpracticing witch, had never mentioned anything about this particular family trait because she was hoping her powers would somehow skip over her kids. And for a while it looked like they had with me. But oh no, they didn't. Both of us are witches. Finger-snapping, broom-riding, spell-canting witches. Yes! And since I am a witch, nothing that could possibly happen this summer can burst my bubble of glorious happiness. I mean, hello? I finally have magical powers! I can zap up anything I want. More handbags? Presto. Tastier food? Kazam. Friends? Zap! Nah, I probably won't cast spells on any possible friends, since enchanting individuals is so morally wrong. But I could if I wanted to.
Why? Because I'm a witch!
But even if nobody in my bunk wants to be my friend this summer--and I don't see why they wouldn't, since none of them goes to my school, and therefore they don't know anything about my previous social mishaps (we were a bit wild and carefree with Miri's powers in the early days)--I won't care.
Why? Because I'm a witch!
Even if Raf doesn't fall in love with me this summer--yes, Raf Kosravi, the hottest guy in my class and, I should mention, the love of my life, is going to be at Wood Lake too--so what? It will be his loss.
Why? Because I'm a witch!
Okay, that's a lie. Not the witch part (yay!) but the part about Raf. I'd care a lot if he didn't fall in love with me. But you get my point.
My ego has gained about seven hundred pounds since I discovered my magic at prom last month. My mom and sister were thrilled for me, of course. Thrilled that I was happy--and thrilled that they would no longer have to listen to me complain about not having powers.
For the first week after prom, I could not resist zapping everything in sight. Lights. The television. Miri's stuff. "I'm doing it, I'm doing it!" I cheered while gleefully lifting her pillow.
Which is when my mom walked in and told me that I'd better relax with my magic. "If you want to go to camp, you have to promise to control yourself."
"Of course," I said. "But check it out! I've finally got game!"
Since my mom scores frighteningly low on the hip-ometer, I had to explain. "Technique. Ability. Style."
"Got it," she said, and left. And that was when the pillow exploded. Feathers and Miri's pink pillowcase shot across her room like confetti. "Sorry," I squealed.
"Game over!" Miri screamed, cowering against the wall.
"Tiny accident," I said sheepishly. "Don't tell Mom." I didn't want our mother to have any excuse to keep me home and away from Raf.
Where is he, anyway? I step up on my tiptoes and peer first into the busy street, then into Central Park. The six waiting buses are supposed to be picking up all the campers from Manhattan, but unfortunately, Raf doesn't seem to be one of them. I know he's going to be a camper at Wood Lake this summer. He told me he signed up. And he's been going for years. So where is he?
There are certainly lots of other cute boys, though. Not that I'm looking. Oh, no, my heart belongs to Raf.
Honk! Honk! Honk!
It's so loud in this city. And the noon sun is scorching and everyone looks uncomfortable and sweaty. Unlike Miri, I'm seriously looking forward to getting off the disgustingly smoggy island of Manhattan. Good-bye school, subways, and skyscrapers. Hello summer, suntan lotion, and sleeping bags!
My mom grabs me in a hug. "You two are going to sit together, right?"
"Yes, Mom, we'll sit together," I say from under her left armpit. She'd better not mess up my flawlessly applied mascara or perfectly straightened hair. It took me half an hour to get my ocean of a head to look flat, and this is probably the only time all summer my hair will be de-rippled. I bought myself one of those megapopular hair straighteners, and let me tell you, it makes my hair look flatter than the sidewalk we're standing on. But no matter how much I begged (I'm talking down-on-two-knees pleading), my annoying mother was convinced I'd burn down not only my cabin but the entire camp and forbade me to bring my flatiron with me. She's spent the past month mucho paranoid that I was going to burn down our apartment, and every time I emerged from my room minus my usual fuzzy crown, she ran straight inside to make sure I'd unplugged the iron.
