The Wizard's Dilemma: The Fifth Book in the Young Wizards Series

( 38 )

Overview

How do you fix what can't be fixed? Only the Transcendent Pig knows, and it's not telling. . . .
But Nita Callahan needs to find out—and soon. Her wizardly partnership with Kit has fallen apart. Much worse, her mother has gotten sick . . . so sick she may never leave the hospital.
Only one person can help Nita—the One she's devoted her life ...

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Overview

How do you fix what can't be fixed? Only the Transcendent Pig knows, and it's not telling. . . .
But Nita Callahan needs to find out—and soon. Her wizardly partnership with Kit has fallen apart. Much worse, her mother has gotten sick . . . so sick she may never leave the hospital.
Only one person can help Nita—the One she's devoted her life to fighting.

Teenage wizard Nita travels to other universes to find a cure for her mother who has brain cancer.

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Editorial Reviews

From Barnes & Noble
The Barnes & Noble Review
It's the wonderful world of wizardry, and adolescent spell casters Kit and Nita are about to face their biggest challenges yet in The Wizard's Dilemma, the fifth book in Diane Duane's magical Young Wizards series. Things between Kit and Nita are unusually tense these days, and they find themselves going their separate ways. Neither of them is happy about it, but they plug along as best they can, each of them exploring new realms of wizardly wonder. Then Nita's mother is diagnosed with cancer, throwing Nita's life into a total tailspin. For it seems that neither modern medicine nor ancient magic can cure this deadly disease...unless Nita makes a deal with the devil.

Kit and Nita both bide their time apart by exploring intriguing new alternate universes where things aren't always what they seem and the laws of physics and nature are often askew. In one such universe Nita must wage the ultimate battle for her mother's life, but her longtime nemesis, the Lone Power, is determined to see her fail. The Lone Power, who is in charge of all death throughout the universe, tempts Nita with the promise of a cure for her mother, though it comes at a horrible price. Nita considers making the sacrifice, but she hesitates because she has no guarantee that the Lone Power will hold up its side of the bargain. It turns out she is wise to be suspicious, for the Lone Power is planning a terrible double-cross that could cost Nita everything she values in life. The only person who suspects the truth is Kit, but will he and his faithful canine sidekick, Ponch, be able to find Nita in time to save them all from the Lone Power's revenge?

Duane crafts a wonderfully magical world -- several of them, in fact -- with enough teenage angst afflicting her characters to create strong appeal for readers 12 and older. Younger readers may be drawn to this world of wizardry as well, but several mature themes make parental discretion advisable. (Beth Amos)

