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Spell Sweeper

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Most students at Dragonsong Academy spend their days practicing spells and wielding wands, but after flunking her sixth-grade standardized tests, Cara Moone is on the fast track to becoming a MOP (a.k.a. Magical Occurrence Purger). See, when a real wizard casts a spell, it leaves behind a residue called spell dust—which can be dangerous if not disposed of properly. It’s a Most students at Dragonsong Academy spend their days practicing spells and wielding wands, but after flunking her sixth-grade standardized tests, Cara Moone is on the fast track to becoming a MOP (a.k.a. Magical Occurrence Purger). See, when a real wizard casts a spell, it leaves behind a residue called spell dust—which can be dangerous if not disposed of properly. It’s a MOP’s job to clean up the mess. And no one makes more of a mess than Dragonsong Academy’s star student, Harlee. Widely believed to be the Chosen One who’s destined to save the magical world, she makes magic look easy. So of course she’s Cara’s sworn nemesis. Or she would be, if she even knew Cara existed. But then Harlee’s spells begin to leave behind something far worse than spell dust: rifts in the fabric of magic itself. Soon Cara begins to suspect that the so-called “Chosen One” isn’t going to save the world. She’s going to destroy it. It will take more than magic to clean up a mess this big. Fortunately, messes are kind of Cara’s thing.


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Most students at Dragonsong Academy spend their days practicing spells and wielding wands, but after flunking her sixth-grade standardized tests, Cara Moone is on the fast track to becoming a MOP (a.k.a. Magical Occurrence Purger). See, when a real wizard casts a spell, it leaves behind a residue called spell dust—which can be dangerous if not disposed of properly. It’s a Most students at Dragonsong Academy spend their days practicing spells and wielding wands, but after flunking her sixth-grade standardized tests, Cara Moone is on the fast track to becoming a MOP (a.k.a. Magical Occurrence Purger). See, when a real wizard casts a spell, it leaves behind a residue called spell dust—which can be dangerous if not disposed of properly. It’s a MOP’s job to clean up the mess. And no one makes more of a mess than Dragonsong Academy’s star student, Harlee. Widely believed to be the Chosen One who’s destined to save the magical world, she makes magic look easy. So of course she’s Cara’s sworn nemesis. Or she would be, if she even knew Cara existed. But then Harlee’s spells begin to leave behind something far worse than spell dust: rifts in the fabric of magic itself. Soon Cara begins to suspect that the so-called “Chosen One” isn’t going to save the world. She’s going to destroy it. It will take more than magic to clean up a mess this big. Fortunately, messes are kind of Cara’s thing.

30 review for Spell Sweeper

  1. 4 out of 5

    Shannara

    I absolutely adored this from start to finish. Starting with the snarky, but lovable main character, Cara Moone, to the spunky sweet magic fox, Zuki, I thoroughly enjoyed just about all the characters. Even the bad guys and gals added an interesting spark to the story, Cara is your basic nobody, unable to really do a whole lot of magic and definitely not the chosen one. By the way, any and all references to our beloved HP are totally intentional and humorous. Another piece of added fun to this b I absolutely adored this from start to finish. Starting with the snarky, but lovable main character, Cara Moone, to the spunky sweet magic fox, Zuki, I thoroughly enjoyed just about all the characters. Even the bad guys and gals added an interesting spark to the story, Cara is your basic nobody, unable to really do a whole lot of magic and definitely not the chosen one. By the way, any and all references to our beloved HP are totally intentional and humorous. Another piece of added fun to this book. Although our main character is not the chosen one, she makes for such a great protagonist who almost always does the right thing! You’ll have to read the book to get elaboration on that!! I laughed quite a bit and the story was so interesting that I was into it the whole time! That’s not always the case for a middle grade read, so I feel like that’s saying a lot. This was magical in every way and I wholly recommend this to those who enjoy a good wizardly middle grade read. Thanks so very much to NetGalley, Lee Edward Födi, and Harper Collins for the opportunity, nay, the pleasure of reading this for my honest and unbiased opinion!!!

  2. 4 out of 5

    Lee Födi

    Dear reader, I obviously can’t provide an objective review of my own book—but I can tell you a little about why I wrote it. First of all, you might wonder what I was thinking, writing a book about wizard school! The Harry Potter books are so popular and authoritative that anything in this genre is merely standing in their shadow. (Hey, that’s the power of J.K. Rowling's characters, setting, and world-building.) Instead of trying to ignore this behemoth of a series, I tried to play upon it, giving Dear reader, I obviously can’t provide an objective review of my own book—but I can tell you a little about why I wrote it. First of all, you might wonder what I was thinking, writing a book about wizard school! The Harry Potter books are so popular and authoritative that anything in this genre is merely standing in their shadow. (Hey, that’s the power of J.K. Rowling's characters, setting, and world-building.) Instead of trying to ignore this behemoth of a series, I tried to play upon it, giving my main character Cara a slightly satirical tone as she confronts certain fantasy tropes and, depending on her mood, is either impressed by them being fulfilled or miffed that they have been contradicted. In writing Spell Sweeper, I wasn’t thinking only of Harry Potter, but of the long line of fantasy books, movies, and TV shows that populate this genre (though at the same time understanding that for many of my readers, their own references may go no further than Rowling’s books). I was thinking about Jane Yolen’s Wizard’s Hall, T.H. White’s The Once and Future King, The Chronicles of Narnia, The Worst Witch, Terry Pratchett’s Discworld books, Star Wars, Buffy the Vampire Slayer, Firefly . . . the list goes on. There’s always a mentor, a magical talisman used to finish the quest, a prophecy of a chosen one. (I’m particularly fascinated by the concept on the archetypal “chosen” character. I invite you to google “The Chosen,” which is an excellent two-part series from CBC’s IDEAS podcast.) Well, as for my exact inspirations for Spell Sweeper, here is some of what I included in the author’s note at the back of the book . . . In 2004, I met a like-minded dreamer named Joon-hyoung Park who was seeking a writing program for his daughters to take. He couldn’t find the right type of workshop, so he decided to invent one—and he wanted my help. The next thing you know, Joon and I had started a creative writing program in Vancouver for immigrant kids from Asia (our own school of magic!). Our workshops blossomed and bloomed, and now we host many programs for kids from all walks of life. We write stories, draw pictures, brew potions, build dragon eggs—you name it! My wife and I have enjoyed an additional privilege—the opportunity to visit Asia to teach creative writing at schools, libraries, and education centers (I’ve been to Korea over twenty times!). Reading the stories by these creative kids—and about their dreams, desires, and fears—has definitely played a role in the creation of Dragonsong Academy. Something else happened during my many trips to Asia. I began seeing brooms. Everywhere. There was always one leaning against a park bench or in the corner of a temple, as if impatiently waiting for its owner to return. I started photographing these brooms because—well, that’s what I do. Something catches my interest, I take a photo, make a sketch or note in my brainstorming journal, just in case I need it down the road. I began imagining that these brooms contained hidden and unusual magic—my second strand of inspiration. Coming back from a trip to Vietnam and Cambodia, I remembered something else: My grandfather used to make his own brooms! He grew the broomcorn, harvested it, and bound them to broomsticks. I never saw my grandfather build a broom (I really wish I had), but I realized I had one of his creations in the dusty corner of my closet. I had never dared to use the broom, but I dug it out as inspiration. Then, on a subsequent visit to my parents, I scavenged their house to find they had their own collection of my grandfather’s handmade brooms. They all have the same humble construction—and, if you ask me, their own type of magic. Clearly, these brooms have been lingering in my subconscious all these years, waiting for me to tell their story. The final bit of inspiration for this book came from an exchange that I’ve had many times with students. It happens almost exactly the same each time; I’m wrapping up a class or a school visit and a student approaches me and asks, “Are you famous?” I always answer the same: “I think the answer is in your question!” They inevitably press me on the matter: “But don’t you want to be famous?” “No!” I cry with the passionate zeal of an introvert. “I want to be a writer.” I have always asked my students to focus on craft over reward—but who can blame them for their yearnings? Every writer, artist, actor I know (including me!) has craved accolades and recognition, has experienced those “why not me?” or “when is it my turn?” moments. My time as a teacher and speaker has prompted me to ponder our personal definitions of failure and success—and from these musings came the character of Caradine Moone. It is my hope that her journey (even though it involves not flying on a broom) rings true for readers.