I don't know what her problem is. I've only left it plugged in once.
Okay, twice, but still, I never started a fire.
Wait a sec. What am I even worried about? If my hair gets curly, I can just zap it straight. Hah! Straightening irons are for mere mortals. I am a witch. An Ÿber-powerful, glorious witch.
Crap. My stupid knapsack is rising again. Why is it doing that? I pull away from my mom to grab it, but this time I swing it over my left shoulder to keep it in place. I furtively look around the crowded street to make sure nobody saw my uplifting experience.
Nope. People do not appear to be scratching their heads in confusion or gasping in shock. Whew.
Lex, my mom's new boyfriend, returns from finding a parking space and takes hold of her hand. They've been inseparable since they started dating. Whenever I see them, they're holding hands, gazing lovingly into each other's eyes, or they're--
"Ugh," Miri says. "Can you please stop smooching in public? It's going to make me carsick."
"Bus sick," I say, and cringe. Now, that would make a great first impression. Still, I don't blame my sister one bit. All that smooching is, well, nauseating. And yes, my mom and Lex are kissing. Right here. On the street.
They're always kissing. They kiss in the kitchen when they don't realize we're watching. At restaurants when they forget we're sitting across from them. On Fifth Avenue between Eighty-fourth and Eighty-fifth when we're leaving for camp. Not gross, open-mouth kisses, but constant little love pecks that are highly embarrassing. I mean, really. I can't help noticing that random kids and tourists keep glancing over at the pair and grimacing. This is one of the reasons I begged my dad and my stepmom not to come see us off today. If it freaks me out, imagine how it would weird out my dad. The other reason is that my mom would have had to talk to Jennifer, and my dad would have had to meet Lex, and for some reason the idea of the four of them being on the same continent, never mind the same street, makes me want to hide under my covers. Divorce issues, anyone?
My mom giggles. Ever since she hooked up with Lex (or Old Man Lex, as Miri and I call him secretly, since he's like a hundred--okay, fine, probably only fifty--and since his bushy eyebrows and the eight strands of hair left on his head are gray), she's been doing a lot of giggling. "Miri," she says now, still clutching Lex's hand, "you'll keep an eye on your sister this summer, right?"
"Hey!" Is it normal that my mother is asking Miri, two years my junior, to look out for me? I think not.
"I want her to make sure you're careful with your"--she lowers her voice--"Glinda."
Is Glinda a doll? A Barbie that I'm insisting on taking to camp despite the risk of other campers mocking me for my infantile attachment?
Nope.
Glinda is my mom's new code word for magic. And yes, she named it after the good witch in The Wizard of Oz.
"I promise, Mom," I say. "I'll be careful with my Glinda."
Lex looks at my mom and then at me. He obviously has no idea who this Glinda is or why I have to take such good care of her. As close as they've become, Mom still hasn't told him her deep, dark secret. But since she never told my dad, I wouldn't hold my breath waiting for her to spill the beanies to the new man in her life.
She runs the bitten fingernails of her free hand through her short tinted blond hair. "Please don't use it, unless you absolutely have to."
Whatev.
"Have fun, girls," Lex says, squeezing both of us on the shoulder. Even though he spends every day with Mom, he hasn't quite reached the potential-stepfather, hug-the-daughters level yet. As nice as he is, we're not just going to start hugging some old man.
Fine, he's not that old. But he's pretty old.
"Take care of our mom, Lex," I say while tugging on Miri's wrist. "Let's go."
"Will do," he says. "Have fun, and remember to write home."