From the Publisher
"Powerful and satisfying on many levels."—Kirkus Reviews (starred review)
"A gripping and dynamic fantasy. . . . Fans of the author will flock to this new adventure, which likely will bring new readers to the series."—VOYA
KLIATT
In the fifth book of the series, Nita Callahan is feeling some growing pains. After an argument with Kit Rodriguez, her partner in wizardry, over the best way to conduct a spell, Nita thinks maybe it's time to work alone. Her mother's sudden serious illness seems to clinch the decision as Nita draws on her resources to try to find a cure. Meanwhile, Kit has embarked on his own project, exploring a series of universes, and by the time he finds out about Nita's mother, it's nearly too late for him to help. The pace is well sustained and the characters continue to grow and develop. Duane isn't afraid of the hard questions in life and prefers to face them, as readers will learn. Readers of the series will lap this up, while it stands alone well enough to pique the interest of those who want a break from the nth reading of the Harry Potter books. (Young Wizards, book 5). KLIATT Codes: JS*—Exceptional book, recommended for junior and senior high school students. 2001, Harcourt, Magic Carpet, 422p., Scanlon
VOYA
Teenaged Nita and Kit had always been ideal partners and talented wizards, able to communicate perfectly and instantly—without disagreement—what they should do. Neither is prepared to deal with adolescent angst, and when they find themselves arguing about the proper spell for a problem, they wind up going their separate ways. Both are uncertain what to do to repair their rift, and new crises further complicate the situation. Nita's work is cut short by bad news—her mother has cancer, which appears incurable by either medical or magical means. Nita finds out that her younger sister Dairine's magic is too uncontrollable to help, and that if Nita is to help her mother, she will have to do it on her own. Nita knows that she is unlikely to learn enough to save her mother and becomes increasingly desperate. Her grave situation makes her vulnerable to the Lone Power—who offers her a Faustian bargain that would change her life and the universe forever. Readers unfamiliar with the first four books in Duane's Young Wizards series might not be as affected by Nita's turmoil but would still be captivated by it. This book can be read on several levels—as a gripping and dynamic fantasy for younger teens and a discussion for older teens about destiny and choice and one person's right to affect other lives. Fans of the author will flock to this new adventure, which likely will bring new readers to the series. VOYA CODES: 4Q 4P J S (Better than most, marred only by occasional lapses; Broad general YA appeal; Junior High, defined as grades 7 to 9; Senior High, defined as grades 10 to 12). 2001, Harcourt, 324p, $17. Ages 13 to 18. Reviewer: Betsy Fraser SOURCE: VOYA,August 2001 (Vol. 24, No. 3)
School Library Journal
Gr 6-8-Now 14, Nita bemoans the fact that she "kept running into problems for which wizardry either wasn't an answer, or else was the wrong one. And even when it was the right answer, it never seemed to be a simple one anymore." School is harder than ever before, and her wizarding partnership with her best friend, Kit, has been under stress, when the ultimate blow comes: her mother has intractable brain cancer. As in earlier books in the series, wizardry is an unusual hybrid of science fiction and fantasy conventions, in which interplanetary aliens and parallel uni-verses coexist with spells and talking trees. In this installment, the two friends each face a dilemma: Kit finds he can retreat forever into his own self-created heaven, but at the cost of giving up the fight against evil. Nita learns she can cure her mother's cancer, but only by sacrificing her powers to the Lone One, the source of all unhappiness in the universe. As the maturing wizards learn in the story's moving conclusion, there are no simple answers to decisions like these. A well-crafted plot, occasional dry humor, and appealing main characters will make this novel popular with readers new to the series as well as with Duane's fans.-Beth Wright, Fletcher Free Library, Burlington, VT Copyright 2001 Cahners Business Information.
Kirkus Reviews
In her fifth book in the Wizardry series, Duane (A Wizard Abroad, not reviewed, etc.) continues to raise the stakes for her young wizards-in-training. Nita, adrift in adolescent angst, quarrels with her fellow wizard Kit and threatens to dissolve their partnership. Hurt and puzzled, Kit embarks on an independent investigation into his dog's surprising ability to find and shape new universes. Nita, however, has a more daunting challenge: her mother has been hospitalized with an aggressive brain tumor, and Nita is determined to find a magical cure. But wizardry requires discipline and study, and always has a price. When even a crash course in changing the very laws of nature seems insufficient, a desperate Nita must undergo the ultimate temptation by the Lone Power, the source of death and sworn enemy of all wizards. Frequent references to earlier events and sketchy portrayals of secondary characters might confuse some readers. But at heart this is Nita's story, as she confronts her powerlessness in the face of mortality. Evocative imagery superbly conveys her anguish, determination, rage, and despair. The changing landscapes of various alternate universes provide subtle commentary on each character's physical, emotional, and spiritual state. Duane has the gift of presenting spirituality without sectarianism or sentimentality; and the final showdown between the Lone Power and Nita, Kit, and Nita's mother provides a harrowing but triumphant affirmation of the power of the human spirit. Powerful and satisfying on many levels. (Fiction. 11 )
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Product Details

  • ISBN-13: 9780152024604
  • Publisher: Houghton Mifflin Harcourt
  • Publication date: 8/28/2002
  • Series: Young Wizards Series , #5
  • Edition description: Reprint
  • Pages: 432
  • Sales rank: 438,674
  • Age range: 12 - 14 Years
  • Product dimensions: 4.19 (w) x 6.88 (h) x -11.00 (d)

Meet the Author

DIANE DUANE is the author of nearly fifty science fiction and fantasy novels, including eight previous books in the Young Wizards series: So You Want to Be a Wizard, Deep Wizardry, High Wizardry, A Wizard Abroad, The Wizard's Dilemma, A Wizard Alone, Wizard's Holiday, and Wizards at War. Four of her Star Trek novels have been New York Times bestsellers, including Spock's World. Ms. Duane lives with her husband in rural Ireland.

www.DianeDuane.com
www.youngwizards.com

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Read an Excerpt

Friday Afternoon

"Honey, have you seen your sister?"

