Book Review: Wizard for Hire by Obert Skye

Wizard for Hire by Obert Skye is a young adult novel. Fourteen-year-old Ozzy lives near Portland, Oregon, and is desperate for help. His scientist parents have been kidnapped and he has been on his own since he was seven. Ozzy is afraid to go to the police, but without help, he fears he'll never find his parents. Then he stumbles across a classified ad in the local newspaper that says "Wizard for Hire. Call 555-SPEL." Ozzy has read about wizards in books like Harry Potter, but wizards couldn't actually exist today, could they? After Ozzy meets the wizard Labyrinth--aka Rin--he's even more skeptical. With the help of a robotic-talking raven invented by Ozzy's father, a kind and curious girl at school who decides to help Ozzy, and, of course, a self-proclaimed wizard who may or may not have a magical wand, Ozzy begins an unforgettable quest that will lead him closer to the answers he desperately seeks about his missing parents.

Wizard for Hire is and great read for young adults, and some middle grade readers. The story opens with Ozzy at seven, just after his family has moved to the cloaked house in the woods from New York City. HIs adjustment and the kidnapping of his parents are the way readers to to know and understand Ozzy. For seven years Ozzy just survives- but reading fiction, the discovery of the mechanical bird, and starting to explore the world has lead Ozzy to want to understand more about the outside world, and start the hunt for his missing parents. Sigi, the only kid at school that seems willing to get to know him, and later the "wizard" Rin are the only people that seem more willing to get to know him and look beyond his oddities. I love the ambiguity about magic and Rin's abilities, or lack thereof. He does things that seem impossible, but could just be luck. Through the entire book readers are left wondering if the magic is real, or if Rin just had a breakdown and is just a little different now. I enjoyed the journey of Ozzy and friends as they seek more information on his parents, and how things often go a little sideways, but rarely completely wrong. I also like that the story is a great adventure with significant emotional growth and challenges for all of the characters. I enjoyed the journey with Ozzy as a slightly unreliable narrator, since he rarely looked deeper than the surface or payed attention to things that stuck out to me as important.  I greatly enjoyed the ride, and am hoping that this turns into aa new series, or that some of the characters pop up in another story from the author in the near future. It was also just a fun, enjoyable read that I did not want to end.

Wizard for Hire is a fun, quirky read that also has significant character growth and development. I would love to continue this story with more about Ozzy, Rin, and Sigi.

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