Spell Book & Scandal
by Jen McConnel
October 31st 2017
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?
Shelby's sophomore year is beginning, which wouldn't be a problem if she wasn't a dud. Her family sits at the top of the magical pyramid—her older sister is on the way to be a great castor. Shelby should be a scribe, but her spells are miserable at best. When her crush suddenly takes an interest in her, she can't bring herself to tell him that she's lacking talent. But maybe she isn't, after all. Things start getting weird, and soon Shelby finds herself in the middle of a huge, magical mess.
This is a fun mixture of magic, crushes, sibling rivalry and high school drama with a teenage girl in the middle, who needs to figure out how to accept herself and deal with life. It's a fast-paced read with lots of action and spells. Shelby isn't comfortable in her own skin, tries her best but finds herself landing on her nose. The pressure from her parents' comes across familiar, as well as the uncertainty she faces when having to figure out what she wants to do with her future. There are lots of typical teenage problems, but with the magic added in.
The story flows well, not always perfect, but it's entertaining and isn't one easily set down. The relationship between Shelby and her sister is pretty harsh, and switches around a bit too fast in the end. The romantic interest also left guessing in the end. There are several familiar aspects along the way, but in general, it's a fresh, fun read. Fans of magic, romance, and high school drama with a little bit of adventure thrown in will enjoy this one.
And here she is. . .
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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