"She's on Jupiter, Mom."

There was no immediate response to this piece of news. Sitting at a dining room table covered with notebooks, a few schoolbooks, and one book that had less to do with school than the others, Nita Callahan glanced over her shoulder just in time to catch sight of her mother looking at the ceiling with an expression that said, What have I done to deserve this?

Nita turned her head back to what looked like her homework, so that her mother wouldn't see her smile. "Well, yeah, not on Jupiter; it's hard to do that . . . She's on Europa."

Her mother came around and sat down in the chair opposite Nita at the table, looking faintly concerned. "She's not trying to create life again or something, is she?"

"Huh? Oh, no. It was there already. But there was some kind of problem."

The look on her mother's face was difficult to decipher. "What kind?"

"I'm not sure," Nita said, and this was true. She had read the mission statement, which had appeared in her copy of the wizard's manual shortly after Dairine left, but the fine print had made little sense to her-probably the reason why she or some other wizard had not been sent to deal with the trouble, and Dairine had. "It's kind of hard to understand what single-celled organisms consider a problem." She made an amused face. "But it looks like Dairine's the answer to it."

"All right." Her mom leaned back in the chair and stretched. "When will she be back?"

"She didn't say. But there's a limit to how much air you can carry with you on one of these jaunts if you're also going to have energy to spare to actually get anything done," Nita said. "Probably a couple hours."

"Okay . . . We don't have to have a formal dinner tonight. Everyone can fend for themselves. Your dad won't mind; he's up to his elbows in shrub right now, anyway." The buzz of the hedge trimmer could still be heard as Nita's dad worked his way around the house. "We can take care of the food shopping later . . . There's no rush. Is Kit coming over?"

Nita carefully turned the notebook page she'd been working on. "Uh, no. I have to go out and see him in a little while, though . . . Someone's meeting us to finish up a project. Probably it'll take us an hour or two, so don't wait for me. I'll heat something up when I get home."

"Okay." Her mother got up and went into the kitchen, where she started opening cupboards and peering into them. Nita looked after her with mild concern when she heard her mom's tired sigh. For the past month or so, her mom had been alternating between stripping and refinishing all the furniture in the house and leading several different projects for the local PTA-the biggest of them being the effort to get a new playground built near the local primary school. It seemed to Nita that her mother was always either elbow deep in steel wool and stain, or out of the house on errands, so often that she didn't have a lot of spare time for anything else.

After a moment Nita heaved a sigh. No point in trying to weasel around it, though, she thought. I've got problems of my own.

Kit . . . But it's not his fault . . . Is it?

Nita was still recovering from an overly eventful vacation in Ireland, one her parents had planned for her, to give Nita a little time away from Kit, and from wizardry. Of course this hadn't worked. A wizard's work can happen anywhere, and just changing continents couldn't have stopped Nita from being involved in it any more than changing planets could have. As for Kit, he'd found ways to be with Nita regardless-which turned out to have been a good thing. Nita had been extremely relieved to get home, certain that everything would then get back to normal.

Trouble is, someone changed the location of "normal" and didn't bother sending me a map, Nita thought. Kit had been a little weird since she got home. Maybe some of it was just their difference in age, which hadn't really been an issue until a month or so ago. But Nita had started ninth grade this year and, to her surprise, was finding the work harder than she'd expected. She was used to coasting through her subjects without too much strain, so this was an annoyance. Worse yet, Kit wasn't having any trouble at all, which Nita also found annoying, for reasons she couldn't explain. And the two of them didn't see as much of each other at school as they'd used to. Kit, now in an accelerated-study track with other kids doing "better than their grade," was spending a lot of his time coaching some of the other kids in his group in history and social studies. That was fine with her, but Nita disliked the way some of her classmates, who knew she was best friends with Kit, would go out of their way to remind her, whenever they got a chance, how well Kit was doing.

As if they're fooling anyone, she thought. They're nosing around to see if he and I are doing something else . . . and they can't understand why we're not. Nita frowned. Life had been simpler when she'd merely been getting beaten up every week. In its own way, the endless sniping gossip-the whispering behind hands, and the passed notes about cliques and boys and clothes and dates-was more annoying than any number of bruises. The pressure to be like everyone else-to do the same stuff and think the same things-just grew, and if you took a stance, the gossip might be driven underground . . . but never very far.

