A lone girl hurries through the dark and dreary streets of Victorian London. The wind whips her blond ringlets and grabs at her new red cloak. Despite her fear of this rough, unfamiliar part of the city, she forces a proper smile as she approaches Miss E & H Vine's Magic Shop. Thus begins the adventure of Annabel Grey, the title character in the book A Most Magical Girl by Karen Foxlee. Thirteen-year-old Annabel has been prepared for a future as a proper Victorian lady, but when her mother suddenly goes abroad, she is forced to live in an old magic shop owned by her odd great aunts, Henrietta and Estella Vine. Annabel quickly learns that she has magical powers and that she must save the world from dark magic in order to fulfill a long-ago prophesy. To overcome the power of Mr. Angel, with his Black Wand and dark magic machine, Annabel and her friend Kitty must find the White Wand in the underworld of London. As they face many challenges together, Annabel and Kitty learn that they must depend on each other and develop a strong bond of friendship despite their very different backgrounds.
I would recommend A Most Magical Girl to anyone in grades 4 - 7 who loves fantasy. The format of this book is a little unusual; it starts before Chapter 1, first describing Annabel's ability to see the future in puddles, then introducing Mr. Angel. I found this a bit confusing at first, but it made sense as I kept reading. Overall, the book was a fast, entertaining read. Even though A Most Magical Girl is a fantasy, the characters were realistic, and I found myself rooting for them as they tried to complete their quest. I think fans of Harry Potter will love this book – it has a very similar plot and fantastical feel.