Review: The Secret Science of Magic by Melissa Keil

The Secret Science of Magic

Series : N/A

Publisher: Hardie Grant Egmont

Source : Publisher

Release Date : April 1st 2017


A captivating novel about two extraordinary teens, and the unsolvable problem of life after high school.

Sophia is smart, like genius-calculator-brain smart. But there are some things no amount of genius can prepare you for, and the messiness of real life is one of them. When everything she knows is falling apart, how can she crack the puzzle of what to do with her life?

Joshua spends his time honing magic tricks and planning how to win Sophia’s heart. But when your best trick is making schoolwork disappear, how do you possibly romance a genius?

In life and love, timing is everything.

From Melissa Keil, the award-winning YA author of Life in Outer Space and The Incredible Adventures of Cinnamon Girl.

Tash M

The Secret Science of Magic was  one of my anticipated  OZ YA novels  of 2017 because of the author and the characters. Knowing that Keil was writing a Tamil character made this all the more important to me. As I hadn’t read a Tamil character in literature before and was curious to see  their portrayal in fiction.

Keil didn’t disappoint in that regards, Sophie and her family were people I could easily relate to . She was  me basically. A girl who was Sri Lankan descent who  has grown up in Melbourne  and  was pretty westernised. However that isn’t the premise of the story. She is  in Year 12 and  she struggling. Sophie is smart  and knows how to handles maths and science, she bit of a wiz in those areas .  However dealing with anything else is a struggle for her , causing panic attacks that only seem to get worse more recently  as year 12 draws to a close. Despite being a genius at things, she is freaking out about her future.  As school has been her safety net and she doesn’t want to become another washed out genius like others out there that constantly remind her of so .

Forcing  to draw all her  attention on herself, she hasn’t noticed Joshua Bailey, a class mate and who  has a massive crush on her but doesn’t know how to approach her. Josh’s passion is magic and he is pretty talented in this area and is also worrying about his own future. Unlike her , he has some  idea of what he wants to do . However  school has become less of priority  and he doesn’t want  it to be because of younger sibling.

With the struggles of Year 12 weighing on them, Keil weaves a realistic story of two individuals as they go on their daily lives and experience the highs and lows of their final year off high school. Accurate in portrayal, Keil makes sure to deal with Sophie, gently allowing her to realise how much effort the attacks and thoughts have caused wrecked havoc.  Whilst making her a  part of  Josh’s life who understand the same problem and knows how to handle it somehwhat . The two set out to tackle their problem and  soon find themselves discovering it’s  the magic that will help them figure out things.

The Secret Science of Magic, is a realistic look into teenagers at a very testing point of their lives. I enjoyed the simpleness of the idea and the exploring the lives of teens.  Keil is very honest and realistic  with her portrayal  of Josh and Sophie. There no fanciness with her stories. She tells it how it is for teenagers and I loved she is honest how things can be  with friends and family.   And of course, the romance, as it would be a Keil book without a sweet geeky romance and this one is adorable.


Whilst I loved her first novel Life in Space to bits. I didn’t have as a strong reaction to The Secret Science of Magic .  There was something missing that made not love this book as much I thought I would. Given that there was a Tamil character and some who could relate to. It hyped up the book even more to me and that caused part of my disappointment.    That being said the  characters were adorable and I wanted my own Josh by the end .  The Secret Science of Magic was cute and relatable contemporary and must read for young adult readers



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1 Comment

  1. Even though I knew about this book, I did not realise it was about a Tamil character. Year 12 is such a trying time and intimidating considering you’re supposed to figure out what you’d like to do for the rest of your life. I haven’t read any of her other books, an dI think this would be a good place to start.

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