Today I am participating in a book tour for...drumroll, please...
From the inside cover: "Nick Rostov's life is borderline embarassing. His dad is well known as the worst magician in Las Vegas. Nick hasn't had a real friend in years. And his report card is not good at all...But on Nick's thirteenth birthday his life changes forever. Awaking on the top floor of the world famous Winter Palace Hotel and Casino, he meets, for the first time, his extended family. A family gifted with the power of magic, real magic, exiled from their native Russia, they now hide in plain sight among the neon lights of the Casino..."
Although Nick is not a great student, and his father is certainly not a great magician, they were getting along just fine. Nick had been looking forward to the summer when he could sleep in, play video games, and skateboard. Then his life was turned upside-down.
At the Casino with his extended family, Nick swims with polar bears, makes his first real friend, rides a horse, participates in the biggest Vegas show of all time, and learns real magic.
I know this sounds a bit like a Harry Potter knock-off, but I thoroughly enjoyed it, and actually found few similarities, besides the obvious. The setting is fabulous and the plot unique. The author cleverly weaves in bits of history, as well.
I recommend the book for kids and tweens. The ONLY even slightly questionable thing in the book is the following quote (which actually appears on the very first page): "He tried to imagine how he would explain to his dad that his lone A was for the class that taught where babies came from; that he knew what a fallopian tube was, but square roots eluded him."
Anyway, I think I will read this book to my kids. They'd love it. And that is the only part I might skim, since I'm not quite ready to have THAT conversation (What IS a fallopian tube, Mama?) with a five and three year old...oh, wait, she's four. Man, they just grow right up.