The Misadventures of Salem Hyde, Book 2

  • The Misadventures of Salem Hyde, Book 2: Big Birthday Bash
  • written and illustrated by Frank Cammuso
  • published by Amulet Books (Abrams)
  • Roar Score: 3/5

(For our review of Salem Hyde, Book One, click here.)

Salem and Whammy are back. This time, Salem has been invited to a birthday party and wants to give the best birthday present ever. Alas, Whammy is still there to make sure she doesn’t use her magic.

Two new characters play prominent roles in this book: Edgar (whose birthday it is) and Shelly (Salem’s arch nemesis). Both are classmates at school. Some of the best bits of this book are when Salem and Shelly trade some (appropriately elementary) verbal jabs with each other.

Similar to Book One, the story is told through a series of short 1-3 page vignettes. Some lead into the next more seamlessly than others. Still, they all tell a single narrative.

This story, though, feels a bit different from Book One. Since we’ve already dispensed with Salem and Whammy’s “origins,” the story is free to follow an adventure without the constraints of having to establish fresh characterization or motivation. Salem wants to give Edgar a “big birthday gift,” and that’s exactly what she does. For better or worse. But nothing goes as planned with Salem Hyde.

A shopping cart, red slushees, a rare action figure, a sparrow, and a pinata all factor heavily in her misadventures this time around. As a bonus, Whammy also relates a gift-giving story from his past that sounds a wee bit familiar.

Book Two is scheduled for a May 20 release but is available for preorder now from all the usual sources. Book Three also appears to be scheduled for October of this year. We’ll be looking forward to that.

Verdict? It’s a solid read. Zoey and I preferred Book One for different reasons. I missed the “heart” and emotion that was the backbone of the first story. Zoey missed the crazy antics that came with Salem’s misuse of her magic. Still, this is well worth your time and money. It’s great for kids, and Salem is still super charming!

Obviously Zoey’s favorite panel


Jamie is a publishing/book nerd who makes a living by wrangling words together into some sense of coherence. He's the founder and owner of The Roarbots and also a contributor to Syfy Wire,, and GeekDad. On top of that, he hosts The Great Big Beautiful Podcast, which celebrates creativity in popular culture, science, and technology by talking to a wide variety of people who contribute to it.