Monday, April 3, 2017

REVIEW: Potions in the Pizza by Mikey Brooks (The W.H.O. Files #1)

Potions in the Pizza
Author: Mikey Brooks
Series: The W.H.O. Files
Publisher: Future House Publishing
Genre: Mystery/Fantasy
An ARC copy was provided by Future House Publishing in exchange for an honest review.

4/5 stars
PG: several kids are placed under spells by witches
Recommend to middle grade readers, especially fans of Hocus Pocus and school mayhem stories

10­-year-­old twins Ethan and Emmy’s parents have never told their kids what they do for a living. Then just before Halloween, while their parents are away on an emergency business trip, Ethan, Emmy, and their best friend Jax discover a HUGE secret: could the twins’ parents actually be . . . witch hunters?

Meanwhile at school, a new team of glamorous lunch ladies arrives on the scene, serving meals that taste way too good to come from a school cafeteria. There’s only one logical explanation: they’re witches, and the meals they serve are spiked with a dangerous potion! Why have witches come to Roosevelt Elementary? Where have Ethan and Emmy’s parents gone? Can it be a mere coincidence that their parents left just as the witches arrived? Whether they’re ready or not, Ethan and Emmy have only one option if they want to save their school and find their parents: become witch hunters themselves. (via Goodreads)

The Review:
I loved this book! It's just a fun, fantastic blast, and I didn't want to put it down.

Right off the bat, the characters got my attention. The Orion Twins are so lifelike and fun I got pulled right into the story. Emmy is a firecracker, ready to take on any bully that picks on her brother, but she's also a mess of emotions and sarcasm. My gosh, she's got a tongue on her. But the adults in the story don't give her any leeway for that, which I loved, so Emmy gets to be brutally sarcastic (like so many ten-year-old girls), but she also gets put right back in her place, so she doesn't come off as a brat. Brother Ethan is meeker and more reserved than his sister, but we soon discover he's no sissy; he prefers to put his brain to work on a problem than, say, jumping onto its back and hitting it, like another Orion I could mention. Kids will relate easily to both Emmy and Ethan. I absolutely love them, as characters and as siblings. Their dynamic is great, constantly jumping between infuriating each other and adorably being the other's greatest protector or confidant. They have to work together despite their opposing flaws, strengths, and weakness. Along the way, they learn to appreciate new things about each other, and that's the best kind of sibling story. ^_^

Their best friend Jax -a history buff and bottomless pit- his parents, and the enigmatic teacher Miss LeBeau nicely round out the vibrant cast for the adventure. I especially love how larger than life all these characters are; they could step right out of the pages and I wouldn't be surprised.

The mystery in the story is good for middle graders; older readers might find aspects predictable, but the vibrant characters and fun story are more than worth it. It's a quick, fun read -perfect for Halloween, but still great for any time. I've got to warn you: readers will want to dive straight into the next one. I can't blame them! I myself feel a bit like Zuko in the Dragon Catacombs:
I didn't want this book to end. There's still so much I want to know and I can't wait to learn more about the W.H.O. and what's next for the Orion twins.

While Emmy and Ethan get their first adventure wrapped up and under their belt (and tutu), some questions are left unanswered for their second adventure which, of course, leads us to the most important question of all.

Potions in the Pizza is a great opener to a new series that kids are sure to love. In the post-Harry Potter reading world full to the brim of magic schools and predestined wizards, it's a fun twist to find a book from the side of the witch hunters, a la Hocus Pocus.

Have you read Potions in the Pizza?


  1. Thanks for your review! This is great!

  2. Sounds interesting, especially the magic school and the twist on witch hunters.

    1. You should definitely give it a try! And let me know what you think, too. ^_^

  3. This sounds so cute! I love how different in personality the twins come across as and I'm always a fan of a snarky character. Though like you said, it's good that she's put in her place as well. I agree, the witch-hunter angle makes this seem like a fun read. Great review :D

    1. Thanks, Jaclyn; snarky characters are definitely a must. ;)