Book Review: Barbara Brauner and James Iver Mattson’s The Spell Bind

Posted June 14, 2016 by Kathy Davie in Book Reviews, Middle-Grade readers

I received this book for free from the library in exchange for an honest review. This does not affect my opinion of the book or the content of my review.

Book Review: Barbara Brauner and James Iver Mattson’s The Spell Bind

The Spell Bind


Barbara Brauner, James Iver Mattson

urban fantasy in Hardcover edition that was published by Disney-Hyperion on October 28, 2014 and has 208 pages.

Explore it on Goodreads or Amazon.

Third in the Oh My Godmother urban fantasy series for middle-grade readers and revolving around Lacey Unger-Ware, twelve-year-old budding godmother.

My Take

OMG, this was a cute and fun adventure aimed at the twelve-year-old girl readers. No, the conflict in this isn’t believable, but it is traumatic enough to up the drama and create a problem that requires strong friendship, team effort, and creative thinking without being mean! Those penalties Augustina intends to impose are enough to make anyone get their brain in gear!! There’s also the matter of Lacey using others to solve her problems and why one should be prepared for going into a “meeting”. Another good topic of discussion with your kids.

Poor Lacey, she has all the problems of middle-school with the need to volunteer everywhere for that day she applies to colleges, but she also has to learn her magic lessons and figure out why Scott is ignoring her. Like most typical students, she’s putting off the studying. She also has that apology to make to Paige…and oh boy, it is certainly dramatic enough, *more laughter*…

Katarina is one of the best parts with her cranky attitude and total disregard for Lacey, her possessions, her room, her…you get the picture. That bit about cutting off her teddy bear’s arm…lol… On the other hand, she is a terrible teacher!

The mention of quality ingredients is so appropriate in Lacey’s family:

“If you’re making poison ones, I have a great recipe. The secret’s in the wolfsbane. Always fresh, never frozen.”

I love her parents. They’re so supportive! And they don’t know about Lacey’s magic! I do like the principal for being so cool about that water tower. He’s still firm about the issues its collapse causes, but I like that he doesn’t bully Martin over it. Now if only the rest of the school wasn’t so mean, especially that nasty Makayla. I’d like to know where the teachers are when this is happening!

My one real quibble is Katarina’s appearance. She looks more like a messy teenager with bad taste than the glittery, princessy description in the text.

It’s that last bit of help that Martin needs, that Lacey almost misses, and is the best part of the story. Definitely a phew moment… Seems Martin’s dad is a lot more like Martin than he knew.

The Story

Lacey gets a major lesson in what not to do as a new-to-the-business fairy godmother when she does a spell bind, making Martin her new client. She has nine days to save him from his stupid life and make him look good to the school, fund raise the money for a new water tower and for the class field trips — and at the last — change his parents’ attitudes.

…lest she and her teacher, Katarina, be sent to Antarctica forever. And blight Martin to a life forever stupid.

The Characters

Lacey Unger-Ware is a twelve-year-old overachiever — not all of it is her fault. Katarina Sycorax is her resentful fairy godmother, a three-inch tall tyrant, who knows all the tricks because she used to pull them. Madison is Lacey’s younger sister with the pink tutu fixation. Lacey’s dad is a chef, and he and their mom run the Hungry Moose, which specializes in comfort food. Julius is Lacey’s much-put-upon orange cat; Prince Cornelius Sebastian is a complication.

Lacey’s best friends include Sunny Varden and Paige Harrington (Lacey’s first fairy godmother client in The Glitter Trap, 1) and both know about Lacey’s magic. Martin Shembly is another friend, a brainy one who plays violin with a Star Trek and Lord of the Rings fixation. He’s starting up the Future Flyers club.

Lincoln Middle School
Principal Nazarino has her dream wedding (The Magic Mistake, 2) and has moved to Hawaii; now they have Principal Conehurst who loves to webcast. Mrs. Fleecy, the school secretary, runs Craft-N-Crunch, an afterschool activity. Mrs. Brinker is a PE teacher. At least she didn’t make them clean up the food fight.

Scott Dearden (Lacey’s lurve interest) is starting the Uni-Cyclones club. Dylan Hernandez plays on the basketball team and knows all about junk food, Blaine Anders, Gabby Thompson is a stuffed-animal maniac, and Marcie Dunphy can make the most amazing balloon animals. Makayla Brandice is the mean girl, a cheerleader (natch), who reports school news and puts down anyone she doesn’t like on the school webcast. Taylor is her shadow.

Abner started up the now-successful Abner’s Pickles (with his own brand of help). Mrs. Gibbs is his housekeeper.

The Godmothers’ League…
…usually requires students to attend Godmother Academy. Augustina Oberon is the fairy who was blackmailed into allowing Lacey to be homeschooled. Terrifica Fata is Katarina’s old teacher. Swettlanda Puck is in the books as being exiled to the South Pole. Mona Lisa Vermicelli was Leonardo da Vinci’s fairy godmother.

A spell bind is created when a fairy godmother doesn’t have a client AND uses a spell to help someone. Maestro Chaliapin is the violin teacher. It’s so handy having a fairy godmother, lol.

The Cover and Title

The cover has a bright green background with a cartoon-like Martin wearing his jetpack and yellow helmet and “nerded” up with his green argyle sweater vest and too-short blue pants above his green tennis shoes. Naturally, he’s wearing glasses. On the other side of the centered pink title stands Lacey in a pink cardigan over a pink-on-pink dotted T-shirt atop her bluejeans and wearing pink MaryJanes with pink socks. The smiling Lacey is waving her smokin’ yellow wand at Martin. At the top of the page is the series information with Katarina swinging in the “O”.

The title is what Lacey gets caught up — The Spell Bind — about which she should have learned.