  3. 5 out of 5

    Belles Middle Grade Library

    Wowza! This was absolutely phenomenal! It makes me want to read the other books I have by this author ASAP. This was different & unique in so many ways, at least to me. What a genius idea to have the witch/wizarding world to actually use a broom to SWEEP, & find the whole idea of RIDING one absurd! Lol I have to admit, the things pointed out about how riding them would NOT be fun, made a LOT of sense! Then, this was a different take on the usual “chosen one” approach. The whole time I thought th Wowza! This was absolutely phenomenal! It makes me want to read the other books I have by this author ASAP. This was different & unique in so many ways, at least to me. What a genius idea to have the witch/wizarding world to actually use a broom to SWEEP, & find the whole idea of RIDING one absurd! Lol I have to admit, the things pointed out about how riding them would NOT be fun, made a LOT of sense! Then, this was a different take on the usual “chosen one” approach. The whole time I thought there would be a twist & 1 thing would be revealed-but nope! But that’s the TYPICAL thing that would usually happen. So I was very impressed the author took his own path, & appreciated that. Cara is my kind of MC. Characters like her remind me a little of myself at that age. It’s so hard to say everything amazing about this book, because there are so many. From the magic system itself. To the school & the wizards & that whole backstory. To what a sweeper means & everything that goes along with that. The Bliss humans & what that means. Cara, & her family-including a sister who used to be her biggest protector, but has turned into a mean stranger. Then you have wizard whistles, talismans, the occuli, & magical creatures..I don’t want to say more so you can discover everything yourself. Then the characters are soooooo good! From Harlee-who you can’t quite decide whether she’s good or bad, the chosen one or not..To Gusto who is just the sweetest. For some reason, Master Quibble has a special place in my heart-he really grew on me, & I really enjoyed his character. I absolutely loved Nova. So cute! And all the meaning behind choices made with her, & the outcome. Zuki has my heart though. I love that little guy so much. The twists at the end that come out!? Floored, & never saw coming! The villain?! Soooo well done! I was so engrossed, & couldn’t put it down, especially when things really started to unfold & the twists started happening. Every part of this was so fascinating & engrossing really. So many great messages as well. Everyone is dealing with something. Even the ones who look like they have it all, are perfect, or you think they couldn’t possibly have any reason to complain. Everyone has something. Also, believing in yourself, & loving who you are for who are. Accepting yourself. We are each special in our own way. We are all significant. We all matter. Chosen “one” is so silly when you think about it, because none of the chosen ones could “save the world” without their friends by their side. Everyone can be a chosen one. This book would be perfect for any kid who ever read the typical chosen one stories, but couldn’t ever see themselves as those characters I think(don’t get me wrong, I love all those stories too lol). There’s also chapters between the main actual chapters, that Cara kind of talks to you, gives info. Whether it’s facts about school, sweeping, her sister, or even memories she shares. I really loved that. I don’t don’t if this is a series, but I hope so. There are a couple things I wonder how they end up turning out. This comes out this coming Tuesday November 30th! HIGHLY recommend! Absolutely STUNNING cover by Maike Plenzke too!💜

  4. 5 out of 5

    Ben Gartner

    My 10yo and I loved reading Spell Sweeper together. This was a great read-aloud book because, in addition to the exciting twists and turns, there were many laugh-out-loud moments that made us pause and giggle with each other. That's the best! The story was quirky and hilarious, like the grandma's funny overuse of "hashtag" trying to be cool. My son definitely wants a three-tailed fox now. Besides the fun bits, this story had real meat and was a well-crafted narrative with strong characters and re My 10yo and I loved reading Spell Sweeper together. This was a great read-aloud book because, in addition to the exciting twists and turns, there were many laugh-out-loud moments that made us pause and giggle with each other. That's the best! The story was quirky and hilarious, like the grandma's funny overuse of "hashtag" trying to be cool. My son definitely wants a three-tailed fox now. Besides the fun bits, this story had real meat and was a well-crafted narrative with strong characters and realistic, subtle development arcs. I especially enjoy a good twist, and this book had several! I won't include spoilers, but I will say that the reveal about the occuli was surprising. Did not see that coming, nor did we anticipate the twist about the leader of the Cipher. We also enjoyed the clever details sprinkled throughout, such as the fun chapter titles ("That Sinking Feeling You Get When You're--Well, Sinking"). And sheesh, cliffhangers galore. It was like a boxer getting pummeled in the ring! Another reason it was a great read-aloud. "One more!" was a constant refrain. On a personal note, I very much appreciated the theme that two contradictory things can be simultaneously true, that we can be more than one thing and that’s okay. If any kid reading this book takes that to heart, they'll be one up on me at that age... I also really loved the Author's Note, specifically about his grandfather’s handmade brooms. Beautiful. My thanks to the author for an advance reader copy.

