Featuring a failed young wizard and her cleanup crew, this delightfully dysfunctional middle grade fantasy is an imaginative twist on magic school that’s perfect for fans of Nevermoor and The School for Good and Evil.
Cara Moone is a wizard—but she’s basically flunked out of wizard school. Now she’s in training to be a MOP, also known as Magical Occurrence Purger, also known as it’s Cara’s job to sweep up the hazardous dust a real wizard’s spells leave behind.
A real wizard, that is, like Harlee Wu, the so-called Chosen One destined to save the magical world. But when one of Harlee’s spells goes awry and leaves behind a rift in the fabric of magic itself, it'll take more than magic to clean up the mess.
Luckily, messes are kind of Cara’s thing.
Magic is messy—and fantastically fun—in this underdog story packed with humor, adventure, and attitude.
In a quirky riff on magic school tropes, Fodi (The Secret of Zoone) enlivens familiar elements through a resourceful, humorous narrator. As part of the Magical Occurrence Purger track at western Canada's Dragonsong Academy, 13-year-old Cara Moone is a spell sweeper in training, learning to tidy away the spell dust left behind by wizards accessing the Field of Magical Matter. The job is crucial left alone, magical residue "morphs, expands, and takes on a life of its own," becoming feral but Cara, who hails from a nonmagical Irish American family, nevertheless resents being thought of as a slacker. When spells start going awry, leaving behind toxic black gunk through a "giant, puckering mouth," Cara and her fellow spell sweepers must figure out how to stop the problem before the feral magic wreaks havoc. Convinced that golden brown-skinned Harlee Wu, Dragonsong's 15-year-old star student and so-called "Chosen One," is to blame, Cara investigates her, only for the two to wind up as reluctant partners as the mystery takes them into the nonmagical world. Snarky and resilient, Cara is a memorable heroine with an engaging narrative voice and a unique perspective. Ages 8 12. Agent: Rachel Letofsky, Cooke Agency.