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Wizard's Holiday

Wizard's Holiday

4.4 30
by Diane Duane

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Rest and relaxation--that's what Nita thinks she's going to get when she and her partner-wizard Kit go on a wizardly "cultural exchange" program. But nothing about wizardry--not even vacation--is ever quite that simple!


Rest and relaxation--that's what Nita thinks she's going to get when she and her partner-wizard Kit go on a wizardly "cultural exchange" program. But nothing about wizardry--not even vacation--is ever quite that simple!

Editorial Reviews

Publishers Weekly
In the seventh book in the Young Wizards series, Wizard's Holiday by Diane Duane, Nita and her friend Kit go on vacation to a planet halfway across the galaxy, as part of a wizard cultural exchange program. Meanwhile, three very strange alien wizards visit Nita's father and her sister Dairine on Earth. Copyright 2003 Reed Business Information.
Children's Literature
The seventh book in the "Young Wizards" series finds Nita and Kit off on a much needed vacation from their siblings—an intergalactic visit to the blissful planet Alaalu. It's meant to be total relaxation by the beach, but those strange dreams and whispers in the night keep interfering . . . You got it. The wiz kids have to fix yet another world. Meanwhile, back in the States, Nita's little sister Dairine is hosting three aliens in the family home: a giant centipede, a tree, and a pompous young princeling. Filif, the tree, is actually a charmer and pulls off most of the humor in the book with his interest in the local mall and its decorations (day-glow underwear as "root coverings.") Unfortunately such amusing interspecies moments end with the need for Dairine and her buddies to save the Earth from its sudden moment of crisis. Diane Duane's pseudo science is fairly impressive, but alas she resorts to borrowings from Rowling's Harry Potter books and old Star Treks for her intergalactic transportation system. Once you get past Duane's sci-fi techno jargon and plots, the story is at heart another tale of adolescent attempts at coping. 2003, Harcourt, Ages 10 to 14.
— Kathleen Karr
Nita is amused but not surprised when her little sister, Dairine, gets in trouble. Dairine is to be sanctioned for trying to register herself and Nita for a wizardly exchange program. When their father agrees that Nita and her wizarding partner, Kit, may be the subjects of the exchange, Nita is thrilled. Her preparations start the dual story line of the seventh book in the Young Wizards series. Nita and Kit are sent to Alaalu, a utopian world where the overcoming of the Lone Power means that all beings live serenely without aging, pain, or death. But it is a life that both Nita and Kit find surprisingly wrong. Back on Earth, Dairine and her father prepare for the three visitors at their side of the exchange: Sker'ret, a giant centipede; Flif, a walking tree; and Roshaun, an alien prince. The visitors each have their own perspectives of Earth, and their requirements bring humor to the book. Both story lines develop serious turns, and it is up to the planets' visitors to work quickly with the natives to save both planets from a desperate fate. Unlike in other books in this series, Duane takes the time here to develop most minor characters, including family members, giving a reader unfamiliar with the series a chance to catch up and find out the backstory. The story is also lighter than the preceding books, which should appeal to a much wider audience, both in age and in gender. Readers interested in books about wizards will appreciate one that offers not only a serious consideration of the use of magic but also its users. VOYA Codes: 4Q 4P M J S (Better than most, marred only by occasional lapses; Broad general YA appeal; Middle School, defined as grades 6 to 8; Junior High, defined asgrades 7 to 9; Senior High, defined as grades 10 to 12). 2003, Harcourt, 300p., Ages 11 to 18.
—Betsy Fraser
After saving the galaxy for six entire books, Nita and Kit deserve a holiday. So when they get the opportunity to participate in a wizards' "cultural exchange" program, they jump at it. Meanwhile, back on Earth, Nita's father and her sister Dairine play host to three alien teenage wizards. But both idylls turn serious, as Nita and Kit discover that their perfect host world is a little too perfect, and that an aspect of their old adversary, the One Power, literally has a foothold there. Meanwhile, Dairine finds that her charges are no slouches in the magic business, even the extremely arrogant prince Roshaun. Well before the two weeks are up, two worlds are in peril, and six teenage wizards rush to save the day. A great series that only gets better. Essential for libraries that already own the series, and those that don't should buy all the books. (The Young Wizards, Book 7). KLIATT Codes: JS*—Exceptional book, recommended for junior and senior high school students. 2003, Harcourt, 424p., Ages 12 to 18.
—Deirdre Root
School Library Journal
Gr 6-8-What would a cultural exchange program be like on a galactic scale? Dairine Callahan wants to find out, and, without obtaining permission, makes plans to go, along with her older sister Nita, on a trip to another planet while alien wizards visit their home on Earth. When Dairine is found out and grounded, her surprisingly amenable father still allows her to host the guests as planned. Meanwhile, Nita; her best friend, Kit Rodriguez; and Kit's dog, Ponch, spend two weeks on Alaalu, a planet that seems halcyonic. Back at home, Dairine is thrilled to welcome Filif, a sentient tree, and Sker'ret, a large purple caterpillarlike creature, but Roshaun, an arrogant humanoid, threatens to make the entire experience miserable. However, on both Alaalu and Earth, the Lone Power continues to work in unpredictable ways. The wizards discover that they may not be on holiday after all, and that the civilizations of both planets are in danger of annihilation. While the narrative moves at a more leisurely pace than in preceding novels, the presentation of imaginative scenarios and challenges that are anything but clear-cut provide enough interest for fans of the series. New readers will have incentive to seek out the earlier books.-Farida S. Dowler, formerly at Bellevue Regional Library, WA Copyright 2003 Reed Business Information.