  5. 4 out of 5

    Kathie

    Thank you to Edelweiss+ and the publisher for an eARC of this book. I LOVED the author's Zoone series, so I was worried about how I might feel about a new stand-alone book by him. I'm happy to report that Spell Sweeper is a fantastic read! The author calls it "wizard school meets Ghostbusters," which I think is an excellent way to describe it. Caradine (Cara) Moon attends Dragonsong Academy but was recently demoted to MOP (Magical Occurrence Program). It's her job to clean up after "real" wizards Thank you to Edelweiss+ and the publisher for an eARC of this book. I LOVED the author's Zoone series, so I was worried about how I might feel about a new stand-alone book by him. I'm happy to report that Spell Sweeper is a fantastic read! The author calls it "wizard school meets Ghostbusters," which I think is an excellent way to describe it. Caradine (Cara) Moon attends Dragonsong Academy but was recently demoted to MOP (Magical Occurrence Program). It's her job to clean up after "real" wizards and sweep away the dust that's left behind when they cast a spell. But a black, oozing, destructive goo is wreaking havoc on the wizarding world, and Cara is suspicious that star student Harlee Wu is behind it. When the MOP team is sent on a mission with Harlee to uncover who is behind the threat to the magical Field, Cara realizes there's more to Harlee than meets the eye, and there are secrets that also connect her to the rogue magic. One of the things I most love about the author's writing is his world-building. I can almost picture Dragonsong Academy and its grounds, Seattle's secret neighbourhood, the ship where…(oops, can't say any more about that!) There's a cast of unique supporting characters, such as Zuki, a three-tailed magic fox familiar belonging to Cara's instructor, Master Quibble, and a rapidly growing creature named Nova. There is so much humour in the story, including the chapter headings, but I also really like that alliances are tested, and Cara is never really sure who she can trust. She also develops confidence in herself and her ability to use her limited magic in her own way. I would definitely recommend this story for fantasy lovers in Gr. 5-7, especially those who have enjoyed the author's earlier books.

  6. 5 out of 5

    Sam Subity

    This was a super fun read that plays with and debunks all the tropes of wizarding worlds and "chosen ones" in clever and hilarious ways. I was immediately drawn to the main character, Cara, whose failures in wizarding school have landed her in janitorial duty cleaning up after other wizards' messes. A great underdog story that will keep you cheering through all of Cara's misadventures to the end! This was a super fun read that plays with and debunks all the tropes of wizarding worlds and "chosen ones" in clever and hilarious ways. I was immediately drawn to the main character, Cara, whose failures in wizarding school have landed her in janitorial duty cleaning up after other wizards' messes. A great underdog story that will keep you cheering through all of Cara's misadventures to the end!

  7. 5 out of 5

    Stephanie

    I am so excited to share this book with all of you! Cara Moone and her voice are a knockout: funny, relatable, conversational, and with a massive—and massively endearing—chip on her shoulder. It’s a delightfully dysfunctional adventure that feels fresh, fun, and absolutely fantastic.

  8. 4 out of 5

    Kate

    Spell Sweeper is a fabulous, non-stop thrill ride from beginning to end! Lee Edward Fodi has created a world with wonderfully cheeky references to other stories about magical schools (main character Caradine 'Cara' Moone is disappointed that the paintings don't move), but a world that is wholly its own. Non-magic folk are 'Blisses' (because, you know, ignorance is...), those who clean up magical messes are known as MOPs (Magical Occurrence Purgers) and brooms are used not for flight but for spel Spell Sweeper is a fabulous, non-stop thrill ride from beginning to end! Lee Edward Fodi has created a world with wonderfully cheeky references to other stories about magical schools (main character Caradine 'Cara' Moone is disappointed that the paintings don't move), but a world that is wholly its own. Non-magic folk are 'Blisses' (because, you know, ignorance is...), those who clean up magical messes are known as MOPs (Magical Occurrence Purgers) and brooms are used not for flight but for spell sweeping (broom travel is terribly impractical). Clever chapter titles abound, there are cliffhanger endings aplenty, and lots of laugh-out-loud moments (like an utterly hilarious grandmother who talks in hashtags). Young readers will absolutely fall in love with this magical adventure! Thank you to the author, Harper Children's, and Edelweiss for the eARC.

  9. 4 out of 5

    C. S.

    A solid Middle Grade adventure. I enjoyed the interplay of upside down tropes of magical schools and hidden societies. The protagonist has a clear, mostly enjoyable voice, but her obsessive behavior can be irritating at best and worrying at worst. The ending was satisfying but felt like it came too late. So much time is spent for the main character to realize there are other ways to view the world than hers. I did appreciate that in the end, The Chosen One was going to save the world through civi A solid Middle Grade adventure. I enjoyed the interplay of upside down tropes of magical schools and hidden societies. The protagonist has a clear, mostly enjoyable voice, but her obsessive behavior can be irritating at best and worrying at worst. The ending was satisfying but felt like it came too late. So much time is spent for the main character to realize there are other ways to view the world than hers. I did appreciate that in the end, The Chosen One was going to save the world through civic engagement rather than physical (or even magical) strength. A good fit for young fans of The Owl House and, obviously, Harry Potter

  10. 5 out of 5

    Mahtab Narsimhan

    Fantastic ride through the magical world of Dragonsong Academy. Superb plot twists which culminate in a resounding climax which resonates! For fans of Harry Potter, this book is a must read. Highly Recommended!

