Megan O’Russell’s YA novel, How I Magically Messed up My Life in Four Freakin’ Days, instantly drew my attention because of its title and its colourful cover art. However, the following lines in the blurb really got my attention. “I found a magic cell phone, opened an app I shouldn’t have, burned down the set shop for my high school’s theatre, and it was all downhill from there. A drag queen seer who lives under a bridge is my only hope for keeping my mom alive, and I think the cops might be after me for destroying my dad’s penthouse.”
I just had to read it!
For me, the mark of a good writer is one who, within the first few pages, grabs your attention and holds it, but also hits you solidly with a character’s “voice” and gives you a good glimpse into the character’s nature and some of the issues that are important for that individual. O’Russell did this extremely well.
Bryant is a teenager whose mind constantly wanders and daydreams. He is the smart geek who’s too shy to speak to the girl he admires and who has a handsome best friend who is his opposite and epitomises all that is cool. From the first page the quips and one-liners keep going throughout the entire novel; several times I found myself laughing out loud as I read.
Bryant’s troubles start when he finds a cell phone in a cab and decides it’s safer for him to return it to the owner rather than have it disappear into lost and found at the cab company. Innocently unleashing a series of magical disasters, being pursued by evil wizards and a group of deranged witches becomes par for the course in Bryant’s life and his dealings with the “Rasputin of phones.”
O’Russell sets a cracking pace from the beginning of the book all the way through to the end. This was an extremely enjoyable, fast read and I highly recommend it for MG readers all the way through to adults.
I hope O’Russell writes more adventures of Bryant Adams, because I’d love to read them and you will too.