"This book would be a good stepping stone for those readers who enjoy the Diary of a Wimpy Kid series."-School Library Connection
Jeff Strand's signature humor returns in this tale of magic, illusions, and self-discovery.
Harry Houdini. Penn and Teller. David Copperfield. Marcus Millian the Third.
Okay, so Marcus isn't a famous magician. He may not even be a great magician. But his great-grandfather, the once-legendary and long-retired Zachary the Stupendous, insists Marcus has true talent. And when Grandpa Zachary boasts that he and Marcus are working on an illusion that will shock, stun, and astonish, Marcus wishes he could make himself disappear.
The problem? Marcus also has stage fright-in spades. It's one thing to perform elaborate card tricks in front of his best friend, Kimberly, but it's an entirely different feat to perform in front of an audience.
Then Grandpa Zachary dies in his sleep.
To uphold his great-grandfather's honor, the show must go on. It would take a true sorcerer to pull off the trick Marcus has planned. But maybe he's the next best thing...
About the Author
Kyle McCarley, a graduate of the University of Southern California, is a voice-over actor and AudioFile Earphones Award-winning narrator. His credits include audiobooks, video games, TV pilots, Web cartoons and commercials, radio and TV commercials, radio dramas, and podcasts.
Most Helpful Customer Reviews
This is one of my favorite books that cast good themes. Marcus is a 15-year-old high school freshman with stage fright. His great-grandfather, Zachary the Stupendous, wants him to follow his steps as a master magician/illusionist since he was a year old. At a charity event, Zachary volunteers Marcus to perform a trick. Afterwards, a competing old magician (Bernard) says he isn't that great and Zachary leaps to defend him and challenges him to a bet that Marcus can amaze an audience in a couple months. Zachary tells Marcus that he will help him but then that night he dies in his sleep. There are some very heavy themes enclosed, including child neglect, murder/threats, mugging, bullying, and death of a loved one. These themes come together to make somewhat of a comical novel that I really enjoyed. The book was a very easy read and I would recommend it to anyone that enjoys magic.
"Stranger Things Have Happened" is a light-hearted book with some very heavy themes. Marcus is a 15-year-old high school freshman, destined for greatness- if only not for his stage fright. His great-grandfather Zachary the Stupendous has been grooming him to follow his steps as a master magician/illusionist since he was a year old. At a charity event, Zachary volunteers Marcus to perform a trick, and he does a card trick that wows the audience. Afterwards, a competing old magician (Bernard) says he isn't that great and Zachary leaps to defend him and challenges him to a bet that Marcus can amaze and wow- in a couple months. Zachary tells Marcus that he will help him- but then that night he dies in his sleep. At the funeral, Bernard offers to let Marcus out of the bet, but Marcus decides to continue on in Zachary's memory. Soon, Marcus is trapped in a difficult situation- he has a short amount of time to come up with an amazing illusion, without Zachary the Stupendous to help. To make it more complicated, Sinister Seamus (a murderer and 77-year-old magician) makes the bet more interesting by threatening to kill Marcus if he fails. This scene is weirdly comedic/surreal. This was possibly one of the oddest books I have ever read (and I don't mean this as an insult), particularly in terms of dialogue, where the characters said things that I doubt such a character would say (e.g. a high school freshman female when seeing some bullies fighting with a weaker character just says, "Enjoy the rest of your conflict" before leaving and the boys continue to argue over the date at which they would be allowed to punch the kid again). Additionally, all the characters had the same odd dialogue style, so it didn't really vary from person to person (e.g. not just a couple odd characters but all of them). The whole book felt very surreal as a result. There are some very heavy themes enclosed, including child neglect, murder/threats, mugging, bullying, and death of a loved one. However, the dialogue and descriptions are so odd/surreal that it doesn't carry the gravitas that you would expect. I still can't decide whether I enjoyed it or not, but it was certainly interesting, and I read all the way to the end to see whether Marcus would be able to pull off his trick! Aside from the surreal dialogue, the writing style flows very well and carries you quickly through the book- it's easy to read in one or two sittings. Please note that I received an ARC from the publisher through netgalley. All opinions are my own.