February 2

The Spell book of Listen Taylor by Jaclyn Moriarty

Jaclyn Moriarty is writes some of the most popular books in the library. So when this book came to the top of the reading list, I was most surprised to see that it have very few borrowings. Now that I have read it, I think I know why.

Listen Taylor has just started year 7. She and her father have just moved in with a woman called Marbie Zing when Listen finds a spell book with a series of very strange magic spells, including a ‘spell to make someone eat a piece of chocolate cake’. At about the same time, her friends dump her and life gets very difficult. And there is this strange Zing Family meeting every Friday night where the adults share the Zing Family Secret. 

Confused? I think that is the idea. However, very gradually the picture becomes clear and everything starts to make sense. It really is a lovely gentle book that has a delightful story to tell.

So why does it sit on the shelf? I suspect that the unclear target audience has a lot to do with it. Moriarty has a solid following in the young adult audience, but this story is told mostly by 12 year old Listen. Many older girls will lose patience with her innocence, especially regarding the spell book. But the story isn’t really for young tweens either. There is a significant amount of adultery contained within it’s pages, and I suspect the tweens won’t feel comfortable with that. 

Although I enjoyed reading the book, I simply have no idea who I would recommend it to.