So You Want To Be A Wizard
Thirteen-year-old Nita Callahan finally finds a way to get back at the notorious school bullies, Joanne and her gang, when she discovers a library book on the art of wizardry. She hardly dares to believe the book's claim that she too can become a wizard if she's willing to take the Wizard's Oath and undergo the danger of a wizard's initiation, the Ordeal. But to Nita's amazement and delight, her new Wizard's Manual is telling her the truth. While practicing her first spells, Nita meets Kit Rodriguez, another young wizard, and starts working with him to find a solution to her bullying problem.
What they get, though, doesn't look much like a solution. Kit and Nita suddenly find themselves dealing with a "white hole" named Fred, who's arrived on Earth with an urgent message regarding the mystical Book of Night with Moon. The Book is missing...and has to be found quickly if dire things aren't going to start happening to the Earth.
It's not long before the search for the bright Book leads Nita and Kit to a deadly alternate Manhattan, where they encounter man-eating helicopters, vicious packs of killer cabs, and the terrible wolflike perytons that attack them at every turn. Despite the danger, Kit and Nita are determined to rescue the Book of Night with Moon from the lair of the dragon who presently possesses it. But can they keep the Book out of the clutches of the Lone Power, the ancient darkness cast out long ago from the heart of the worlds?...
So You Want To Be A Wizard is the first volume of the (presently) ten-volume Young Wizards series.
"A fandango of urban renewal, talking cars, and evil lurking beneath the streets of an alternate Manhattan. Fun, funny and very clever." (New York Times)
"...Stands between the works of Diana Wynne Jones, in its wizardry and spells, and those of Madeleine L'Engle, in its scientific concepts and titanic battles between good and evil. An outstanding, original work." (Horn Book)
"The book is funny, nicely scary, and enlivened by Duane's love for the 'real' Manhattan, where monsters and wizardry stay discreetly on the sidelines... most of the time." (Locus)
NYPL Quick Picks for Reluctant Young Adult Readers award
Special commendation, Anne Spencer Lindbergh Prize in Children's Literature