Review Detail

Discovering true leadership
(Updated: May 19, 2024)
Overall rating
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What worked:
The story is told through the eyes of Kyana and Ashley, two students at the Park Row Magic Academy, or PRMA. They each specialize in different types of magic with Kyana being better with potions and Ashley having a great deal of experience with Availables. Alternating chapters put readers inside the girls’ minds as Kyana surprisingly finds herself cursed by an Available. Uncontrollable laughing and crying are hard to explain and Kyana pleads with Ashley to keep it secret. Kyana’s chapters show her frustrations and fears with the curse and her self-image while Ashley’s focus is on using her knowledge of Availables to discover what’s actually happening.
The plot evolves into a mystery as Kyana and Ashley try to understand what’s happening with the Availables. They’re behaving unusually and the girls begin to suspect the actions are not random. Kyana specializes in potions, Ashley’s knowledge is with Availables, and Russ has a talent for charms and social media. Ashley hopes to discuss the Available situation with a world expert named Dr. Minzy but she begins to wonder if he’ll be any help. His new invention seems to be promising but it’s kept beyond Ashley’s reach and understanding. Readers will wonder about the machine’s full capabilities and why Dr. Minzy isn’t using it to help rescue the campers.
The magical elements of the story are creative which makes the story feel fresh. The first example is a friendly Available called Lucy who is confined to a door inside the school. It talks to Kyana and bending and stretching allow the door to display “facial” expressions. Plants in front of Ashley’s home have sharp teeth so trimming them can be a painful experience. Other tiny creatures feed on eyelashes. Ashley decides her investigation leads to the original world of Availables so portals to other worlds are part of the story. Readers are introduced to the rules governing human and Available interaction but Ashley also overhears some game-changing information about Kyana’s attack.
What didn’t work as well:
This book is the second in the series and previous events are a little vague. It’s unclear why the headmistress deems Kyana a great student leader but self-doubt haunts Kyana throughout most of the book. She comes to some interesting realizations about leadership that are shared later in the story.
The final verdict:
New readers to the series, like me, will take some time to understand the characters and backstory. However, the plot is engaging with each main character contributing a unique ability to solve the Available mystery. Overall, the unusual conflict and characters result in a charming tale and I recommend you give it a shot.
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