  11. 4 out of 5

    Aly

    3.5 stars This was a cute book with a fun twist on wizard lore and a message that anyone can make a difference. We follow Cara Moone, a wizard who's been put in the M.O.P. program, wizards who clean up magic dust after big spells are cast. She's discouraged that she doesn't have more power and isn't important like the great Harlee. When spells start going awry and darkness is on the horizon, Cara starts to suspect that Harlee may be up to no good. I really liked that Cara wasn't a 'chosen one' an 3.5 stars This was a cute book with a fun twist on wizard lore and a message that anyone can make a difference. We follow Cara Moone, a wizard who's been put in the M.O.P. program, wizards who clean up magic dust after big spells are cast. She's discouraged that she doesn't have more power and isn't important like the great Harlee. When spells start going awry and darkness is on the horizon, Cara starts to suspect that Harlee may be up to no good. I really liked that Cara wasn't a 'chosen one' and was support to other wizards. It was refreshing to see an average girl realize that she's capable of great things and learn to believe in herself. Occasionally Cara was a bit spiteful and did the wrong thing, but she's young and learning. I liked her friends and the way they came together to stop the evil going on. The adults in the story were the most frustrating, not listening to Cara and unwilling to look closer into what was happening. I also got a bit lost a couple times, not quite understanding the wizard world or the evil happening. Overall, I thought this was a fun story, fast paced, and had cute characters. I voluntarily read and reviewed this book. Thank you to Harper Audio and NetGalley for the copy.

  12. 4 out of 5

    Ms. Yingling

    E ARC provided by Edelweiss Cara is in wizard school, but because her magic is in need of remediation, she is in the Magical Occurence Purger track along with her friend Gusto. She gets to sweep up the remains of magic from spells cast by stars like Harlee Wu. Dragonsong Academy, and their teacher Mr. Quibble, don't treat the students in the MOP program very well, and Cara is very bitter about this, and about Harlee's ascendence and treatment. Will her skills be useful in solving the academy's pr E ARC provided by Edelweiss Cara is in wizard school, but because her magic is in need of remediation, she is in the Magical Occurence Purger track along with her friend Gusto. She gets to sweep up the remains of magic from spells cast by stars like Harlee Wu. Dragonsong Academy, and their teacher Mr. Quibble, don't treat the students in the MOP program very well, and Cara is very bitter about this, and about Harlee's ascendence and treatment. Will her skills be useful in solving the academy's problems? Cara was so very bitter ("I'm going to wizard school. And it's terrible.") that I had trouble enjoying being at the academy. There were certainly a lot of good details about how things would work at a school for young wizards, and I appreciate that the author drew on lots of books about magical schools (Yolen's Wizards Hall!), but I think ultimately this was a bit too young for my students. Definitely take a look if academy books are popular with your students.

  13. 5 out of 5

    rylanne burdette

    Spell Sweeper was a magical and adventurous middle-grade story that follows Cara Moone, a struggling wizard who realizes just how strong she really is. Full of entertaining characters and an exciting plot, I thought this was a cute book! I love the middle-grade genre, so Spell Sweeper was fun to listen to. Thank you to NetGalley and Harper Audio for the audio ARC of Spell Sweeper by Lee Edward Födi!

  14. 4 out of 5

    Rebecca

    Caradine Moone was thrilled when she was accepted to the secret wizard school on Dragonsong Island, but her Harry Potter dreams seemed to crash and burn pretty quickly when she flunked a sixth grade standardized test and wound up a Spell Sweeper. As far as Cara's concerned, that's a magic custodian, and definitely not what she wants to be, certainly light years away from the world inhabited by so-called Chosen One Harlee Wu, the school's wunderkind. Will Cara's bitterness keep her from seeing he Caradine Moone was thrilled when she was accepted to the secret wizard school on Dragonsong Island, but her Harry Potter dreams seemed to crash and burn pretty quickly when she flunked a sixth grade standardized test and wound up a Spell Sweeper. As far as Cara's concerned, that's a magic custodian, and definitely not what she wants to be, certainly light years away from the world inhabited by so-called Chosen One Harlee Wu, the school's wunderkind. Will Cara's bitterness keep her from seeing her real value? Well, if they did, this wouldn't be nearly as good a book as it is, but by the same token, Cara realizing her worth too soon would also tank it. Fodi maintains a beautiful balance between Cara's (and Harlee's) rebellion against the system and the unfolding of the multiple character truths unveiled throughout the text, and the resulting story is one that both lets readers know that being The One may not be everyone's thing, but also that sometimes being the Chosen One is a matter of choosing yourself. There are some heavy themes in here, such as feelings of betrayal, sibling rivalry, death, and alcoholism stemming from PTSD, but Fodi largely handles them well. The issues between Cara and her sister Su are particularly well done, because they shape so much of who Cara is versus how others perceive her (and how she sees herself). Other characters, such as Yuna and Gusto, could definitely have used a bit more development, mostly just feeling there rather than like active participants in the story. But you know what? I'd still take this over Harry Potter any day. It's a much more unique take on the Chosen One trope, a story that shows that coming-of-age isn't a one-adventure deal, and that before anyone else can really choose you...you really do have to choose yourself.

  15. 5 out of 5

    Mary

    Being a part of the coveted wizarding world is a dream come true for everyone except for seventh grader Caradine Moone. Instead of learning to wield magic and adopt her own animal companion, Cara’s level of magical skill places her in the ranks of the spell sweepers, where she learns how to clean up the messes left behind by other wizards. And because she comes from a Bliss—or non magical—family, Cara has to keep the true nature of her time at Dragonsong Academy a secret. Though initially strugg Being a part of the coveted wizarding world is a dream come true for everyone except for seventh grader Caradine Moone. Instead of learning to wield magic and adopt her own animal companion, Cara’s level of magical skill places her in the ranks of the spell sweepers, where she learns how to clean up the messes left behind by other wizards. And because she comes from a Bliss—or non magical—family, Cara has to keep the true nature of her time at Dragonsong Academy a secret. Though initially struggling to fit in everywhere, when mysterious events begin to take place at Dragonsong, Cara finds herself more deeply involved than she could have ever predicted while on a journey to discover where she truly belongs. Reflections of the wizarding world popularized by the Harry Potter series are pervasive in this story that is at once a tale of self discovery and a commentary about what human traits are most valuable. Despite Cara feeling like her role as a spell sweeper is a demotion, the story frequently proves that this is not the case; though she does not follow the traditional wizarding path, Cara’s role is no less important. The world-building in this book is done unconventionally, through the use of intermediary chapters that go into more detail about relevant aspects of Cara’s story. Whether speaking about the wizarding world specifically or Cara’s life outside of that, these brief interjections give readers a deeper understanding of Cara’s reality while allowing the plot to continue separately. Colloquial phrases and social media references form the backbone of this narrative, connecting readers to a magical world that is not so different from their own. From a hashtag-spouting grandma to mentions of Instagram and TikTok, this story is placed squarely in the present day. Juxtaposed against familiar dialogue are vivid and complex descriptions that expand a reader’s vocabulary while using just the right combination of words to appropriately depict each moment. Magic is the tether connecting this story of family, friendship, and finding one’s place in the world. Though leading to a satisfying conclusion, readers are left with many unanswered questions that make a sequel likely. This is a delightfully constructed magical adventure for middle grade readers who do not always recognize their true worth.

