cover image Nothing up My Sleeve

Nothing up My Sleeve

Diana López. Little, Brown, $16.99 (400p) ISBN 978-0-316-34087-8

When sixth-grade best friends Loop, Dominic, and Z stumble on a new magic store in town, they quickly decide to become amateur magicians and participate in a competition held by the Texas Association of Magicians. Their first step is perfecting tricks in order to gain entry to the store’s secret vault, something that would be easier if Ariel, the seventh-grade daughter of the shop’s owners, weren’t so scornful of their skills. As the boys bicker good-naturedly about their magic, they also face challenges at home. Z is the youngest in his large family, always last and always in hand-me-downs; Dominic’s divorced parents won’t speak to each other; and Loop has learned that the man he thought was his father is in fact his stepfather. López (Ask My Mood Ring How I Feel) weaves magic tricks, the challenges of friendship and family, and healthy doses of humor into an upbeat coming-of-age story. The boys’ easygoing banter is true to life, and details about their shared Latino background give the novel a strong sense of culture and place. Ages 8–12. Agent: Stefanie Von Borstel, Full Circle Literary. (Apr.)