Bras and Broomsticks

Mlynowski, Sarah (2005). New York,:Tor. ISBN-10: 0385731841/ ISBN-13: 978-0385731843

High School freshman Rachel has a tough life--her dad is remarrying a control-freak perfectionist, her younger sister has more cleavage than she does, and now it turns out, her sister and her mother are also witches. Her sister has been given a spell book to study, and using many delicious sounding combinations of grocery items, some basic magic potions are within Miri's power.As any big sister would, Rachel is soon putting the pressure on Miri to improve big sister's high school social life, for starters by casting a dancing spell so the klutzy Rachel can be chosen for the big fashion show and attract the attention of the boys she likes, Mick and Raf. As Rachel grows more popular she ignores faithful friend Tammy. Soon, Rachel and Miri are also plotting to turn the power of the spell book against their father's relationship with the Stepmother-to be. The fashion show and wedding both loom, and as everything comes to a climax, lessons about values and loyalty must be learned.

Reader’s Annotation
Rachel is a freshman with a stepmom-to-be; she's flat-chested; she can't dance, her former best friend has dumped her for a more popular set of friends, and now her sister has inherited witchy powers, but she has not! How far can Rachel convince Miri to go?

This book is on the low end of the 15-18 year old range--really more appropriate for middle school, but will be good for high interest-low reading level. With its fantastical element the plot is light, but the story has some serious intentions. Although the re-envisioning of the stepmom-to-be as loving and supportive was hard to accept, the important lessons Rachel learns about about popularity vs. friendship grow naturally from the plot. There was a vain hope that Puritanism would not require the dancing spell to end just when it did, but it was dashed for the moral good. It's hard for people who grew up with Bewitched to reject witch comedies.

About the author
Sarah Mlynowski is Canadian, born in 1977. Her mother is a well-known Romance writer, Elissa Ambrose. Mlynowski now lives in New York City with all the other YA writers.

Teen Chick Lit/ Fantasy

Curriculum Ties

Booktalking Ideas
Rachel's early version of her stepmother-to-be--why are they always wicked?
would I more jealous of Miri than Rachel is?
What we would do if we got the spellbook power?

Reading Level/Interest Age
6th-9th grades

Challenge Issues

Why Included?
Used for Genre assignment; recommendation on

Selection Tools
SLJ and Booklist Reviews available at

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