The Magicians - Lev Grossman (General Fiction)
Released May 2010 (Paperback)
Pulling from Harry Potter, The Chronicles of Narnia and other favorite childhood and young adult fantasy novels, The Magician weaves the tale of Quentin Coldwater, a teen who is fascinated by a popular fantasy series Fillory and Further. He's extremely gifted, which makes it hard to fit in, but his addiction with the novels complicates that even more.
When he shows up for a college interview only to find his interviewer's body, Quentin is handed a mysterious envelope. That envelope brings him to a hidden college where magic is the main course. There in Brakebills Quentin discovers more about himself and magic than he ever thought possible.
The Magician isn't going to be suitable for the younger crowd, but I'd happily let my high schooler read it with the understanding that life and relationships aren't always pretty. The writing is great and the characters are strongly developed. There are a few aspects, such as Quentin's friend Julia's story, that I wonder how things would have played out if the author had changed things. However, I also realize that the way the story progressed required certain decisions. But, I'm torn if I would have loved rather than liked the story if things had been different.
For the most part, I wouldn't say this is a fantasy novel. There are aspects, especially towards the end, where it takes a stronger fantasy leaning, but it's best described as a coming of age story.
I enjoyed The Magicians, but I won't say it mesmerized me. I read quickly and this book took me two days to work my way through. It's a good read, but not something I'd list as a keeper.