I was skeptical of our most recent read-aloud in the first place. My daughter brought it home from a school book fair and we kept passing over it, but after our last read-aloud she wanted to go buy another book and I was like, "Hold on there. Check out this stack of 5 or 6 books we haven't even read yet!" Of course she picked this one.
We started reading it and while it didn't grab me, it seemed pleasant enough. Then I checked out the reviews on Goodreads. Mostly positive, which was nice for a first-time novelist, I believe. So we continued reading and man, it never grabbed me. At all. It wasn't so horrible that we gave up on it, but my lovely bride and I both did not savor it at all. I hated the multiple exclamation points and question marks. I know it's from a child's point of view, but it's not an epistolary novel so that was just obnoxious.
The other thing was the magic. Yes, it has characters with magical abilities in it but it's this child's play kind of magic that just presents itself whenever needed and just come off like kids playing pretend. "Well, then, I 'll do a forgetting spell and you'll forget!"
Worst of all, for me, was the voice. It's from a child's point of view (I can't remember how old, between nine and eleven somewhere). This kid keeps learning Meaningful Lessons every few chapters that just sounded like they were written by an after school special scriptwriter and not an actual child.
Way too much telling and not enough showing in this book. ugh.
So anyway, not my favorite. Luckily we have a couple of much better choices coming up and I should be finishing some other books soon to write up.