  16. 4 out of 5

    Kathy

    Very fun and quite quirky. You’ll love the main character, Cara. We’ve all been in her place in our lives but our janitor work wasn’t cleaning up magic messes:) I could liken this to Harry Potter or Elizbeth Rain’s Rule Academy 9 series, but it is its own book. Its own feeling and its own theme. It’s also not all fun and games. There are some deep subjects touched on in the plot and all are handled well by the author. A must read for a middle grade reader or a YA reader or...an old reader like me Very fun and quite quirky. You’ll love the main character, Cara. We’ve all been in her place in our lives but our janitor work wasn’t cleaning up magic messes:) I could liken this to Harry Potter or Elizbeth Rain’s Rule Academy 9 series, but it is its own book. Its own feeling and its own theme. It’s also not all fun and games. There are some deep subjects touched on in the plot and all are handled well by the author. A must read for a middle grade reader or a YA reader or...an old reader like me.

  17. 5 out of 5

    Vane Wayne

    First of all I would want to thank netgalley for providing me with an advance reader copy in an exchange for my honest opinion. I enjoyed reading this book but from the very beginning I could see a lot of similarities with Harry Potter. There is nothing bad with Harry Potter similarities or references for I enjoy Harry Potter. I also want to say that even though it had those similarities it was also a unique story with unique characters that really pop out in the book. Our main character is Cara First of all I would want to thank netgalley for providing me with an advance reader copy in an exchange for my honest opinion. I enjoyed reading this book but from the very beginning I could see a lot of similarities with Harry Potter. There is nothing bad with Harry Potter similarities or references for I enjoy Harry Potter. I also want to say that even though it had those similarities it was also a unique story with unique characters that really pop out in the book. Our main character is Cara Moone who is a spell sweeper at Dragonsong Academy. She’s always wanted to be more of a wizard. Harlee Wu is popular she is what you would call “The Chosen One” and of course Cara Moone doesn’t like Harlee. Then we have Zuki the magical fox that has three tails; super cute and cool. This book reminds me of Harry Potter in many ways! I feel like when the book has “the chosen one” trope they tend to be just okie for me but also very fun to read. This is a middle grade fantasy that I would recommend for anyone 10 years and older. It is fun, magical, and full of adventure!

  18. 5 out of 5

    Librarian Kult

    This fun and sassy tween book is perfect for fans of any magical school series. Cara was not born into the wizarding world, but was taken out of the "Bliss" world (non-magical) when she showed that she has magical abilities. Unfortunately, her magical abilities aren't sufficient and she ends up as a M.O.P. who cleans up after the other wizards' spells. Now her life in wizard school is just like it was in Bliss school - bullies, detention, and teachers who don't understand. Födi manages to write This fun and sassy tween book is perfect for fans of any magical school series. Cara was not born into the wizarding world, but was taken out of the "Bliss" world (non-magical) when she showed that she has magical abilities. Unfortunately, her magical abilities aren't sufficient and she ends up as a M.O.P. who cleans up after the other wizards' spells. Now her life in wizard school is just like it was in Bliss school - bullies, detention, and teachers who don't understand. Födi manages to write a relatable female wizard whose sarcasm will make readers laugh. One of my favorite parts of the book were the little asides that poked fun at other magical school series! At the same time, some of the wizarding slang Cara used seemed overused. I loved the magical creatures throughout the story. Födi describes them in such a way that I could visualize these animals without any prior knowledge of what they look like. Actually not true - Ninetails and Zuki are definitely related so I just thought of a less regal Pokemon for Zuki (don't tell him I said that though!). Cara brings a totally new perspective to the wizarding world and I hope her story will give tween readers the confidence to question why things are how they always have been. I haven't been able to determine if this is the first book in a series but I really hope it is! #SpellSweeper #NetGalley

  19. 5 out of 5

    Dorothy

    Review to come

  20. 5 out of 5

    Amy Ayan

    Thank you, Lee Fodi, Netgalley, and HarperCollins Children's for the advanced copy of this book. What a wonderful addition to the middle-grade fantasy books. I loved the main character Cara and her take on the magic system. She is so relatable and not the usual chosen one type of MC. I I especially loved the unexpected twists and turns and also the funny moments this book offers. The writing is clever and drew me in right from the first page. I highly recommend this book to all fantasy lovers. Can’ Thank you, Lee Fodi, Netgalley, and HarperCollins Children's for the advanced copy of this book. What a wonderful addition to the middle-grade fantasy books. I loved the main character Cara and her take on the magic system. She is so relatable and not the usual chosen one type of MC. I I especially loved the unexpected twists and turns and also the funny moments this book offers. The writing is clever and drew me in right from the first page. I highly recommend this book to all fantasy lovers. Can’t wait to read more by the author.

