What the Spell?

What the Spell? 336p. (A Life's a Witch Book). S & S. 2013. Tr $16.99. ISBN 978-1-4424-6815-3; ebook $9.99. ISBN 978-1-4424-6708-8. LC 2012025114.
Gr 9 Up—Though Brooklyn longs to become a part of The Elite, Clearview High's popular, pretty, and powerful group of kids, she remains off everyone's radar and spends lunch periods eating with the school guidance counselor, Ms. Zia. Things change on her 16th birthday, when her parents finally unbind her magical powers. The first thing Brooklyn does is give herself a makeover—complete with fuller lips, zero zits, and blond hair—and instantly goes from feeling invisible to being center stage. Not only do The Elite take notice, but things are also heating up with her oh-so-cute-crush, Asher, a nice guy who doesn't care about being popular (and also turns out to be a witch). As she strives for acceptance into the top clique, the challenges she faces become more and more difficult. How far is Brooklyn willing to go to gain recognition, and will she be able to keep her powers secret? As this lengthy story unfolds, Brooklyn repeatedly lies to Asher, disappoints Ms. Zia, and makes numerous poor choices, all with the best intentions. Ingredients of pop culture and home values blend to present a tale of a protagonist who struggles with self-esteem. While some of the story elements are a bit hard to buy, and Brooklyn proves to be an extremely slow learner of life's lessons, the story may attract fans of frothy paranormal fare.—Keisha Miller, South Orange Public Library, NJ

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