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Most of us—probably all of us—make mistakes. Mistakes are good; they are how we learn. But we have to acknowledge them first. Only then can we move on,Nadia. Middle School Mischief

Middle School Mischief

The Magical Reality of Nadia #2

by Bassem Youssef & Catherine R. Daly
AR Test, Diverse Characters, Teaches About Culture

At A Glance
Interest Level

Reading Level
Number of Pages

Nadia loves fun facts. Here are a few about her: 

  • There was a magical—and hilarious—ancient Egyptian teacher named Titi trapped in her hippo amulet until she freed him last fall. 
  • Her school is choosing a new mascot and her idea is totally going to win! 
  • She’s going to kick butt writing for the school newspaper this term. . .  

A couple of weeks in, the newspaper is a big mess. The mascot contest is mayhem, too. (Who knew choosing a costumed character could cause such controversy?!) Then Nadia and Titi discover that the hippo amulet holds a second secret, one that’s super powerful—and super scary. Too bad they have no idea how to stop it. But Nadia is on the case! If she can solve the mystery of an ancient amulet, then winning the mascot contest and acing her reporter assignments should be easy. . . right? 

In the second installment of The Magical Reality of Nadia Series, Nadia learns that sometimes good intentions go awry. In hopes of bringing the student body together, Nadia proposed that the school’s mascot, the petunia, be replaced with something that represents everyone. Unfortunately, the contest to find a new mascot causes unexpected drama. In an effort to be heard, Nadia writes several articles. However, the first one is off-putting because it is preachy and the second one gives false information. Through it all, Nadia learns the importance of checking the validity of internet sources.  

Readers will connect with Nadia, who is imperfect and often makes mistakes. Like many middle school students, she unintentionally hurts people’s feelings which causes friendship problems. Since Nadia loves to tell people fun facts, she often comes off as a know-it-all. Despite this, Nadia’s imperfections and good intentions make her an extremely likable protagonist.  

Titi, an ancient professor, becomes a substitute teacher at Nadia’s school. Nadia begins to feel jealous when Titi has less time for her. Plus, Nadia begins to wonder if Titi is a true friend or if he is just using her. Nadia’s relationship with Titi adds suspense and humor to the story as well as reminds readers not to make assumptions.  

Middle School Mischief’s fun format and fast-paced plot will appeal to many readers. While most of the story is in traditional text, the book includes sections of black-and-white comics and lively black-and-white illustrations throughout. Several times throughout the story, Nadia mentions admiring Nellie Bly, which may spark the reader’s interest in the journalist. Unlike the first installment of the series, in Middle School Mischief Nadia’s fun facts are not integrated into the story; instead, they appear in the margins which makes it easy to overlook them.  

Middle School Mischief has many positive aspects that will appeal to middle-grade readers. While the story is full of humor, it also has many important life lessons including how mistakes are an important part of learning. The entertaining story also shows the importance of inclusion. In addition, the book briefly mentions microaggressions and explains that “just because something isn’t familiar to you doesn’t mean it’s weird.” Middle School Mischief is a highly entertaining book that reminds readers that no one is perfect.   

Sexual Content 

  • None 


  • Titi’s enemy, the magician Khefren, is determined to get revenge. The magician “turned on the news. And there it was—the scene of the ‘accident’ he’d orchestrated—the crushed chandelier, the broken glass, the flashing lights of the ambulances.” A news anchor goes on to explain, “A deranged squirrel caused massive destruction to the foyer of Elvis Presley’s historic home. The rodent chewed through a cable, causing a chandelier to fall on a local tour guide and Elvis impersonator.” No one is injured.  
  • When Titi lived in ancient Egypt, his friend Khefren became “very powerful. There were rumors that he had put a dark spell over the pharaoh. Our good and noble leader was now weak and confused. Anyone who questioned Khefren was put to death or imprisoned.” 
  • During lunch, Nadia was speaking to the student body. Someone gets upset and then, “Something hit the megaphone, then oozed off. Someone had thrown coleslaw at Nadia.” A food fight breaks out, but no one is injured.  
  • While in a classroom at Nadia’s school, Khefren gets angry and “pulled back his hand, fathering red smoke and sparks, and threw them toward Titi. The sparks bounced off him, hitting a gigantic seahorse and shattering it.”  
  • Khefren threatens to hurt Nadia and her friend Adam. “Titi dove to block the green and yellow sparks that flew from Khefren’s hand toward Adam. Adam hightailed it out of the classroom. . . Then [Khefren] threw electric blue sparks at the gigantic fish net hanging above. It landed on Nadia and Titi as Khefren disappeared down the hallway.”  
  • Khefren chases Adam down a hallway. To help Adam, Titi uses magic. “Suddenly, Nadia, Titi, and Adam were tiny animated versions of themselves, standing on the bake sale poster. ‘Eat us! Eat us!’ The cupcakes cried, jumping up and down.” As the three jump from poster to poster, the animated items on the poster chase them. 
  • Nadia, Titi, and Adam lock themselves in the gym. Khefren turns into a crocodile. “Croc-Khefren. . . rammed into the doors with his massive body. The lock broke like it was made of cheap plastic.” The students in the gym think the crocodile is part of Titi’s magic show. After an epic magic battle, Khefren is sent into an amulet.  

Drugs and Alcohol 

  • After the magic fight in the gym, Titi uses his magic to give everyone cotton candy. Titi says, “That delectable delight is filled with memory-erasing magic. Once everyone has a taste, all they’ll recall from today is that they saw a really amazing magic show. . .” 


  • Heck is used twice. 
  • Titi has many interesting ways to show surprise. For example, he exclaims, “Heavens to Mentuhotep” (an Egyptian pharaoh), “Cleopatra’s needles,” “for the love of Iris” (goddess of the rainbow), and more. 
  • Khefren calls Titi pathetic and a fool. 


  • Khefren can shapeshift. To get revenge, he takes over another human’s body. 
  • Titi can dive inside a comic book “to any point in history and bring Nadia and Adam along.”  
  • Titi is sent into a poster. For example, “Titi snapped his fingers and—POOF!—suddenly appeared on a poster of Pompei next to the whiteboard, a tiny animated version of himself.” 
  • Khefren takes over Principal Taylor’s body. Khefren believes Titi is in an amulet, so he plans to destroy it. “Taylor began chanting some ancient words, presumably the spell that would destroy the amulet forever. Purple smoke, then sparks began to form around his hand. . . Titi recites the backward words out loud and . . .purple sparks bounced off the amulet and head back toward Taylor.” This forces Khefren out of Taylor’s body. 

Spiritual Content 

  • Nadia makes a comment about how hawks “were revered in ancient Egypt—there was even an all-powerful hawk-headed god named Horus.”  
Other books by Bassem Youssef & Catherine R. Daly
Other books you may enjoy

Most of us—probably all of us—make mistakes. Mistakes are good; they are how we learn. But we have to acknowledge them first. Only then can we move on,Nadia. Middle School Mischief

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