  21. 4 out of 5

    Aria

    Spell Sweeper is a fun and unique middle grade fantasy, and I loved every page. One thing that I love about a lot of middle grade is that it tends to be more fast paced, which Spell Sweeper definitely was. I flew through the book, reading it in just a couple of days, and every page was engaging! All of the characters are well thought out and very well developed. Cara Moone, the main character, is a student at Dragonsong Academy, a school for wizards, which is pretty amazing for her, especially si Spell Sweeper is a fun and unique middle grade fantasy, and I loved every page. One thing that I love about a lot of middle grade is that it tends to be more fast paced, which Spell Sweeper definitely was. I flew through the book, reading it in just a couple of days, and every page was engaging! All of the characters are well thought out and very well developed. Cara Moone, the main character, is a student at Dragonsong Academy, a school for wizards, which is pretty amazing for her, especially since she comes from a family of Blisses (nonmagical people, since they’re pretty ignorant about all the magic stuff, and, well, ignorance is bliss). Or at least it would be, if Cara was training to be a real wizard. Instead, she’s learning all about how to be a MOP; a Magical Occurrence Purger. This means that she has to clean up the messes of the wizards, who leave behind magic spell dust every time they cast a spell. This spell dust can cause a lot of problems and create chaos in the non-magical world, so it’s very important for MOPs like Cara to do their jobs well. Cara just wishes that she could be doing spells and all that fun magic instead. Cara is a really interesting protagonist, and I really loved reading about her story. She wasn’t the only great character; there were many, from Zuki, the shapeshifting fox, to Su, Cara’s older sister who had a fascinating character arc throughout the book. One character who I want to talk a little about in this review is Harlee Wu. Harlee Wu is also a student at Dragonsong academy, a couple years above Cara. Harlee is a wizard prodigy, and everyone at the school has decided that she is their Chosen One. A very vague prophecy has decreed that there will someday be a very powerful wizard that will save them all, and the students of Dragonsong academy are pretty much all in agreement that Harlee’s their girl. Cara, however, is more than a little skeptical of those claims. When Cara begins to notice rifts in the fabric of magic that are causing harm to the magical rift itself, she is quick to point all her suspicions to Harlee. I thought it was very interesting to see how Cara’s opinions of Harlee shift throughout the course of the book, and also how Cara treats a student who is the so-called Chosen One. There are lots of books where the main character is the chosen one, so it was interesting to read about someone who is watching the chosen one from more of a distance, and how it feels when the chosen one gets all the attention and glory. It was a very unique take on the chosen one trope, and I really enjoyed reading it. The pacing of Spell Sweeper was also done really well. There was just enough time in the book that was less action packed to really get to know all of the characters, and that was perfectly balanced with a really exciting and fast moving plot. The worldbuilding was also fantastic. It didn’t take long to really understand the world of Spell Sweeper, and how everything work. From the history of the world of the wizards, to how Dragonsong academy works, and it’s past, and how the magic and non magic worlds intertwine, everything was so easy to understand while always feeling very immersive. None of those are easy to do in a book, and I was overall just so impressed by the worldbuilding. Spell Sweeper is exciting, fast-paced, and overall fun. I recommend it to anyone who loves middle grade fantasy, or is looking for a good read to pull them out of a reading slump!

  22. 4 out of 5

    Mila

    Caradine Moone once held the fantasy of wizards in her mind but the reality isn't as glamorous as she dreamed. Situated on the coast of British Columbia, Canada, she attends the wizard school Dragonsong Academy. Where most students learn about potions, spells, and talisman Cara learns to clean up magical residue other students create. While cleaning up a fantastic display of magic by the schools "Chosen One" Harlee Wu, Cara comes face to face with a dark living form of sludge. Someone is messing Caradine Moone once held the fantasy of wizards in her mind but the reality isn't as glamorous as she dreamed. Situated on the coast of British Columbia, Canada, she attends the wizard school Dragonsong Academy. Where most students learn about potions, spells, and talisman Cara learns to clean up magical residue other students create. While cleaning up a fantastic display of magic by the schools "Chosen One" Harlee Wu, Cara comes face to face with a dark living form of sludge. Someone is messing with dark magic, causing damage in the fabric of magic which results in the slime and the occurrences are becoming more and more frequent. Can Cara and her spell sweeping crew find the cause and save the day? I could not put this novel down! Told with humour and wit, woven around familiar tropes, it still remained an original tale. Cara is a fantastic character, coming from a Bliss (non-magical) family and not possessing much magical ability, she doesn't feel at home amongst either world. She feels small compared to prodigies like Harlee and perfect kids like her older sister Su, well that is until late when the angry teen years really kicked in. We meet Cara wanting more and get to grow with her as she becomes confident and happy with herself. Harlee Wu was a fantastic depiction of "the Chosen One" and the pressures and stories that come with it, making peeling back the layers extremely satisfying. However, it is magical fox Zuki who somehow managed to steal the show with his heightened sense of self and role of confident. Overall this was a fantastic, engaging, and humourous read that was very easy to slip into. I hope we get to meet up with Caradine and her crew again one day soon! If you enjoy wizardry with a dash of sass and humour, Caradine Moone is the hero you've been waiting for. Filled with magic, cultists, and family drama Spell Sweeper is not to be missed! Thank you to the publisher for an early digital copy to review.

  23. 4 out of 5

    Shawn Peters

    This magical and meaningful start to a new, modern fantasy series for Middle Grade readers is wonderfully messy in all the best ways. Cara Moone feels like she drew the short straw (pun intended) as she's a child of a Bliss (read: non-magical) family in Seattle who has been recruited to a prestigious, magical school off the Pacific coast, only to be relegated to the least-prestigious grouping -- The MOPs-- who are charged with cleaning up after spells instead of actually casting them. Instead of This magical and meaningful start to a new, modern fantasy series for Middle Grade readers is wonderfully messy in all the best ways. Cara Moone feels like she drew the short straw (pun intended) as she's a child of a Bliss (read: non-magical) family in Seattle who has been recruited to a prestigious, magical school off the Pacific coast, only to be relegated to the least-prestigious grouping -- The MOPs-- who are charged with cleaning up after spells instead of actually casting them. Instead of wands, they get brooms, and not the flying kind. She feels distanced from her roommate, looked down on by the rest of the wizards-to-be, especially the school "it" girl, Harlee, and constantly underestimated by Master Quibble, her advisor who used to be the headmaster of the school before something knocked him off course. Her pals, Gusto (a fellow MOP) and Zuki (a multi-tailed Fox familiar) are fickle friends at times, and when Cara heads home to visit her family, it just stirs up conflict with her suddenly Goth big sister, Su, and her memories of her father who died in an accident years earlier. But in the midst of it all, Cara starts noticing that when Harlee casts spells, it leaves behind a rip in the Field-- the source of wizardly spellcasting-- and Cara is the only one who figures out how to clean it up. Along the way, she also picks up a tiny monster hatchling, Nova, who is doing more good than people know. As I try to avoid spoilers, I will say that as the story hums along, it gets more complicated and conspiratorial, hinting at moral questions about who should wield magic, when it is ethical to hide the truth, and very real topics like class, loyalty and the value of people who do the dirty work in our society. The one thing I will say is that this book doesn't wrap up neatly, and it's clearly the launching point for a truly modern, marvelously messy series that may force Cara (and the reader) to constantly reconsider what they think they know.