Nita sighed. Nowadays she kept running into problems for which wizardry either wasn't an answer, or else was the wrong one. And even when it was the right answer, it never seemed to be a simple one anymore.

Copyright © 2001 by Diane Duane
All rights reserved. No part of this publication may be reproduced or transmitted in any form or by any means,
electronic or mechanical, including photocopy, recording,
or any information storage and retrieval system,
without permission in writing from the publisher.
Requests for permission to make copies of any part of the work should be mailed to the following address:
Permissions Department, Harcourt, Inc.,
6277 Sea Harbor Drive, Orlando, Florida 32887-6777.
www.HarcourtBooks.com

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First Chapter

Friday Afternoon

"Honey, have you seen your sister?"

"She's on Jupiter, Mom."

There was no immediate response to this piece of news. Sitting at a dining room table covered with notebooks, a few schoolbooks, and one book that had less to do with school than the others, Nita Callahan glanced over her shoulder just in time to catch sight of her mother looking at the ceiling with an expression that said, What have I done to deserve this?

Nita turned her head back to what looked like her homework, so that her mother wouldn't see her smile. "Well, yeah, not on Jupiter; it's hard to do that . . . She's on Europa."

Her mother came around and sat down in the chair opposite Nita at the table, looking faintly concerned. "She's not trying to create life again or something, is she?"

"Huh? Oh, no. It was there already. But there was some kind of problem."

The look on her mother's face was difficult to decipher. "What kind?"

"I'm not sure," Nita said, and this was true. She had read the mission statement, which had appeared in her copy of the wizard's manual shortly after Dairine left, but the fine print had made little sense to her-probably the reason why she or some other wizard had not been sent to deal with the trouble, and Dairine had. "It's kind of hard to understand what single-celled organisms consider a problem." She made an amused face. "But it looks like Dairine's the answer to it."

"All right." Her mom leaned back in the chair and stretched. "When will she be back?"

"She didn't say. But there's a limit to how much air you can carry with you on one of these jaunts if you're also going to have energy to spare to actually get anything done," Nita said. "Probably a couple hours."

"Okay . . . We don't have to have a formal dinner tonight. Everyone can fend for themselves. Your dad won't mind; he's up to his elbows in shrub right now, anyway." The buzz of the hedge trimmer could still be heard as Nita's dad worked his way around the house. "We can take care of the food shopping later . . . There's no rush. Is Kit coming over?"

Nita carefully turned the notebook page she'd been working on. "Uh, no. I have to go out and see him in a little while, though . . . Someone's meeting us to finish up a project. Probably it'll take us an hour or two, so don't wait for me. I'll heat something up when I get home."

"Okay." Her mother got up and went into the kitchen, where she started opening cupboards and peering into them. Nita looked after her with mild concern when she heard her mom's tired sigh. For the past month or so, her mom had been alternating between stripping and refinishing all the furniture in the house and leading several different projects for the local PTA-the biggest of them being the effort to get a new playground built near the local primary school. It seemed to Nita that her mother was always either elbow deep in steel wool and stain, or out of the house on errands, so often that she didn't have a lot of spare time for anything else.

After a moment Nita heaved a sigh. No point in trying to weasel around it, though, she thought. I've got problems of my own.

Kit . . . But it's not his fault . . . Is it?

Nita was still recovering from an overly eventful vacation in Ireland, one her parents had planned for her, to give Nita a little time away from Kit, and from wizardry. Of course this hadn't worked. A wizard's work can happen anywhere, and just changing continents couldn't have stopped Nita from being involved in it any more than changing planets could have. As for Kit, he'd found ways to be with Nita regardless-which turned out to have been a good thing. Nita had been extremely relieved to get home, certain that everything would then get back to normal.

