Born of Illusion
Born of Illusion
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Annotation: Set in 1920s New York City, this is the story of budding magician Anna Van Housen, who has spent her whole life playing sidekick to her faux-medium mother, and trying to hide the fact the she actually possesses the very abilities her mother fakes.
Catalog Number: #600057153
Format: Ebook
No other formats available
Special Formats: Ebook (Subscription, 26 uses) Ebook Downloadable Downloadable
Publisher: HarperCollins
Copyright Date: 2013
Edition Date: c2013
Pages: 400
Territory: North America
Availability: Special Order Only - Contact Customer Service at +1 800 637-6581 or +1 217 243-5451
ISBN: 0-06-218756-2
ISBN 13: 978-0-06-218756-7
Dewey: Fic
Language: English
ALA Booklist
Harry Houdini is Anna Van Housen's father least that's what her mother, Marguerite, has always told her. Mother and daughter have had a difficult, peripatetic life performing magic shows and conducting séances, but when they land in New York City, they find a stable home and increasing fame (even Vanderbilts attend their performances). For Marguerite, it's a matter of being a good actress, but for 16-year-old Anna, there's more to it than sleight of hand, as she truly feels and sees things that are inexplicable, adding excitement and danger to their shows and lives. Regardless of whether this ability is a matter of pedigree or coincidence, it makes her a person of interest to suave young men, dangerous kidnappers, and the real-life Society for Psychical Research. Yet despite these promising details, the story's actual point is rather nebulous and blandly executed. Still, the 1920s elements of prohibition, automobiles, and cloche hats are interesting, and the timeless adolescent themes of self-definition, rebellion, and romance infuse the magic with a realism that may be comforting, if predictable.
Horn Book
A gifted stage magician, Anna can sometimes glimpse the future and sense the emotions of others, a power that becomes stronger soon after she meets a young Englishman. Brown gets the historical details of 1920s New York right, and while the pacing lags, Anna's strong personality and her complex relationship with her mother, as well as a slightly supernatural romance, provide teen appeal.
Kirkus Reviews
Newly arrived in the exciting Jazz Age–era New York City world of mentalists, mediums and séances, can Anna Van Housen hide her gifts from her jealous mother, even as her visions become more frightening? And is she really Harry Houdini's illegitimate daughter? Sixteen-year-old Anna, capable of tricks of illusion and escape and aware of her own growing extrasensory powers, is tired of being an assistant to her mother, Marguerite--a fraud who wants to be the world's most famous medium. Brown ably depicts the tension between Marguerite's jealous resentment of her daughter and Anna's attempts at independence, as well as Anna's confusion over the romantic intentions of two very different suitors. Indeed, characterization is a strength in this first-person narrative, in which the setting, New York City in the 1920s, is so richly drawn as to become a character in itself. Actual people, organizations and locations from the illusionist scene as well as abundant fashion details of the era immerse readers in rich historical context. Anna, able to communicate with the dead and see visions of the future, must figure out how to extricate both herself and her mother from separate kidnappings and finally learn whom she can trust. With an eye-catching jacket cover, this wordy mix of magic, history and romance will appeal to fans of Libba Bray. (Historical fantasy. 13 & up)
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ALA Booklist
Bulletin of the Center for Children's Books
Horn Book
Kirkus Reviews
Word Count: 91,777
Reading Level: 5.0
Interest Level: 7-12
Accelerated Reader: reading level: 5.0 / points: 14.0 / quiz: 168799 / grade: Upper Grades

For fans of Libba Bray and Anna Godbersen, this thrilling historical suspense novel is the story of a budding magician who has spent her life playing sidekick to her faux-medium mother—and trying to hide the fact that she possesses magnificent powers.

As the illegitimate daughter of Harry Houdini—or so her mother claims—gifted illusionist Anna Van Housen easily navigates the underground world of magicians and mediums in 1920s New York, though the real trick is keeping her true gifts secret from her opportunistic mother. But as Anna's powers intensify, she experiences frightening visions that lead her to explore the powers she's tried so long to hide.

Lovers of historical fiction and stories filled with romance and intrigue will fall for Born of Illusion and its whip-smart, savvy protagonist.

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