Product Details

Houghton Mifflin Harcourt
Publication date:
Young Wizards Series , #7
Sold by:
Houghton Mifflin Harcourt
Sales rank:
810L (what's this?)
File size:
4 MB
Age Range:
10 - 12 Years

Read an Excerpt

That Getaway Urge

It was the Friday afternoon before the start of spring break. The weather was nothing like spring. It was cold and gray outside; the wind hissed unrepentantly through the still-bare limbs of the maple trees that lined the street, and in that wind the rain was blowing horizontally from west to east, seemingly right into the face of the girl, in parka and jeans, running down the sidewalk toward her driveway. Except for her, the street was empty, and no one looking out the window of any nearby house was close enough to notice that the rain wasn't getting the young girl wet. Even if someone had noticed, probably nothing would have come of it; human beings generally don't recognize wizardry even when it's being done right under their noses.

Nita Callahan jogged up her driveway, unlocked the back door of her house, and plunged through it into the warmth of the kitchen. The back door blew back and slammed against the stairwell wall behind her in a sudden gust of wind, but she didn't care. She pushed the door shut again, then struggled briefly to get her backpack off, flinging it onto the kitchen counter.

"Freedom!" she said to no one in particular as she pulled off her jacket and tossed it through the kitchen door onto the back of one of the dining room chairs. "Freedom! Free at last!" And she actually did a small impromptu dance in the middle of the kitchen at the sheer pleasure of the concept of two weeks off from school...though the dancing lasted only until her stomach suddenly growled.

"Freedom and food," Nita said then, and opened the refrigerator and stuck her head into it to see what was there to eat.

There was precious little. Half a quart of milk and half a stick of butter; some small, unidentifiable pieces of cheese bundled up in plastic wrap, at least a couple of them turning green or blue because of the presence of other life-forms; way back in a corner, a plastic-bagged head of lettuce that had seen better days, probably several weeks ago; and a last slice of frozen pizza that someone, probably her sister, Dairine, had left in the fridge on a plate without wrapping it, and which was now desiccated enough to curl up at the edges.

"Make that freedom and starvation," Nita said under her breath, and shut the refrigerator door. It was the end of the week, and in her family, shopping was something that happened after her dad got home on Fridays. Nita went over to the bread box on the counter, thinking that at least she could make a sandwich-but inside the bread box was only a crumpled-up bread wrapper, which, she saw when she opened it, contained one rather stale slice of bread between two heel pieces.

"I hate those," Nita muttered, wrapping up the bread again. She opened a cupboard over the counter, pulled down a peanut butter jar, and saw that the jar had been scraped almost clear inside. She rummaged around among various nondescript canned goods, but there was no soup or ravioli or any of the faster foods she favored-just beans and other canned vegetables, things that would need a lot of work to make them edible.

Nita glanced at the clock. It was at least half an hour before the time her dad usually shut his florist's shop on Fridays and came home to pick up whoever wanted to go along to help do the shopping. "I will die of hunger before then," Nita said to herself. "Die horribly."

Then she glanced at the refrigerator again. Aha, Nita thought. She went to the wall by the doorway into the dining room and picked up the receiver of the kitchen phone.

She dialed. The phone at the other end rang, and after a couple of rings someone picked up. "Rodriguez residence..."

Behind the voice was a noise that sounded rather like a jackhammer, if jackhammers could sing. "Kit? How'd you beat me home?"

"My last-period study hall was optional today...I was finished with my homework so I went home early. What's up?"

"I was going to ask you that," Nita said, raising her voice over the racket. "Is your dad redoing the kitchen or something?"

She heard Kit let out an exasperated breath. "It's the TV."

"It's acting up again?" Nita said. Kit's last attempt to use wizardry to repair his family's new home entertainment system had produced some peculiar side effects, such as the TV showing other planets' cable channels without warning.

"Neets," Kit said, "it's worse than just acting up now. I think the TV's trying to evolve into an intelligent life-form."

Nita's eyebrows went up. "That could be an improvement..."

"Yeah, but evolution can have a lot of dead ends," Kit said. "And I'm getting really tempted to end this one with a hammer. The TV says it's meditating...but most things get quieter when they meditate."

She snickered. "Knowing your electronics, you may need that hammer. Meanwhile, I don't want to talk about your TV. I want to talk about your refrigerator."

"Uh-oh," Kit said.

