A debut contemporary novel about 11-year-old aspiring magician Ethan, who discovers that heroes come in all sizes, and real magic can be found in the most unexpected places.
When life revolves around stressed-out parents and ER visits for his special needs little brother Jake, eleven-year-old Ethan escapes to a world of top hats, trick decks, and magic wands. When he hears of a junior magic competition where the top prize is to meet and perform with his hero, Magnus the Magnificent, Ethan is determined to do whatever he needs to get thereand to win.
His dedication and hard work pay off, and he makes it to the top five finalists: his dream really could come true! Then Jake falls dangerously ill and Ethan's hopes and plans are in jeopardy. As he searches for any sort of magic that might save Jake, Ethan learns what is truly important . . . and what real magic is.
|Publisher:||Running Press Book Publishers|
|Product dimensions:||5.50(w) x 8.30(h) x 1.10(d)|
|Age Range:||8 - 12 Years|
About the Author
Naomi Milliner has a Bachelor's Degree in English and a Master's in Screenwriting from USC Film School. As a long-time member of SCBWI, she created the Authors Book Club (ABC) for published authors and illustrators to share their journey with other members. She has also served on the Women's National Book Association's Great Group Reads Committee since 2009. She lives in Maryland, with her husband and sons.
Most Helpful Customer Reviews
Naomi Milliner's debut novel is based on her own family, and the authenticity of her experience shines from every page. Eleven-year-old Ethan yearns to perform magic tricks and meet his hero Magnus the Magnificent, but family life is complicated: He has an adoring first grade brother Freddy and a baby brother, Jake, who is brain damaged and can't speak or move much. Jake requires nearly round the clock care, along with a small army of therapists and helpers, and a big chunk of the parental attention. While many middle grade books deal with family trauma and dysfunction, Super Jake stands out as a story of a family that remains whole and deeply loving despite trials and setbacks, some of them life-threatening. We ache with Ethan when he doesn't get all the attention he needs because of the daily routines of tending to Jake, but Ethan never loses his kindness, hope, and spirit. He's a *nice*, big-hearted kid in a *nice* big-hearted family, and that foundation gives him the resilience to grow and learn. One of the most important lessons Ethan learns is that there are all kinds of magic. The real magic of consideration, love, and generosity makes meaning in life well beyond card tricks and slights of hand. Sometimes the dreams we have are not the dreams we need. This lovely, necessary, and heartfelt story is an important one not only for young people growing up in families with special needs kids, but to foster understanding and empathy in all readers. Bonus: Whoop! Five of the magic tricks Ethan performs in the course of the book are explained with instructions at the end. I expect kids will love this! Note: I read an advance readers copy provided by the publisher.
Make sure to read it with a box of tissues! It's not often that a book can make me both laugh and cry at the same time, but this one did it! Ethan was funny and sincere, but not sappy or unrealistic. My heart ached for him as he tried to be the strong big brother, holding it all together with a brave face while he worried that everything might fall apart. "... every once in a while, if you're fortunate, you get to be a part of real magic." Super Jake is absolutely magical!