The Curse of Addy McMahon
Reviewed by Rachael Stein (age 15) for Reader Views (6/08)
Addy is convinced that she is a cursed girl. After all, her mother’s boyfriend Jonathon is moving in, her worst enemy saw her shopping for a training bra, and her father died of cancer. And even when she has good intentions, such as surprising her best friend Jackie with the spectacular interview she wrote about her, things gets messed up — Addy made the mistake of attaching the wrong document to an email and now best friends have become ex-friends. So, it’s either all the bad luck in the world heaped onto Addy or that family curse that is causing Addy’s troubles in the form of a father’s absence, an unwanted house guest, an ex-friend’s cold shoulder, and an enemy’s spiteful attitude. Addy doesn’t know how in the world she’s going to get out of the mess she’s in, but she does know that writing and drawing cartoons make her feel a whole lot better – until they get her into trouble, that is. In the midst of all her troubles, Addy has to learn to take responsibility for her actions and risks to get a reward.
I believe “The Curse of Addy McMahon” is aimed at the middle-grade audience, but even older teens, such as me, can really enjoy this clever and humorous novel. Towards the beginning of the novel, Addy comes off as shy and immature, but that’s to be expected of a sixth grader. However, as the story progresses, Addy matures greatly, which surprised me for a character so young. I really enjoyed reading from Addy’s point of view; even though she constantly complains and is really stubborn, she’s also funny, honest, and very talented in both writing and drawing. Katie Davis does a wonderful job of developing Addy’s character, and I really felt I got to know her personality as if she were a real person.
The ending of “The Curse of Addy McMahon” was very cutesy and perfect, but it made a very satisfying ending to a sweet story. I also really liked the illustrations from Addy’s “autobiogra-strip” and other comics, and that’s saying a lot because I usually don’t enjoy reading comics or manga. I felt that the pictures added to Addy’s characterization and the overall cuteness of the book. The novel’s messages were well presented, especially at the end of the story, and were honest pieces of advice anyone can use: no reward comes without taking a risk; it’s okay to give people a chance, and you need to know when to swallow your pride and apologize, among others.
I recommend “The Curse of Addy McMahon,” by Katie Davis, more for middle-grade readers, especially the girls, because I feel that they would be able to relate more to Addy’s experiences than older teens. However, anyone looking for a fast and funny read will enjoy this witty and entertaining novel.