"We will!" I sing as I inch closer to the bus. Time to get this party on the road!
My mom makes a hangdog face. "Bye, girls. Love you."
"Love you!" Miri and I say simultaneously as we lean into yet another group (minus Lex) hug.
"I'll miss you," my mom says, her voice catching.
Aw. Oh, no. Itchy eyes! Itchy eyes! No, don't, don't . . .
"We'll miss you too," Miri says, and bursts into tears.
Sob. My tears are so going to mess up my mascara, run down my cheeks and my neck, and make my hair frizz.
"Name?" asks the pen-chewing girl standing in front of my gateway to happiness, aka the bus door. Her short blond ponytail is peeking out of her Mets baseball cap, and she's chomping on the end of the pen like it's a pretzel.
"Rachel Weinstein."
Chomp, chomp. "What grade did you just finish?"
"Ninth," I say proudly. I'm going into tenth grade. That is so old. I've practically graduated. I'm practically in college! I'm practically an adult. Next thing you know, I'll be driving my own car, having kids, sending them to camp. Omigod, that is so cute! My kids going to the same camp that I went to! The same camp that I'm going to, if this pen-chewer ever lets me onto the bus.
"You're an oldest Lion, then."
Roar? "Alrighty."
She takes another bite of the pen and it explodes into a navy blue mess on her lips.
"Um, you got some ink on you," I tell her.
She touches her face, then stares at the sticky blue on her fingers. "I hate when that happens," she says with a sigh. She ticks off my name and sighs again. "I'm Janice, your unit head."
I have no idea what a unit head is, but apparently it's stressful. "Hello, Unit Head Janice," I reply.
She studies her clipboard and sighs yet again. "You're going to be in bunk fourteen. And who are you?" she asks Miri.
As Miri introduces herself, I skip up the three steps into the excruciatingly hot bus. The backseats are filled with sweating and chattering teenage girls, all of whom abruptly stop talking the second they see me. They collectively look me up and down--I have no idea why, since we're all wearing the same assigned pale brown Camp Wood Lake cotton T-shirts and matching shorts--and resume their conversations.
Of course, at first I balked at wearing any kind of uniform, but these aren't too bad. A little boring, but not awful. The shirt says Camp Wood Lake in bubbly white and orange letters, and underneath there's a cute drawing of a girl and a boy in a white canoe. The shorts just say Camp Wood Lake across the butt. The glossy Welcome to Camp brochure explained that we'd have to wear it only today and during any out-of-camp trips. The brochure came with a funky DVD that flashed images of all the camp amenities (tennis courts, lakefront, arts and crafts, indoor swimming pool) while playing set-the-mood camp songs, like Green Day's "Time of Your Life" and Frankie Valli's "Stay," in the background.
Some of the seats in the middle are empty. I look for a place where Miri and I can sit together. Thank goodness she's on this bus. Imagine if I were all by my lonesome and had to sit by myself! I'd be known all summer as the girl who sat alone because no one wanted to talk to her. Just as I'm about to scoot into an empty seat, a tall brunette sitting three rows back stops talking to the two girls behind her, turns her head, and waves at me.
Huh? I look behind me to see if she's motioning to someone else. Nope, just me. Unless she's a nutcase who waves arbitrarily. Or maybe she's just done her nails and is air-drying?
"Hi, there," says the girl, looking into my eyes. "You can sit with me, if you want."
I am dumbfounded. The girl is smiley and not at all loserish-looking. Her layered curly dark hair is tied into a low ponytail, bangs clipped back, showing off clear skin, bright blue eyes, and a big smile. And she's friendly. "Sure," I say, plopping myself down next to her on the sticky leather seat, my backpack at my feet. Perfect! Miri can sit in the empty row across the aisle. It will be just like we're sitting together . . . except not.
"I'm Alison," the girl says.
"Rachel," I tell her.

