The Wizard's Dilemma: The Fifth Book in the Young Wizards Series

The Wizard's Dilemma: The Fifth Book in the Young Wizards Series

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How do you fix what can't be fixed? Only the Transcendent Pig knows, and it's not telling. . . .
But Nita Callahan needs to find out--and soon. Her wizardly partnership with Kit has fallen apart. Much worse, her mother has gotten sick . . . so sick she may never leave the hospital.
Only one person can help Nita--the One she's devoted her life to fighting.

Product Details

ISBN-13: 9780152024604
Publisher: Houghton Mifflin Harcourt
Publication date: 08/01/2002
Series: Young Wizards Series , #5
Edition description: First Edition
Pages: 432
Sales rank: 548,220
Product dimensions: 4.18(w) x 6.87(h) x 0.98(d)
Lexile: 820L (what's this?)
Age Range: 10 - 12 Years

About the Author

DIANE DUANE is the author of nearly fifty science fiction and fantasy novels, including ten books in the Young Wizards series. Four of her Star Trek novels have been New York Times bestsellers, including Spock's World. She lives with her husband in rural Ireland. Visit her online at and

Read an Excerpt

Friday Afternoon

"Honey, have you seen your sister?"

"She's on Jupiter, Mom."

There was no immediate response to this piece of news. Sitting at a dining room table covered with notebooks, a few schoolbooks, and one book that had less to do with school than the others, Nita Callahan glanced over her shoulder just in time to catch sight of her mother looking at the ceiling with an expression that said, What have I done to deserve this?

Nita turned her head back to what looked like her homework, so that her mother wouldn't see her smile. "Well, yeah, not on Jupiter; it's hard to do that . . . She's on Europa."

Her mother came around and sat down in the chair opposite Nita at the table, looking faintly concerned. "She's not trying to create life again or something, is she?"

"Huh? Oh, no. It was there already. But there was some kind of problem."

The look on her mother's face was difficult to decipher. "What kind?"

"I'm not sure," Nita said, and this was true. She had read the mission statement, which had appeared in her copy of the wizard's manual shortly after Dairine left, but the fine print had made little sense to her-probably the reason why she or some other wizard had not been sent to deal with the trouble, and Dairine had. "It's kind of hard to understand what single-celled organisms consider a problem." She made an amused face. "But it looks like Dairine's the answer to it."

"All right." Her mom leaned back in the chair and stretched. "When will she be back?"

"She didn't say. But there's a limit to how much air you can carry with you on one of these jaunts if you're also going to have energy to spare to actually get anything done," Nita said. "Probably a couple hours."

"Okay . . . We don't have to have a formal dinner tonight. Everyone can fend for themselves. Your dad won't mind; he's up to his elbows in shrub right now, anyway." The buzz of the hedge trimmer could still be heard as Nita's dad worked his way around the house. "We can take care of the food shopping later . . . There's no rush. Is Kit coming over?"

Nita carefully turned the notebook page she'd been working on. "Uh, no. I have to go out and see him in a little while, though . . . Someone's meeting us to finish up a project. Probably it'll take us an hour or two, so don't wait for me. I'll heat something up when I get home."

"Okay." Her mother got up and went into the kitchen, where she started opening cupboards and peering into them. Nita looked after her with mild concern when she heard her mom's tired sigh. For the past month or so, her mom had been alternating between stripping and refinishing all the furniture in the house and leading several different projects for the local PTA-the biggest of them being the effort to get a new playground built near the local primary school. It seemed to Nita that her mother was always either elbow deep in steel wool and stain, or out of the house on errands, so often that she didn't have a lot of spare time for anything else.

After a moment Nita heaved a sigh. No point in trying to weasel around it, though, she thought. I've got problems of my own.

Kit . . . But it's not his fault . . . Is it?

Nita was still recovering from an overly eventful vacation in Ireland, one her parents had planned for her, to give Nita a little time away from Kit, and from wizardry. Of course this hadn't worked. A wizard's work can happen anywhere, and just changing continents couldn't have stopped Nita from being involved in it any more than changing planets could have. As for Kit, he'd found ways to be with Nita regardless-which turned out to have been a good thing. Nita had been extremely relieved to get home, certain that everything would then get back to normal.

