Spell Book & Scandal
Publication date: October 31st 2017
Genres: Paranormal, Young Adult
Shelby King is tired of living in her sister’s shadow. Just because Christina is the most powerful caster in school doesn’t mean Shelby’s any good at magic; she’s a scribe, like her mom, and everyone expects her to write spells for her sister, the way her mom always has for her dad. But Shelby’s spells fail spectacularly, and by the time she’s a sophomore, Christina won’t touch them with a ten-foot-pole; their parents aren’t much better. Shelby is fed up, and she decides to show the world she doesn’t care if she isn’t as good as her stuck-up sister, or as talented as their powerful parents. In fact, she decides it’s time to break all the rules, magical and otherwise, and she starts sneaking out to meet Jeremiah Smallwood, the second-best caster in school at illegal pop-up spell battles around town. She may not be able to scribe for him, but she doesn’t mind letting him think that she could; Shelby’s been half in love with Miah as long as she can remember, but he’s never paid attention to her until now, and she’s not going to risk her chances worrying about a pesky thing like the truth. But when Christina rats her out to their parents, Shelby can’t control her anger, and words come pouring out of her that she can’t take back even if she wanted to, threatening Christina’s future…and Shelby’s own chances with Jeremiah. It’ll take more magic than Shelby’s ever dreamed of to set things right, but no scribe has that much magic…right?
My Musings :
At first glance, the implied conflict between siblings is what caught my attention. Then I was in the mood for some YA so everything together got me reading this book. When I started the book, the school part felt a bit routine inspite of the concept of normies and casters and scribes. But as the book went on, I got caught up in the life of Shelby and her family. I believe if you can get through the first few pages, you will enjoy the tale as much I did.
The familial problems especially with Christina had me frowning a lot because it was outright favouritism. It all adds to the "flavour" of the book. Shelby grows in characters quite a bit according to me. In the beginning she is so unsure of her and towards the end, she comes into her ability. Miah had me suspicious from the starting because of his emphasis on Shelby scribing for him. His attitude at the end felt rather abrupt and quite a about turn change.
The world building is an alternate reality with the base being our normal world with paranormal races like scribes and casters which form an unique and intriguing community. I felt that it wasn't fully explained for the readers. There's lot more to it and for that alone I look forward to the next book. Add to it that the ending had me asking a few questions inspite of being a non cliffhanger end, I am eager for the sequel.
The pace rather picks up as I follow Shelby's challenges and the flow also is in sync with the writing. All in all, I enjoyed the fast read a lot and I recommend this to those who like YA with magic.
I received a copy for reviewing purposes which doesn't impact my review in any way.
My one line review : A cool magical system with a heroine who grows with the story.
My rating : 4/5
My reread factor : 3/5
Award-winning author Jen McConnel writes NA, YA, and nonfiction. When she isn’t writing, she can be found on her yoga mat or wandering off on another adventure. Visit www.JenMcConnel.com to learn more!
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