I didn’t think cozy soft-magic romance was my thing…but this magical YA road trip romance/coming-of-age has me second-guessing that.
In Abe’s world the magic community exists in secret alongside the regular world. Ellie and Jack are former childhood best friends who grew up in their family’s magic-infused retail shops. Jack’s mother’s death pushed them apart and they’ve been making life hard for each other ever since. The last thing they want to do is embark on a road trip to a magical retailer convention together.
Did someone say enemies-to-lover second chance romance with the only one-bed trope ?
I enjoyed the simple mythology of magic in this world. Magic is a resource that the magic-aware can use to create small charms or enhance a food item. Magic does little things like boost confidence or fix a cracked phone case. Abe goes out of her way to make sure the magical system has rules and she even crafts a bit of magical history.
This book is called The Charmed List because Ellie also has this list of things she wants to do to make herself less of a wallflower. I’ll admit I’m getting a wee bit tired of the female main character who always feels ignored and has to learn to shine.
Jack and Ellie’s adventures down the California coast was the best part of this book. I felt like the ‘charmed list’ plot point didn’t really gel with the story and could have been left out.
This was an ideal blend of contemporary and fantasy!
14 Hours 4 Mins | Margaret K. McElderry | Historical/Sci-Fi/Horror | 1/26/2021
These Violent Delights is a Historical (sci-fi ?. .horror ?) YA set in the dangerous and dazzling city of Shanghai during the roaring 20s Shanghai. The novel is an homage (read: Not a retelling. Not even a little bit) to Romeo and Juliet and follows rival gang heirs Juliette the cutthroat fierce heir to the Scarlett Gang and Roma the stalworth Russian heir to the White Flowers, as they hunt down the source of a maddening disease sweeping the city
Going in I didn’t know much about Shanghai’s history as an international (read colonized) port. It’s the perfect setting for this dark and mysterious mystery the main characters find themselves in. I’m curious to read more book set during this time period.…
- Release Date: October 6th 2015
- Length: 6 hours and 23 minutes
- Genre: Contemporary / Paranormal YA
- Publisher: HarperTeen
17-year-old Mikey Mitchell just wants to enjoy his last few months of high school with his best friends and hopefully getting his OCD under control. But he’s also kind of stuck in the middle of your favorite paranormal YA novel, except you know. . . he’s a background character. Strange blue lights and mysterious deaths means the indie kids–those high school kids with the capital D destinies and weird names–are up to something. Mikey just hopes the indie kids don’t blown up up the high school….again.
Patrick Ness is a mix bag of an author, you just never know what you’re going to get. The concept of having a Mikey’s contemporary narrative adjacent to the indie kid’s paranormal adventure made for an entertaining listen. The indie kid’s plot is a parody of e those paranormal YA books of the early 2010’s and Ness creates a loving satire of the genre.
- Release Date: August 23, 2016
- Genre: Contemporary-ish
- Publisher: Dutton Books for Young Readers (Penguin)
This book probably had the easiest elevator pitch ever; students at a New Jersey high school start spontaneously combusting. The entire town, and eventually the entire world starts looking for answers including senior class member Mara Carlyle, the snarky, foul-mouthed, irreverent narrator who takes us through this story.
I have read a lot of weird YA. I’m talking giant man-eating grasshopper YAand girls-drink-bat-and-sees-future-anti-feminist hellscape weird. But this book takes the Kafkaesque cake.
I was so morbidly curious about this book after hearing about it a BEA because I wanted to see how they handled the combustion. Do the students go poof gone or it is something more gruesome? Well, let me put it this way, when it first happens people assume it was a suicide bomb. So, it mentions blood but it never gets too gross. Starmer focuses more on how students react to what is…leftover.
Release Date: May 12, 2015
Genre: Magical Realism/ Contemporary
Publisher: Balzer + Bray (Harper Collins)
The Cost Of All Things exists in a world pretty much like our own except spells are real and can be created by women known as hekamists. When a group of high school students in Cape Code start buying spells to cope with their insecurities…it doesn’t go well. I went into this book excited because it had blurbs from so many award winning YA authors and the premise sounded so fascinating. But overall this book didn’t work for me.
The magic system never felt fully developed and it’s existence within the world didn’t feel real . One thing that bothered me is that being a hekamist is illegal, but there doesn’t seem to be any illegality with buying a spell–which feels like the opposite of what should be happen.There were also very little stakes, the book sets up the death of one character , Win, as being a main plot point but he has a POV, so it takes some of the mystery out. I think what kept me reading was that I thought there would be a twist ending but there really wasn’t.