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The Resource The spell book of Listen Taylor : (and the secrets of the family zing), Jaclyn Moriarty

The spell book of Listen Taylor : (and the secrets of the family zing), Jaclyn Moriarty

Label
The spell book of Listen Taylor : (and the secrets of the family zing)
Title
The spell book of Listen Taylor
Title remainder
(and the secrets of the family zing)
Statement of responsibility
Jaclyn Moriarty
Creator
Subject
Genre
Language
eng
Summary
Twelve-year-old Listen Taylor learns a great deal from the eccentric and secretive Zing family, as she fumbles her way through a new school, problems with old friends, and a spell book she finds soon after she and her father move in with Marbie Zing
Review
  • Gr. 9-12 The members of the Zing family have a secret that so dominates their lives, it's the subject of their mandatory Friday night meetings. As seventh-grader Listen Taylor (her father is dating a Zing) performs the spells in a book she found, she unravels this secret, which connects the Zing family with second-grade teacher Cath Murphy, and nearly destroys Listen's opportunity to become part of the Zing family. Moriarty uses an intricate arrangement of connections and viewpoints to tell this curious story; the narrative focuses on the adults, but Listen is the story's prime mover. Her desperate efforts to disguise the fact that her friends have abandoned her are completely believable, and younger readers caught up in that issue may resent the additional story strands, such as the extramarital affairs of several adult characters. Other readers will like the clever plotting and be fascinated by the complexity of the adult relationships, as well as by the admirable way the author describes them without resorting to explicit sex. Magic, mystery, and several love stories in a single package. -- Isaacs, Kathleen (Reviewed 10-01-2007) (Booklist, vol 104, number 3, p47)
  • Gr 9 Up —This novel from the popular Aussie author is absurdly preposterous, delightfully whimsical and funny, and replete with wacky characters. The problem, however, is one of audience. Ostensibly, readers might assume that the book is for girls, like Listen Taylor, who are entering seventh grade. She and her dad have just moved in with Marbie Zing, whom Nathaniel is dating. Marbie meets with other members of the family every Friday night to discuss the Zing Family Secret. Readers aren't sure what that secret is for most of the book, but they do learn that it involves state-of-the-art surveillance and breaking and entering. While the portrayal of Listen's shunning by the clique of girls at school is right on, and Listen does find an old yet misguided spell book, this is not really her story. It is more the story of the Zing family: Marbie, who cheats on Nathaniel with an unnamed aeronautical engineer; Fancy, who suspects her husband of having an affair; and Maude, the matriarch, whose affair early in her marriage has spawned the Zing Family Secret. It is also Cath Murphy's story: second-grader Cassie Zing's brokenhearted teacher has an affair with a married teacher and is central to the Zing Secret. She is the baby of Maude and a famous actor. It is difficult to imagine that readers would be interested in Fancy's long "List of Irritating Things about My Husband," ("#2. During sex he talks in this low, husky voice….") or in all the extramarital, although not sexually explicit, bed swapping. A clever, fun romp, better suited for older teens.—Connie Tyrrell Burns, Mahoney Middle School, South Portland, ME --Connie Tyrrell Burns (Reviewed November 1, 2007) (School Library Journal, vol 53, issue 11, p132)
  • A revised version of Moriarty's adult novel, I Have a Bed Made of Buttermilk Pancakes (not published in the U.S.), this whimsical though rigorously plotted novel offers an intellectual puzzle that may engage YA readers, but the lengthy, adult-centered narrative may test the patience of its target audience. The central mystery—discussed every Friday night by the Zing adults, behind the closed doors of a garden shed—has to do with a carefully guarded family secret that (as readers gradually learn) necessitates the constant surveillance of a young elementary-school teacher named Cath Murphy. Meanwhile, Listen Taylor, a motherless seventh-grader who lives with her father and his girlfriend Marbie Zing, discovers a book of magic spells. Casting spells intended to achieve such feats as make a vacuum cleaner break, Listen works her way through almost half the book before she notices the tiny promise on the back cover: “This Book Will Mend Your Broken Heart.” The results of Listen's magic deliciously spike trenchant scenes that shift among the various (adult) couples and the role of the Zing Family Secret. Teens will easily relate to Listen's conflicts (intensified when her friends cast her out of their clique). However, Listen acts mostly as a supporting player; the perspectives remain mainly those of adults, and the heavy focus on extramarital affairs has more to do with midlife crises and discontent than adolescent issues. With its colorfully camouflaged themes of regret, this well-crafted novel may strike a less resonant chord with teens than with their parents. Ages 14-up. (Sept.) --Staff (Reviewed September 17, 2007) (Publishers Weekly, vol 254, issue 37, p56)
  • Adult crossover that doesn't. This revised version of an Australian adult novel displays Moriarty's engagingly quirky writing, but unlike her previous U.S. publications (The Year of Secret Assignments, 2004; The Murder of Bindy Mackenzie, 2006), this one lacks teen appeal. The "Zing Family Secret" necessitates weekly meetings in the garden shed, and the story follows several of the Zings and their associates through the year when the secret (mildly anticlimactic after the immense build-up) finally comes out. Seven-year-old Cassie and 12-year-old Listen are the only non-adult characters in an ensemble cast, and while Listen's (lonely and unpleasant) experiences in seventh grade do provide the catalyst for many plot developments, she is overshadowed by the adults. Most of the novel concerns secrets and infidelity; three separate affairs plus one imagined and their repercussions occupy center stage, and Moriarty skillfully examines desire, longing and forgiveness. Chick-lit–reading older teens might be willing to give this a try, but the focus on marriage and parenthood make it more likely to appeal to their mothers. (Fiction. YA) (Kirkus Reviews, August 15, 2007)
http://library.link/vocab/ext/novelist/bookUI
240856
Cataloging source
DLC
http://library.link/vocab/creatorName
Moriarty, Jaclyn
Dewey number
[Fic]
Index
no index present
Intended audience
830
Intended audience source
Lexile
LC call number
PZ7.M826727
LC item number
Spe 2007
Literary form
fiction
http://library.link/vocab/ext/novelist/minGradeLevel
  • 9
  • 12
http://library.link/vocab/resourcePreferred
True
http://library.link/vocab/subjectName
  • Eccentrics and eccentricities
  • Interpersonal relations
  • Family life
  • Books and reading
  • Magic
  • Australia
Target audience
adolescent
Label
The spell book of Listen Taylor : (and the secrets of the family zing), Jaclyn Moriarty
Instantiates
Publication
Dimensions
22 cm.
Edition
1st ed.
Extent
479 p.
Isbn
9780439846783
Isbn Type
(trade bdg.)
Lccn
2006102881
System control number
  • (Sirsi) i9780439846783
  • (OCoLC)82772372
Label
The spell book of Listen Taylor : (and the secrets of the family zing), Jaclyn Moriarty
Publication
Dimensions
22 cm.
Edition
1st ed.
Extent
479 p.
Isbn
9780439846783
Isbn Type
(trade bdg.)
Lccn
2006102881
System control number
  • (Sirsi) i9780439846783
  • (OCoLC)82772372

Library Locations

    • Central LibraryBorrow it
      85 Literary Lane, Newnan, GA, 30265, US
      33.38561 -84.669793
    • A. Mitchell Powell Jr. BranchBorrow it
      25 Hospital Road, Newnan, GA, 30263, US
      33.387732 -84.816797

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