  24. 4 out of 5

    Heike

    What it’s about: Talk about underdogs: Cara Moone has been admitted to magic school, but is stuck in the magical janitor track, training to be a MOP, also known as Magical Occurrence Purger. You can probably imagine that MOPs aren’t the most popular, although they do sweep up the hazardous dust REAL wizards leave behind. Like Harley Wu, the star of the school. Everyone worships the ground she walks on. But then one of her spells tears a rift into magic itself, letting out all kinds of messes. Car What it’s about: Talk about underdogs: Cara Moone has been admitted to magic school, but is stuck in the magical janitor track, training to be a MOP, also known as Magical Occurrence Purger. You can probably imagine that MOPs aren’t the most popular, although they do sweep up the hazardous dust REAL wizards leave behind. Like Harley Wu, the star of the school. Everyone worships the ground she walks on. But then one of her spells tears a rift into magic itself, letting out all kinds of messes. Cara is the only one who seems to care - and the only one with the skills to set the world right again. I loved this book and reading about Cara. She is a rule breaker, which isn’t a great trait for a student, except when no one believes you that the world is in danger. Her voice is strong (and laugh-out-loud funny) and she has a self-deprecating sense of humor that I very much enjoyed. She knows that janitors are considered bottom-feeders in the magical world, but she doesn’t let that stop her from doing what she thinks is right. I loved how the „real“ world and the wizard world of Dragonsong Academy (how pretty is that name?) collided in this book. Cara comes from a non-magical family (or Blisses), which causes all kinds of problems for her. She goes on a very personal journey that is painful at times, but she finally manages to find friends and supporters in the least obvious places. Here’s what I learned: Brooms aren’t for flying, they’re for sweeping (no exceptions), competence is essential in any job, no matter how looked-down-upon (especially when it can save the world). And if everyone thinks it anyway (wizard school - hello, Harry Potter), why not point out all the similarities to give us some laughs. This was such a fun read! Absolutely recommended for anyone 10 and up looking for a fun, magical adventure (and we all should, if you ask me). Go read it, I’m sure you’ll love it, too.

  25. 4 out of 5

    Caitlin Theroux

    Thanks to NetGalley and the publisher for an eARC in exchange for an honest review! Calling all folks looking for an alternative to Harry Potter: this may be your ticket to ride. In the world of SPELL SWEEPER, magic is...messy. Spells leave a residue and dust after being performed, and the bigger the output of magic, the bigger the mess to be cleaned up. Cara Moone is part of the MOP program (that's Magical Occurrence Purger) at Dragonsong Academy. What that really means is she cleans up after oth Thanks to NetGalley and the publisher for an eARC in exchange for an honest review! Calling all folks looking for an alternative to Harry Potter: this may be your ticket to ride. In the world of SPELL SWEEPER, magic is...messy. Spells leave a residue and dust after being performed, and the bigger the output of magic, the bigger the mess to be cleaned up. Cara Moone is part of the MOP program (that's Magical Occurrence Purger) at Dragonsong Academy. What that really means is she cleans up after other wizards who draw on the Field of Magic, magical broom in hand. What she thinks it means is that she's not a real wizard, as the MOP classes are technically labeled "remedial." Then there's Cara's self-determined arch nemesis, Harlee Wu, the so-called Chosen One who'll save all of magickind one day. (But, like, will she though? OoOoh, Big Chosen One energy over here, look out.) At the beginning of Cara's seventh grade school year at Dragonsong, a spell that Harlee performs somehow punches a rift into the Field of Magic, rendering it unstable and liable to backfire and hurt someone. Or, at the worst, collapse in on itself completely. Cara has no choice but to wield her broom for the good of the Field as they know it. The Plot Something we don't usually think about in a series like Harry Potter is the cleanup. One scene that passes really quickly, but has stuck with me for years, is in the last movie when Hogwarts is in complete shambles, and Filch is just sweeping away at a pile of debris taller than he is. He picks up a rock, looks at it, and chucks it back onto the others. Magic undoubtedly leaves a mess behind, and in SPELL SWEEPER we get a backstage look, so to speak, at the wizards in charge of cleaning up that mess. Cara and her two MOP classmates, Gusto and Zuki (who's a two-tailed fox from Japan, btw), are always called in after the "big cool" stuff has already happened. They even grow their own broomcorn, harvest and dry it, then make their brooms so there's a connection there to magic. So even though they can't really wield a wand or anything, Cara and the crew are still called in to figure out what's causing the black slime to ooze out of the Field, and (of course) clean it up in their efficient manner. Looking back on the villains and conflict, it did feel a bit...predictable? Not cliche, just kind of vanilla. The spin didn't come around so much on the conflict side of things. Rather, we got to see the Chosen One and Almighty Janitor tropes turned upside down. Throw in a little dash of Found Family, and you have SPELL SWEEPER. The Characters This was my favorite part of the book. Cara and her friends felt real, and the characters had background, history, personality. We even got to see how probably not great it is to be the Chosen One and have so many people deciding who and what you're going to be. It's hard to get into Cara's family without, um...potentially giving things away. Her character works as a sarcastic middle-schooler, is what I want to get at most here. Sometimes you get those characters that you just want to slap; they're bratty for no reason, rude to everyone, and the people around them are all, "Oh, ha ha! That's just so-and-so!" But that's not what we get in Cara. She has flaws and acknowledges them, and in the end she does a lot of growing up in spite of wanting to be a curmudgeon. She realizes--like I had to eventually, ha--that it's okay to be sarcastic, but it's not okay to be a jerk. You have to own up to mistakes you make and misjudgments against people that turn out to be untrue. And I really liked seeing that in a middle grade novel. The Worldbuilding Ehhh...There's some more that can be done here. It's not "bad" but there's some places that felt skimpy or neglected. I'm hoping there'll be another one so we can see this worked on and played out a bit more. I still have questions about the wizard society and how things operate there, and if non-magical folks have to always get memory wiped when they find out about the wizards' existence. I mean, overall, this was a solid four-star book. I'll be putting it on the acquisitions list and getting it into the hands of any patron I can this fall. Who doesn't like a warm and fuzzy read during the winter months?