From the Hardcover edition.

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Customer Reviews

Average Rating 4.5
( 123 )
Rating Distribution

5 Star

(94)

4 Star

(17)

3 Star

(4)

2 Star

(2)

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(6)

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See All Sort by: Showing 1 – 20 of 124 Customer Reviews
  • Anonymous

    Posted August 29, 2008

    I Loved It, and Highly recomend it!

    This book was absoulutly amazing! I finished it in a day! It was clearly the best out of the three in the series, mainly because you would never know what was going to happen next. But the one, and only, thing I didn't really like was that the end was a little bit dissapointing. But I am not going to say anything other than that! But other that that I give it 2 thumbs up!

    5 out of 5 people found this review helpful.

    Was this review helpful? Yes  No   Report this review
  • Posted June 1, 2009

    more from this reviewer

    I Also Recommend:

    spells and sleeping bags review by book_worm91

    This book was the best in the Magic in Manhattan series. This was one of my favorties. There was so much drama, backstabbering, and twist and turns throughout the book. Overall I recommend reading the series, there fun to read.

    2 out of 3 people found this review helpful.

    Was this review helpful? Yes  No   Report this review
  • Posted November 15, 2008

    more from this reviewer

    Reviewed by Taylor Rector for TeensReadToo.com

    Rachel has finally gotten her witch powers, but now she is being shipped off to camp, where she can't even practice. But do mom's rules stop her? Of course not! <BR/><BR/>Rachel gets to camp and has lots of issues. There are mosquitoes everywhere and her new step-mom keeps sending embarrassing personal care products. And the new girl in her bunk is a little weird -- maybe something weird like Rachel??? <BR/><BR/>What will she do and how will she handle Raff, the guy she has liked for such a long time, and who just happens to go to camp with her? <BR/><BR/>This is a cute addition to the series, following BRAS & BROOMSTICKS and FROGS & FRENCH KISSES. Rachel and Miri are as witty and funny as ever, and, as expected, there is a little romance, which makes this book irresistible! What teen girl wouldn't love to be a witch?

    2 out of 2 people found this review helpful.

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  • Anonymous

    Posted November 25, 2012

    If yu want 20 bucks...read this

    Fooled ya! But please keep reading!
    I cried when all of that stuff happened to rachel and her cousin is hr nemisis and she made a whole in her tent and made out with her boyfreind and the erased his memory of the kiss and she got rachels friend in trouble an hit hr boyfriend in he face with a canoe paddle and forced rachels friend to smoke with her powers an rachels cousin/ nemisis is also a witch and it drove me crazy when she was blackmailing rachel so they could trade places so she could escape her miserable life. But i was supried to find out the fight between rachels mom an aunt sasha was because hrr mom could have saved their mom from dieing but didnt because to save a life you have to give a life. I you want to know the rest...read the book yourself!

    1 out of 2 people found this review helpful.

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  • Posted July 10, 2011

    more from this reviewer

    "Yeah, a movie I've seen twice. The Parent Trap and then its remake."

    I love the way this book makes fun of itself. This is my favorite book in the series. More intense than the first two books but still hilarious. I'm glad it's not Rachel's magic that's causing havoc this time (okay maybe a little bit) but I won't spoil it here. Lots of new characters you'll wish could stick around in the next book but it's summer camp so that most likely will not happen. I read this book in one day because I couldn't put it down. It's just that much fun.

    1 out of 1 people found this review helpful.

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  • Anonymous

    Posted August 27, 2008

    OUTSTANDING!!!

    Another great and hilarious book from Sarah Mylnowski! I love all of her books, but this plot was her best. A great, hilarious, and easy read. For every page in this book, I had about 10 laughs. Great book for both adults and children.

    1 out of 1 people found this review helpful.

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  • Anonymous

    Posted July 4, 2008

    Amazing

    I read the other two books wich were great but this one was definitly the best. It had alot of twists and turns so you had no Idea what was going to be on the next page. It was very intresting. I loved it!

    1 out of 1 people found this review helpful.

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  • Anonymous

    Posted July 8, 2008

    A reviewer

    only one word-awesome... this book had so many plots and since it had things based on an average teenage girl's life, we can understand it more. please, PLEASE get parties and potions out already!!!!!!

    1 out of 1 people found this review helpful.

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  • Anonymous

    Posted December 6, 2013

    Realy

    Seriasly ya could have writen a beter bok
    Rock on54321

    Was this review helpful? Yes  No   Report this review
  • Anonymous

    Posted July 5, 2013

    Zing!

    Wat the@#&%$*/?!

