Review: Nothing Up My Sleeve

nothing-up-sleeveBook: Nothing Up My Sleeve (2016)
Author: Diana Lopez
Genre: MG, Contemporary
Rating: 3.5 Stars

Basic plot: Three boysZ, Dominic, and Loop—enter the world of competitive magicians when they happen upon a Magic Shop.  Naturally competitive, the three friends start to turn on each other when their various magic props get sabotaged. On top of everything, each boy has to deal with some sort of trouble at home, whether it’s dealing with divorce or the fact that their parents don’t have the money to pay the entry fee to the competition to a perceived betrayal by a parent. It’s only when they realize that they need to band together and help each other out to succeed.


1) The magic tricks were pretty cool in this book. Lopez gives us enough of a taste of the tricks each boy learns without revealing too much of how it’s done. (A magician never reveals his/her secrets!)

2) I liked the arc for Ariel… How she gets the boys to compete against each other. Her part got even better once we met Stewart as the guy to beat! I’m not sure how she would have done it, but I felt Lopez almost needed to introduce that kid sooner.

3) Mr. Garza (aka Senor Surprise) hands out a lot of wisdom, but not in a way that’s intrusive. I like how he uses tricks to help the boys with their problems at home. And even though he gives advice, each boy comes up with his own solution to fix the problem.

4) This book made me go google some of the magic tricks it talked about! The French Drop, among others! Fun to see the tricks in action. 🙂

5) I enjoyed reading the little definitions of “magic” terms that precede each chapter. Most terms I already knew, but some were new to me.

6) I’m glad that the boys [*SPOILER] did not win the big competition, considering that they were still pretty green. I’m also glad that Stewart did not win either! [End Spoiler]


1) I kept getting confused with which boy was which! We were following three of them, and even by the end of the book, I was getting confused with Loop vs. Dominic vs. Z.


My rating is 3.5 Stars (out of 5) – Definitely would recommend this book to any kids who want to learn magic tricks. I do have an interest in it, but I am pretty hopeless when it comes to performing these sorts of trick. But maybe that’s because I don’t practice enough! 🙂


Have you read this book? What are your thoughts? I’d love to hear your thoughts in the comments!

Note: I’m posting this for Greg Pattridge’s Marvelous Middle-Grade Monday

10 thoughts on “Review: Nothing Up My Sleeve

  1. What a great cover! This sounds like a clever book for readers who want to try/or already love magic tricks. Interesting how the magic tricks help the boys work through their own personal issues — very realistic. Magic tricks are cool, as demonstrated on “America’s Got Talen.” Great gift idea!


  2. I somehow missed this one when it came out. There have been a few others using magic as a backdrop (including a series by Neil Patrick Harris). I like the plot and characters you shared for NOTHING UP MY SLEEVE and will mark it down as one to read. Thanks for featuring on MMGM.

    Liked by 1 person

    • The characters are in 6th grade (I think). I would definitely recommend for 5th grade, especially one that knows how to do the French Drop! (After reading the book, I went to youtube to see how the trick is done.)


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