Diamond Jack: Your Magic or Your Life by Anna Rainbow

Diamond Jack: Your Magic or Your Life by Anna Rainbow – at a glance

The School Reading Lists’ five word review: Highwaymen, magic, family, loyalty, friendship.
Children’s book title: Diamond Jack: Your Magic or Your Life.
Children’s author: Anna Rainbow.
Genre: Children’s fiction.
Published by: Chicken House.
ISBN: 9781913322724.
Recommended for children aged: 9-11 year-olds.
First published: Paperback January 2024.
This children’s book is ideal for: Confident readers who enjoy exciting stories with twists and turns throughout.

Diamond Jack: Your Magic or Your Life by Anna Rainbow

To see the latest price or order, click on the book cover image.

Our review:

Bramble, Bram, Browning is in charge of her Grandpa’s Emporium of Strange and Magical Things and, for the first time, she has the keys and is running the shop on her own. At twelve she knows she’s old enough but her sister and grandfather don’t seem to agree! Things don’t go quite as she’d hoped, however, and almost before she realises it Bram and her best friend, Ernest, are in the forbidden shed at the bottom of the garden, exploring. When disaster strikes and Bram discovers she is unwittingly using forbidden magic, she thinks things can’t get any worse – how wrong she is!

Diamond Jack: Your Magic or Your Life by Anna Rainbow. Spread 1

As Bram and Ernest’s adventure continues she discovers secrets about her family and friends as well as herself. Can she use this newfound knowledge to conquer her fears and get a crucial job done or will her home and everyone close to her be destroyed?

Our verdict:

This excellent book is a fast-moving and action-packed read, with great main protagonists to cheer for. Diamond Jack is thoughtfully written while everything Bramble discovers is given a clear and precise explanation. That doesn’t mean there aren’t any surprises, there are plenty, many of which I didn’t see coming at all!

Diamond Jack: Your Magic or Your Life by Anna Rainbow. Spread 2

Bram and her sister, Lena, have recently lost their parents and now reside with their grandfather and work in his emporium as well as living next door to Ernest. He is my favourite character, ever the optimist, he keeps Bram’s spirits up as much as he can. Everything is tinged with sadness for Bram but gradually, as the story progresses, new experiences and emotions help her begin to realise that she still has plenty to live and fight for.

The way the masks are used is inspired and I don’t think anyone will guess how the highwaymen become such an integral part of the story. It seems there could be at least one more book in this series as there were several hints about this at the end of the story.

Diamond Jack: Your Magic or Your Life by Anna Rainbow. Spread 3

Teaching points and book club discussion ideas:

  • Diamond Jack could be used in PSHE to discuss how most of us, at one time or another, will experience situations where everything is changing while we have no choice but to change too.
  • Some people, children and adults alike, will use a metaphorical mask to keep their feelings hidden and as this well-written story shows these decisions have consequences.
  • Read a sample chapter

Many thanks to Chicken House for the review copy.

To order a class set of this book, please click below to order via uk.bookshop.org, an organisation that supports local bookshops, or Amazon.co.uk.

Buy from UK.Bookshop.Org Buy from Amazon.co.uk

Disclosure: If you buy books using the buttons above: we may earn a commission from Bookshop.org, whose fees support independent bookshops; as an Amazon Associate schoolreadinglist.co.uk earns from qualifying purchases.

If you like Diamond Jack: Your Magic or Your Life by Anna Rainbow you might also like: our reviews of Antigua de Fortune of the High Seas by Anna Rainbow and Oli Hyatt, Thunderbolt by Wilbur Smith with Chris Wakling, Picklewitch & Jack and the Sea Wizard’s Secret by Claire Barker, Mia and the Traitor of Nubis by Janelle McCurdy and Adia Kelbara and the Circle of Shamans by Isi Hendrix.

Browse our list of books for Year 5

About Tracy Wood

Photo of author
I am a voracious reader and used to be a learning support assistant in a senior school for eight years before leaving to home school my now adult daughter. I have ten grandchildren who I love reading to and spending time with. Reviews by Tracy Wood