Title: The Charmed List
Author: Julie Abe
Publisher: Wednesday Books
Publication date: July 5th, 2022
After spending most of high school as the quiet girl, Ellie Kobata is ready to take some risks and have a life-changing summer, starting with her Anti-Wallflower List—thirteen items she’s going to check off one by one. She’s looking forward to riding rollercoasters, making her art Instagram public (maybe), and going on an epic road-trip with her best friend Lia.
But when number four on Ellie’s list goes horribly wrong—revenge on Jack Yasuda—she’s certain her summer has gone from charmed to cursed. Instead of a road trip with Lia, Ellie finds herself stuck in a car with Jack driving to a magical convention. But as Ellie and Jack travel down the coast of California, number thirteen on her list—fall in love—may be happening without her realizing it.
In The Charmed List, Julie Abe sweeps readers away to a secret magical world, complete with cupcakes and tea with added sparks of joy, and an enchanted cottage where you can dance under the stars.
I haven’t personally read a YA magical/contemporary romance in a little while, but The Charmed List was a wonderful reintroduction to the genre. This book is a friends to enemies to lovers romance between two magical teens whose parents have competing magical stores in California. They were best friends up until around the age of 12, until our hero drops the FMC like a bad habit with no explanation except public distain. Now, they must work together after breaking the most important magical code – don’t let the non-magical know about the magic. Now they are on a forced road trip and are forced to discuss the last few years.
I thought this was a sweet, younger romance – I think the characters are 16 so we’re not looking at spice or anything here. I didn’t think the explanation and apology from the hero was really good enough for forgiveness but hey, I’m not the one who is forgiving him.
I think the magic world created was interesting but simple – there wasn’t much background given into the magic system but this isn’t really the type of book where that matters much. It was definitely more focused on the contemporary-ish romance than the fantasy nature. The magic was more just a fun twist than a hugely important part of the story.
Overall, really enjoyed for the sweet romance. There is also a lot of page time given to tea and it just constantly made me was to drink the tea they were talking about.
Thank you to Wednesday Books and Netgalley for an early copy in exchange for an honest review.
Happy reading, folks!