Trouble is, someone changed the location of "normal" and didn't bother sending me a map, Nita thought. Kit had been a little weird since she got home. Maybe some of it was just their difference in age, which hadn't really been an issue until a month or so ago. But Nita had started ninth grade this year and, to her surprise, was finding the work harder than she'd expected. She was used to coasting through her subjects without too much strain, so this was an annoyance. Worse yet, Kit wasn't having any trouble at all, which Nita also found annoying, for reasons she couldn't explain. And the two of them didn't see as much of each other at school as they'd used to. Kit, now in an accelerated-study track with other kids doing "better than their grade," was spending a lot of his time coaching some of the other kids in his group in history and social studies. That was fine with her, but Nita disliked the way some of her classmates, who knew she was best friends with Kit, would go out of their way to remind her, whenever they got a chance, how well Kit was doing.

As if they're fooling anyone, she thought. They're nosing around to see if he and I are doing something else . . . and they can't understand why we're not. Nita frowned. Life had been simpler when she'd merely been getting beaten up every week. In its own way, the endless sniping gossip-the whispering behind hands, and the passed notes about cliques and boys and clothes and dates-was more annoying than any number of bruises. The pressure to be like everyone else-to do the same stuff and think the same things-just grew, and if you took a stance, the gossip might be driven underground . . . but never very far.

Nita sighed. Nowadays she kept running into problems for which wizardry either wasn't an answer, or else was the wrong one. And even when it was the right answer, it never seemed to be a simple one anymore.

Copyright © 2001 by Diane Duane
All rights reserved. No part of this publication may be reproduced or transmitted in any form or by any means,
electronic or mechanical, including photocopy, recording,
or any information storage and retrieval system,
without permission in writing from the publisher.
Requests for permission to make copies of any part of the work should be mailed to the following address:
Permissions Department, Harcourt, Inc.,
6277 Sea Harbor Drive, Orlando, Florida 32887-6777.

What People are Saying About This

From the Publisher

"Powerful and satisfying on many levels."—Kirkus Reviews
"A gripping and dynamic fantasy. . . . Fans of the author will flock to this new adventure, which likely will bring new readers to the series."—VOYA

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The Wizard's Dilemma (So You Want to Be a Wizard Series #5) 4.5 out of 5 based on 0 ratings. 38 reviews.
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
This book is amazing, and it made me cry. I loved it in the way that it's just so true-combines magic and tragidy in a book. So good-I especially liked how Nita and Kit realize how to be friends again, and Dairine and Roshaun are hilarious. Filif is also nice. The sun problems were genius, and I hereby declere this book rated at six stars. P.S Magic DOES exist!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!
Guest More than 1 year ago
This is a really really REALLY great book (if I added enough reallys to describe it I wouldn't have had enough room). I really hope that Diane Duane writes more sequels to this series, as I enjoy reading them so much! I would recommend this book to anyone who likes fantasy/sci-fi stories. This book makes you want to sit down and do absolutely nothing until you finish it.
Guest More than 1 year ago
This do I begin, is one of the best books I have read in my life. Nita has to save her mother's life from cancer...but she needs help. She cant turn to her best friend Kit...they had a argument and are not speaking to each other, Parayl, an alien, cant help her either (read to find out why). The only help she has been offered is from the one person (or thing) she loaths, the Lone Power! I recommend this book to anyone willing to read something they will be talking about for ages. A remarkable book and I loved it!
hoosgracie on LibraryThing More than 1 year ago
Nita faces her greatest challenge in facing the Lone Power's attack on her mother in the form of cancer. Very moving addition to the series.
wyvernfriend on LibraryThing More than 1 year ago
Nita has to face up to her mother being very sick and Kit has been distracted by other matters. She's convinced that their relationship has trouble, but it's those troubles of finding places in their partnership and how they work with each other. The Lone Power offers her choices but what are the costs of those choices.I like the solidity of this series. The charcters are interesting and the world consistent.
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I like this book so far,(i've only read a quarter of the book) but i have three words to describe why this book isn't five stars: SUPER LAZY PROOFREADING!!!
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