Trouble is, someone changed the location of "normal" and didn't bother sending me a map, Nita thought. Kit had been a little weird since she got home. Maybe some of it was just their difference in age, which hadn't really been an issue until a month or so ago. But Nita had started ninth grade this year and, to her surprise, was finding the work harder than she'd expected. She was used to coasting through her subjects without too much strain, so this was an annoyance. Worse yet, Kit wasn't having any trouble at all, which Nita also found annoying, for reasons she couldn't explain. And the two of them didn't see as much of each other at school as they'd used to. Kit, now in an accelerated-study track with other kids doing "better than their grade," was spending a lot of his time coaching some of the other kids in his group in history and social studies. That was fine with her, but Nita disliked the way some of her classmates, who knew she was best friends with Kit, would go out of their way to remind her, whenever they got a chance, how well Kit was doing.

As if they're fooling anyone, she thought. They're nosing around to see if he and I are doing something else . . . and they can't understand why we're not. Nita frowned. Life had been simpler when she'd merely been getting beaten up every week. In its own way, the endless sniping gossip-the whispering behind hands, and the passed notes about cliques and boys and clothes and dates-was more annoying than any number of bruises. The pressure to be like everyone else-to do the same stuff and think the same things-just grew, and if you took a stance, the gossip might be driven underground . . . but never very far.

Nita sighed. Nowadays she kept running into problems for which wizardry either wasn't an answer, or else was the wrong one. And even when it was the right answer, it never seemed to be a simple one anymore.


Copyright © 2001 by Diane Duane
All rights reserved.
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Customer Reviews

Average Rating 4.5
( 38 )
Rating Distribution

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(26)

4 Star

(8)

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(4)

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See All Sort by: Showing 1 – 20 of 28 Customer Reviews
  • Anonymous

    Posted January 8, 2002

    Not enough words to describe how I felt about this book!!

    This book....how do I begin, is one of the best books I have read in my life. Nita has to save her mother's life from cancer...but she needs help. She cant turn to her best friend Kit...they had a argument and are not speaking to each other, Parayl, an alien, cant help her either (read to find out why). The only help she has been offered is from the one person (or thing) she loaths, the Lone Power! I recommend this book to anyone willing to read something they will be talking about for ages. A remarkable book and I loved it!

    1 out of 1 people found this review helpful.

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

    Posted January 13, 2002

    This is an awesome book!

    This is a really really REALLY great book (if I added enough reallys to describe it I wouldn't have had enough room). I really hope that Diane Duane writes more sequels to this series, as I enjoy reading them so much! I would recommend this book to anyone who likes fantasy/sci-fi stories. This book makes you want to sit down and do absolutely nothing until you finish it.

    1 out of 1 people found this review helpful.

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  • Anonymous

    Posted October 30, 2008

    Who Will She Save???

    The Wizard¿s Dilemma by Diane Duane is a wonderfully written fantasy book. Nita and Kit are usually in modern-day New York. This book exceeded my expectations by an enormous amount. It will send you on an emotional roller coaster and it is impossible to put down. The heartbreaking ending will surely leave you teary-eyed. <BR/>Nita is faced with possibly the hardest decision she¿s ever had to make. She¿s stuck between a rock and a hard and a hard place, fighting with a double edge sword, if you will. Nita¿s mom is diagnosed with cancer. Dairine has too much power to help, so Nita is stuck to deal with this on her own. The only person who can save her mom is her arch enemy, the one that she hates with a burning passion and devoted her life to destroying; The Lone One. The Lone One proposes an offer to spare Nita¿s mom¿s life, and the only thing she¿ll need to do is give up wizardry. If she doesn¿t accept this offer, Nita¿s mom will surely die. The only one who knows the answer to Nita¿s problems is the Transdescent Pig, and no advice will slip from his mouth. Nita¿s relationship with Kit has been better in the past. She¿s truly alone, and no one, not even Kit or Dairine can help her. Will Nita be able to fight off the cancer, or will she die in the process? Will the Lone One kill her mom, or will Nita lose all of her wizardry? The Wizard¿s Dilemma is much more realistic and complicated that the previous books in the series. Although Nita is the protagonist, this is the first time that we hear Kit¿s side of the story. Like most of Diane Duane¿s other books, it got a little confusing with everything that¿s going on. This is a serious book, dealing with a serious topic. <BR/>The Wizard¿s Dilemma is a must read for anyone who has read the Young Wizard¿s series. It is an action packed drama full of loyalty and love. It can be either a quick and easy read, or you could spend months analyzing everything in it. To get the most out of this book, it would help if you read the other books in the series. After reading this, you will want to hug all of your loved ones to express how much they mean to you.

