Note from Melissa: Kymm recently moved from NYC back to her hometown of LA, and when she did, she regained her ability to use the library. (We can neither confirm or deny that she may have some outstanding fines in NYC.) She is now busily checking out the first book in every series she's ever been interested in and revisiting old favorites. She'll be sharing her journey with us!) So...here's Kymm!
As I was trolling through the library I found out some really exciting news! There are, since I last checked, two new Young Wizards books by Diane Duane! And you know what that means, don't you? It means that I get to re-read all of the previous books! SO YOU WANT TO BE A WIZARD was published in 1983 and I have probably been reading it since it was new, and every time new books are written I read it again, so I almost know it by heart by now. I always love how many kids books are about loner kids who love books, it's charming to me how many loner kids who love books grow up to write books.
This book is about Nita, a loner kid who loves books, who, while being chased by the bullying rich girls from her school who beat her up on a regular basis, hides in the library and finds the title book, which turns out to be every loner kid who loves books' dream come true, really exactly what it says that it is! She finds Kit, another kid in her neighbourhood who also is learning to be a wizard and they team up to ostensibly find Nita's stolen favourite space pen, but in reality, to save the world. What is wonderful about this series of books is that wizardry doesn't actually solve everyone's problems easily, it makes things harder sometimes, and not everyone always lives through whatever ordeal the book centers around. Nita and Kit, and, in later books, Nita's little sister Dairine, have very honest, distinctive kid voices, written by someone who didn't forget what it was like to be as helpless as a child sometimes is; you may be a wizard and saving the world, but you still have to be ontime for dinner or you get in trouble with your parents.
The Young Wizard books are not only about magic and wizardry and the wonder of talking to animals and plants and cars, but about what it is like to grow up and take responsibility to help, in whatever small or large way we can, to save the world. By the way, the edition that I read this time was the twentieth anniversary edition, which includes a really great afterword by Diane Duane, and a hard-to-find short story from 1986 about a miniature adventure of Nita and Kit. The story isn't a classic, but it's fun to read if you are a completist like me. On to DEEP WIZARDRY! And beyond!