Angus is about to embark on a journey from Scotland to America, as his beloved human, Sarah is leaving this world. Angus and Sarah were bound together by the McGonagall curse, so Sarah chooses to pass Angus onto the next family member of age in her family line, or to Alex (short for Alexandra). Angus travels to America will be difficult, it's not like he can hop on a plane or mail himself in a box, so to get there he enlists the help of other magical creatures to make the journey. Did I forget to mention that Angus is a Brownie? A Brownie who is bound by an oath to keep the household he inhabits clean, to deliver a certain amount of mischief, avoid humans, and to never speak of the Enchanted Realm. But, it turns out that Alex will Angus' toughest challenge, she is messy, disorganized, and like him is prone to loose her temper. She doesn't want her things touched, and least off all to have her room messed with. Try as he might to do his duties in hiding, Angus is found out, turns out this human girl is also surprisingly sneaky. Alex and Angus soon reach an understanding about what role he can play in keeping her room clean and things are going swimmingly, until it seems the curse has followed Angus to America. When both Alex's father and brother seem to be suffering from the curses affects, Alex and Angus are determined to break the curse by returning what was lost. Now they just need to figure out what that is.
Diary of a Mad Brownie is told by Angus in a diary format with illustrations intermingling here and there. At first Angus uses each entry as a means of getting over his fears of traveling to America, but then he chronicles his journey and the events that unfold when he meets Alex. I really like the way Coville expresses the importance of keeping a Diary (which is reinforced in Alex's homework assignment, in this case it is keeping a journal) and how it is a means of remembering things later in life. Unfortunately, in my case, I had a tidy parent who threw mine away. It would have been fun to go back and see my thoughts from when I was twelve or thirteen. I digress. The story is not just a Diary though, there are letters from teachers to the parents, family text messages, maps that Angus draws to orient himself to the house, and even a note from the vet. Not to mention there are some laugh out loud kind of moments, like when Alex finds her room clean and calls the police to report it (not that I condone her doing this, but the exchange in the 911 transcript is kinda funny). Overall a pretty amusing book and nice beginning to a new series, although this can easily be read as a stand alone also.
Favorite line: "What kind of mastermind of messiness was this child to whom I had been assigned?"
Disclaimer, Diary of a Mad Brownie has been nominated for the Cybils award and my review reflects my personal opinion, not the opinion of the Cybils committee.