    0 out of 1 people found this review helpful.

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  • Anonymous

    Posted June 15, 2006

    GREAT!!!!!!!!!

    It was awsome! Two versions of complexicity! The story is good vs. evil but which side's which?

    0 out of 1 people found this review helpful.

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  • Anonymous

    Posted May 21, 2004

    i love this book

    I loved the book it drew me in and made me cry at the end when I found out that nita's mom was going to die I cried for what seemed minutes on end if I could I would give this book all the stars in the night sky.

    0 out of 1 people found this review helpful.

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  • Anonymous

    Posted July 2, 2003

    Great Book

    This entire series is really great. This author has a very vivid imagination and that really comes out in her books! I'd read this one, the ones before it, and the ones that are still to come out.

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  • Anonymous

    Posted May 18, 2003

    Two Books in one Cover

    The Wizard¿s Dilemma is a greatly intriguing book full of mystery and wonder. Though, fortunately and unfortunately, it also has a quite simple plot, good verse evil. This allows it to be read on two levels right verse wrong or a few different groups all both right and wrong. Now the second one actually is tied into the first in this book when the main character has trouble seeing what is right and what is wrong, with all sides seeming both right and wrong. I¿ve read all of the series up to this book and, unfortunently, none of them have seemed to have two levels as complex as the two in The Wizard¿s Dilemma. I don¿t know whether they truly don¿t or if it was just that I was only 10 when I read them and am now 13. I plan on re-reading the first books in the series to see which it is. Overall I thought it was both a book you can sit down and just read without any thought and a book that you could take months to slowly read and, completely dissect and discuss with a group of people over a month, and would think that everyone should try to read at least one chapter of it at that higher level, at least for the amazing experience of being able to see more than is written.

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  • Anonymous

    Posted November 12, 2002

    Totally AWESOME

    I love this book. This book is more serious than the others, but is my favorite of the first five. Nita's mother gets sick and Kit and Nita aren't talking. Find out what happens!!!!!

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  • Anonymous

    Posted September 23, 2002

    Love it! Wanna marry this book!

    I absolutely adored this great book! I've read every book in the series but this is my favorite! Please read it! I reccomend it to everyone!!!

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  • Anonymous

    Posted August 22, 2002

    Outstanding

    This book is the best. Nita and Kit's latest adventure had me reading as fast as I could to find out what would happen. Nita desperately tries to find a cure for her mother's cancer. But the end of the story had the most surprising end. It surprised me completely. It had an ending that was neither happy or sad. I definetly recommemend this book to anyone.

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  • Anonymous

    Posted July 15, 2002

    A great story of bravery!

    The Wizard's Dilemma is an awesome book. Its about a young wizard, named Nita who has to save her mother from brain cancer. The reason the book is so good is that it teaches many life lessons. This book can teach you about not only courage and bravery, but also about friendship, love, family, and trust. It is a good example of how freinds and family have to stick together when times get rough.

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  • Anonymous

    Posted August 31, 2002

    I LOVE IT and the others in the series

    I can't even think why I didn't get it sooner. I love every book Ms. Duane has writen so far. I read all of the "Young Wizard Series" and loved them all as much as the other she has writen. I can't wait till I can read "A Wizard Alone"

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  • Anonymous

    Posted January 26, 2002

    A non-stop reader, hopefully a future writer, and a brain like Nita and Dairine

    This book was one of the best books I've ever read! I literally sat in a chair and did not move until I'd finished. I thought it was really sad that her mom had cancer, and I know what it feels like because my friend's mom had cancer, and I think Diane Duane was really good at capturing the emotions and stages you go through. 100 stars!!

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  • Anonymous

    Posted June 8, 2001

    The Best Book To Start The Summer Out Right

    This is such a good book. I can't wait for Duane to write the next book in this on going journey. I literally sat there and read this whole book, which means this is a really great book. I hope that you will read this book also.

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  • Anonymous

    Posted November 28, 2008

    No text was provided for this review.

  • Anonymous

    Posted October 29, 2008

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  • Anonymous

    Posted December 27, 2009

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  • Anonymous

    Posted November 14, 2008

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  • Anonymous

    Posted January 3, 2010

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  • Anonymous

    Posted July 20, 2011

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