  26. 4 out of 5

    Sirah

    Set in a world not unlike that of a certain lightning-bolt-scarred glasses-wearing young wizard, Cara quickly discovers that she is not the Chosen One. Instead of getting to take fun classes like advanced potion making, transformations, talisman crafting, and how to raise a magical familiar, Cara is stuck sweeping up magical dust so that it doesn't turn into something volatile. Despite being teased by her classmates and rejected by her own sister, Cara is determined to become the best wizard eve Set in a world not unlike that of a certain lightning-bolt-scarred glasses-wearing young wizard, Cara quickly discovers that she is not the Chosen One. Instead of getting to take fun classes like advanced potion making, transformations, talisman crafting, and how to raise a magical familiar, Cara is stuck sweeping up magical dust so that it doesn't turn into something volatile. Despite being teased by her classmates and rejected by her own sister, Cara is determined to become the best wizard ever, but is she willing to break the rules to achieve her goal? The theme isn't new, and the setting doesn't surprise me, but this book still manages to fit in a few delicious twists. Since wizard school settings are pretty popular lately, it takes very little imagination to fall into this magical world where legends from around the world and a few new rules work together to make every moment a surprise. I especially enjoyed the idea that just because Cara isn't the Chosen One doesn't mean she can't have self-confidence, friends, adventures and success. Overall, it's pretty cute and there is a good amount of nerdy lore, but it has a good heart underneath all the magical sparkles, and I'll definitely be recommending it to kids who are looking for a lighthearted fantasy underdog story.

  27. 5 out of 5

    Mari

    This was a charming story about a young wizard trying to find her place in the world. It mostly takes place at a school for wizards called Dragonsong in the Pacific Northwest. The protagonist, Cara, is a "Spell Sweeper" or more formally known as a "MOP" or "Magically Occurrence Purger" who is tasked with cleaning up after the magical messes made by other wizards. She is frustrated at not being able to participate in "real wizard" things like her classmates and feels isolated at home with her fami This was a charming story about a young wizard trying to find her place in the world. It mostly takes place at a school for wizards called Dragonsong in the Pacific Northwest. The protagonist, Cara, is a "Spell Sweeper" or more formally known as a "MOP" or "Magically Occurrence Purger" who is tasked with cleaning up after the magical messes made by other wizards. She is frustrated at not being able to participate in "real wizard" things like her classmates and feels isolated at home with her family because they are "Blisses" and aren't supposed to know about her magical skills. The pace of the book was good with interesting plot twists and a good variety of characters. I was impressed at how it portrayed the complexities of relationships that Cara has with her family, peers and teachers, as well as how they evolved over time. The plot and world building was unique and the author did a great job weaving together Cara's two worlds - the one at home where she is a sister and a daughter, and the one where she is a broom-wielding wizard. Overall, I really enjoyed the book and would recommend it to fans of quirky fantasy fiction. I received an eARC from the publisher via NetGalley and am leaving a review voluntarily.

  28. 4 out of 5

    Aaron

    It’s easy to compare any book that takes place at a school for wizards to Harry Potter but this book (it is out today if you are reading this on Tuesday) but Lee Edward Fodi has gone out of his way to build his own wizarding world that stands on its own, but does kind of poke fun and some of the differences between what people might think wizards are like and the way they “really are.” Instead of the main character being the “chosen one,” like a certain scarred young boy, Cara Moone is practicall It’s easy to compare any book that takes place at a school for wizards to Harry Potter but this book (it is out today if you are reading this on Tuesday) but Lee Edward Fodi has gone out of his way to build his own wizarding world that stands on its own, but does kind of poke fun and some of the differences between what people might think wizards are like and the way they “really are.” Instead of the main character being the “chosen one,” like a certain scarred young boy, Cara Moone is practically flunking wizard school, and is given the role of cleaning up the messy spell dust left behind after the brilliant spells of others, including her nemesis, the real prodigy of the school, Harlee. Cara discovers that there is something peculiar that seems to happen when she is cleaning up after Harlee, and this becomes a mystery she must solve. The story is filled with this mystery, its impact on the wizarding world and the world of the Bliss (similar to Muggles, they are ignorant of the wizarding world), as well as Cara and Harlee’s back stories. There are many humorous details along the way, creatures and for me the setting of the Pacific Northwest was well written and added to the story. This was a fun, entertaining read that I will be purchasing for my library.

  29. 4 out of 5

    Eleana

    I really enjoyed this MG fantasy and the amazing world created by Lee Edward Fodi. I have been a fan of his writing since reading his Kendra Kandlestar series to my kids when they were younger. They were enraptured by the adventure in new lands. This book will definitely appeal to my student fantasy fans. The gorgeous cover drew me in and the exciting story spelled me away. I have have always loved the artistry of brooms and the concept of wizards needing a clean-up crew was very intriguing. I a I really enjoyed this MG fantasy and the amazing world created by Lee Edward Fodi. I have been a fan of his writing since reading his Kendra Kandlestar series to my kids when they were younger. They were enraptured by the adventure in new lands. This book will definitely appeal to my student fantasy fans. The gorgeous cover drew me in and the exciting story spelled me away. I have have always loved the artistry of brooms and the concept of wizards needing a clean-up crew was very intriguing. I also liked the excerpts throughout of tidbits about school courses and wizard rules. The way the relationships depicted between Cara and her sister, Su, was hard-hitting at times but many MG readers will be able to connect, especially if they have an older sibling who is drifting away as they move into their teen years.

  30. 4 out of 5

    Nadia

    The book's a fantastic journey from beginning to end, and Cara's character makes it so enjoyable! Her personality really shines through the way she talks and her interactions with other characters, and she's so likable that it made me genuinely root for her. As a Korean reader, I found joy in connecting with characters whom I could relate to culturally, and I could really tell that the author truly cares about capturing the diverse heritages authentically without making it the characters' main t The book's a fantastic journey from beginning to end, and Cara's character makes it so enjoyable! Her personality really shines through the way she talks and her interactions with other characters, and she's so likable that it made me genuinely root for her. As a Korean reader, I found joy in connecting with characters whom I could relate to culturally, and I could really tell that the author truly cares about capturing the diverse heritages authentically without making it the characters' main trait or having the story centered around their ethnicity. The magic world that the author built was so immersive as well: the sections between the chapters make the magical world so much richer and more real, adding details and secrets that make the readers curious to find out more about how the magic world operates within the book.

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