Thursday, 19 February 2015

Worry Magic - Book Review

Worry Magic - Book Review
Dawn McNiff
MG Contemporary

Courtney is a worrier -she’s worried about EVERYTHING, from her mum and dad’s constant fights,to her gran being ill to the fact that her best friend Lois suddenly seems to be more interested in growing up and hanging out with the mean girl, Bex.

But then one day, during a particularly bad argument kicked off by her dads discovery of a pig in their lounge (don’t ask…) Courtney begins to feel a bit funny … a bit woozy … a bit like a dream is coming on - and then when she wakes up everything is better! Mum and Dad are being nice to each other, the pig is going back to the animal shelter (really, don't ask…) and even Kyle, her older brother seems to be making an effort.

Courtney becomes sure that each time she feels woozy and has her dreams, she’s magicking her problems and worries away. Her mum, dad and brother aren't so sure though. Can Courtney convince everybody that her worry magic dreams are the perfect way to solve her problems? Or should she learn to worry a little less and to ask for help in some non-magical places more?


This was a sweet and interesting read and I thought Dawn McNiff perfectly captured the voice of a twelve year old girl - especially one who is prone to worrying! 

The story follows Courtney and the mad-eccentrics of her family. Her mother in particular is a little crazy. Volunteering at the local animal shelter she is constantly bringing home abandoned and mistreated animals but the Pig is the final straw for Courtney’s dad who is already stretched thin over worry for his own mother, Courtney’s grandmother, who is sick in hospital.

But as her parents screaming matches become worse and worse, Courtney feels the world around her begin to spin. She dreams her parents happy and when she wakes up, she is surprised to find that everything has gone back to normal - better than normal as not only are her parents actually being nice to each other, but all her problems seem to have disappeared. What else could this be but worry magic!

Confident in her new found power, Courtney now plots a way to see her grandmother, who up until now has been deemed too sick for visitors, but Courtney knows she can use the worry magic to make her better. If only she can get to the hospital. But as the week goes on, Courtney finds the worry magic working less and less - she needs to see her grandmother now before the magic disappears forever. But is it really worry magic making everything better… or is it something else entirely…?

There were many things I enjoyed about this book. The first being Courtney’s many worries that related very well to things I myself often worried about as a pre-teen. Things like people trying to steal my best friend, or wondering if I was cool enough or too childish compared to my other mates. It made me laugh to read these simplistic things that, once upon a time, seemed like such huge and important fears. 

I also liked the variety of characters. Courtney’s brother Kyle, with his geeky habits yet caring heart really moved me with his clumsy attempts to protect his sister from their parents fights. And I liked how Lois, Courtney’s best friend, was a level headed and generally kind hearted person who didn't dwell on mistakes.

However what really grabbed me about this story was the underline that sometimes you forget to look at the world through a child's perspective. Parents often make the mistake  of forgetting that kids can be particularly astute at picking up on bad situations, despite their efforts to hide away all the bad things in the world - such was the case with Courtney’s parents. 

This book also teaches lessons in honesty and  highlights the merits that come with being open and sharing your fears and worries with another person. No one should suffer in silence and I loved how Courtney shared everything in letters to her grandmother.

The only thing that I didn't like about this story was the mothers character  - she just seemed very immature and caused so much conflict within the household. However I suppose from a younger persons perspective she would just appear like a really fun/cool mother but personally I couldn't help but find her annoying and selfish. Yet I could also see why Courtney turned into such a a worrier.

However overall I enjoyed this book and think it would be perfect for any girls who are prone to worries. Full of little ideas on how to deal with anxieties, it was a nice, reassuring sort of read that many pre-teens can easily relate too. Definitely a good book for those seeking some comfort or reassurance when the world feels unsteady beneath your feet. 3 stars!

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