"Uh-oh," something inside Nita's house also said, like an echo. She glanced around her but couldn't figure out what had said it. Weird..."Kit," Nita said, "I'm dying here. You saw what lunch was like today. Nothing human could have eaten it. Mystery meat in secret sauce again."

"Fridays are always bad in that cafeteria," Kit said. "That's why I eat at home so much."

"Don't torture me. What's in your fridge?"

There was a pause while Kit walked into his kitchen, and Nita heard his refrigerator door open. "Milk, eggs, some of Carmela's yogurt drinks, beer, some of that lemon soda, mineral water, half a chocolate cake, roast chicken-"

"You mean cold cuts?"

"No, I mean half a chicken. Mama made it last night. You've had this recipe before. She rubs it with this hot-smoked paprika she gets from the gourmet store, and then she stuffs it with smoked garlic, and then she-"

Nita's mouth had started to water. "You're doing this on purpose," she said. "Let me raid your fridge."

"Hey, I don't know, Neets, that chicken breast would be pretty good in a sandwich with some mayo, and I don't know if there's enough for-"


He snorted with laughter. "You really need to get your dad to buy more food when he shops," Kit said. "You keep running out on Friday. If he'd just-"


Kit laughed harder. "Okay, look, there's plenty of chicken. Don't bust your gnaester. You coming over later?"

"Yeah, after we shop."

"Bring a spare hammer," Kit said. "This job I'm doing might need two."

"Yeah, thanks. Keep everybody out of the fridge for five minutes. See you later, bye!"

Nita hung up, then stood for a moment and considered her own refrigerator. "You know what I've got in mind," she said to it in the Speech.

And you keep having to do it, the refrigerator "said." Being inanimate, it wasn't actually talking, of course, but it still managed to produce a "sound" and sensation that came across as grumpy.

"It's not your fault you're not as full as you should be, come the end of the week," Nita said. "I'll talk to my dad. Do you mind, though?"

It's my job to feed you, the refrigerator said, sounding less grumpy but still a little unhappy. But in a more usual way. Talk to him, will you?

"First thing. And, in the meantime, think how broadening it is for you to swap insides with a colleague every now and then!"

Well, I guess you've got a point, the refrigerator said, sounding more interested. Yeah, go ahead...

Nita whistled for her wizard's manual. Her book bag wriggled and jumped around on the counter as if something alive were struggling to get out. Nita glanced over and just had time to realize that only one of the two flap-fasteners was undone when the manual worked its way out from under the flap and shot across the kitchen into her hand.

"Sorry about that," she said to the manual. "Casual wizardries, home utilities, fridge routine, please..."

Copyright © 2003 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.

Meet the Author

DIANE DUANE is the author of more then twenty science fiction and fantasy novels, among them the eight books in the Young Wizards series. She lives in rural Ireland.

DIANE DUANE is the author of nearly fifty science fiction and fantasy novels, including ten books in the Young Wizards series. Four of her Star Trek novels have been New York Times bestsellers, including Spock's World. She lives with her husband in rural Ireland. Visit her online at www.DianeDuane.com and www.youngwizards.com.

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Wizard's Holiday: The Seventh Book in the Young Wizards Series 4.5 out of 5 based on 0 ratings. 31 reviews.
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
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The book was really good
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DANIELLE Ellis More than 1 year ago
Another stunning and hilarious addition to the wizards series I thuroughly enjoyed this book. I am sure other youngreaders will also love this book about other worlds and other sentinate beings.
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Guest More than 1 year ago
I love this series and this book was amazing, Kit and Nita keep getting closer and closer together, the only fault though may lie with the darkness and death the obvious foes in the seires, they aren't expressed quite clearly, but over all this book was fantastic.
Guest More than 1 year ago
Perhaps my favorite Young Wizards book so far, this great book is full of all the mechanics that set Diane Duane's books apart. I loved the plotline about Dairine playing host to the alien wizards, especially her conflicts with Roshaun. I highly recommend it to all fantasy lovers!!
Guest More than 1 year ago
I wish i could have put more stars but barnes and noble must think there has to be a limit to everything . This book was great and Ihave to say it was the best in the series. I think Raushaun could have been nicer but this was good.I canot wait until the next comes in and I can see what happens next.Look allover the site for more of my reviews if you like fantasy.
Guest More than 1 year ago
One of the highlights of this book is its split story-whenever things get even stranger for one part, it switches to the other characters. Dairine's animosity with Roshaun is very entertaining, and Mr. Callahan's friendship with Filif is hilarious. Nita and Kit's adventures on Alaalu is clever, but too slow-paced. The largest (and most noticeable) flaw is the first half of the book: it's been basically summed up by the summary of the book, so it's dull. However, as we get farther into the book, it becomes like a normal 'Young Wizards' book once more. A very good read.
Guest More than 1 year ago
I am a fan of the entire young wizards' series, and i absolutely Loved it! The book was far more conclusive than anything else in the series.
Guest More than 1 year ago
I borrowed this book from my library and thought it was absolutley great. Each time i was really getting into one side of the story Diane Duane would show me the rest of the story for a while. Any idea when the paperback is going to come out?