    Was this review helpful? Yes  No   Report this review
  • Anonymous

    Posted May 15, 2013

    Anonymous

    I'll just start by saying to anyone who doesn't like bad language: this book has an awful lot of cussing in it. The word "darn" is translated to... I think you can guess... almost all the time. Other than that, though, the book is excellent. Rachel is finally a witch and gets to go to Camp Wood Lake. After Alison, her favorite bunkmate, is kicked out of camp, her stuck-up cousin Liana joins her bunk, befriends her sister Miri, steals Rachel's bunkmates Morgan and Carly from her, kisses her boyfriend Raf, and basically makes Rachel's life miserable. Soon Rachel finds out that Liana accomplished all that through magic because she's a witch too. After Miri tells Rachel that she's going with Liana to boarding school in Switzerland, Rachel is positive that Miri is cursed and cinfronts Liana, who promises to leave Miri alone if Rachel switches bodies with her. At first Rachel refuses, but after Liana nearly kills Raf, Rachel agrees but makes Liana promise not to hurt anyine she cares about. They switch bodies and Liana reveals that she only did it because she hates her boarding school in Switzerland and wants someone else's life. After a dramatic string of events, Rachel and Liana switch back and Liana's mother promises Liana a much happier life.

    Was this review helpful? Yes  No   Report this review
  • Anonymous

    Posted January 27, 2013

    If you want 20 bucks THANKS!!!

    Thanks For telling the whole book now theres no ponit in buying it!!!

    Was this review helpful? Yes  No   Report this review
  • Posted November 1, 2012

    more from this reviewer

    Loved It!!

    Spells and Sleeping Bags will make anyone either fondly remember her summers at camp, or wish that they had really gone. I love Rachel so much and I really felt glad she and Raf finally got together. I was a little thrown off by Liana and all that, but Rachel really tries to make things work, and learns to control her magic alot more. I cant wait to read Parties and Potions.

    Was this review helpful? Yes  No   Report this review
  • Anonymous

    Posted March 17, 2012

    Make a 5&6&7&8&9&10th book please

    I hate reading but when i read this i fell in love i read the it in three or four hours i just can not put it down i love it!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!

    0 out of 1 people found this review helpful.

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  • Anonymous

    Posted February 20, 2012

    Highly Recommended!

    This is my favorite book in the Magic in Manhattan series. It is so much fun! I never got to go to summer camp as a kid and this made me feel like I was actually there. Rachel again brings on the humor, especially because her magic is funky since she hasn't had her powers very long. This will always be one of my favorites!

    0 out of 1 people found this review helpful.

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  • Anonymous

    Posted December 30, 2011

    GREAT!!!

    I really liked this book. I thought that this was one of the best books I have read in my entire life. It is full of humor, magic, love and family. I would recomend this book to girls 11 to 16. I love this book and I hope other people will like it too. You must read this book!!!

    0 out of 1 people found this review helpful.

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  • Posted July 18, 2011

    My favorite!!!!!

    This is the best book of the series!!!!!!

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  • Posted July 4, 2011

    LOVE. THIS.BOOK.

    Rachel has developed her powers, and is told to tame her nature while at summer camp with Miri. Will she listen? Nope. But ***SPOILER*** something awful is lurking nearby. When her first friend is shipped away for smoking, she decides to invesitage and learns her worst enemy, Liana, is actually her cousin. Liana's mom and her mom are sisters! Liana is a free-loading witch who blackmails Rachel into taking her body so she can finally have the happy life she always wanted. But Liana's plan goes wrong when Rachel's family realizes they switched bodies; so Liana's mom comes over and they work everything out. I loved this book- I hated how evil Liana was, how she made Allison smoke, or took away Rachel's friends like Carly or Morgan- thank goodness Poodles stayed with her.

    0 out of 2 people found this review helpful.

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  • Posted June 18, 2011

    more from this reviewer

    READ THIS! AHAHA :D

    It was GREAT! It was finaly until Rachel gets her powers. It was about what happens when she's training and she messes up alot but gets it right.

    Was this review helpful? Yes  No   Report this review
  • Posted February 2, 2011

    awesome

    this book is a must see you cannt live til you see this book witches may not be in but this book sure is. Dont stay here reading thi review buy the book sample it something but do it fast.

    Was this review helpful? Yes  No   Report this review
See All Sort by: Showing 1 – 20 of 124 Customer Reviews

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