Title: LOVE SPELLS AND OTHER DISASTERS
Author: ANGIE BARRETT
Genre: YOUNG ADULT, CONTEMPORARY ROMANCE
Publication Date: FEBRUARY 1, 2021
ABOUT THE BOOK
I didn’t know when I wrote the first love spell that it would actually make things happen. Like, actually make people fall in love with each other…
How could I have known something like that? I mean, magic isn’t real, right?
But here’s the thing—the spell does work and so does the next one and the next one…and suddenly I’m getting a whole lot of attention from everyone at my high school. Me, Blend-into-the-Walls, Please-Let-Me-Introvert-in-Peace Rowan Marshall. And not only that, but I’ve also caught the attention of Luca Russo, a godlike, football-playing hottie who claims he likes me just the way I am. Ummm…
But as I’m about to learn, playing around with things you don’t understand means when things go wrong—like really, very awfully wrong—you don’t know how to fix them.
Love spells and other disasters? Well, considering the story is about a love spell…I’m not even surprised there are many disasters that came with it. After all, it is a love spell, the spell that doesn’t last long and have too many negative side effects. In conclusion, don’t try doing love spells even though it was just for fun because you may never know it might work.
The whole story is just like any other YA-Contemporaries; there are obviously high school drama, instant attraction, silly crushes, getting humiliated in front of many students, friendship is being tested, everything was fine until later when one thing gone wrong and the rest of the disasters followed after that etc.
It was too predictable and there are too many clichés, and yet I still enjoyed it. It was a nicely written story and even when some parts made me feel frustrated, I still ended up liking the book. What made the story unique is the fact that it has a few fantasy elements in it making it a magical realism story. I’ve read quite a few magical realism books before and now this one, so far all of it are captivating.
This is a story about a girl named Rowan who was paired up with her nemesis, Abby, and they had to figure out an interesting school project which happens to be selling crush and love spells. Surprisingly, the spells are working and everything seems fine until it all went wrong.
I find that the idea of selling crush and love spells for their school project is really smart, especially since Valentine’s day is just around the corner in the story. I had to give it to Abby for coming up with that brilliant idea but of course, majority of the credit had to go to Rowan since she was the only one who can make the spells worked. Since the first moment Abby introduced her idea for the project, I knew things will eventually go wrong sooner or later.
If you want to get an actual happiness or find true love, just be patient because true love will find you and it will bring you an actual happiness. Using a magical spell is just wrong on so many levels because you were interfering with someone else’s destiny aside from your own, and you were forcing someone to be with you even though they aren’t meant to be with you. And you wonder why it doesn’t last long? Well, you know the answer. It’s just a spell and the effect will runs out eventually. Nothing is permanent when it comes to magical spells. If you want to keep going, you will have to cast the spell again but this kind of magic is dangerous. I’m sure everyone knows that.
When those students got mad at Rowan because their crushes stop talking to them and start to ignore them, I was like, “what do y’all expect? Y’all know that the spell doesn’t make things permanent!” Even Rowan knew and Abby warned them already, yet nobody listened.
I was happy that the story flow so well since the beginning but was also nervous to witness the consequences and the fallout which happened later on. I was glad to see the story ended on a good note and everyone are happy. There will always be a way to reverse the spell and even though it comes with a lot of complications, it still worked.
Now let’s talk about the characters…
Rowan is the main protagonist of the story. She’s an introvert and is not part of the school’s popular crowds. When her magic spells are working, she started to gain a lot more popularity at school. Her life changed in a big way including getting into one of the popular crowds, have a caring and loving boyfriend who is the former school’s football player, and finding out that she was born with a magical ability.
She is an overall a character you can easily relate to but also the type of character you want to talk some sense into. She came off as a really nice girl, but I do admit she does have many flaws. She fought back whenever someone told her to do something she didn’t want to do but then she always surrender which was so frustrating. She was easily manipulated and blackmailed by her nemesis, I just want her to grow a backbone. She also can be a bit selfish and that was her only trait I disliked the most.
I get not wanting to undo the spell because she didn’t want to lose her boyfriend, but it wasn’t like she actually casted a spell on him. I was glad to see she came to her senses and did what she needed to do in order to prevent any more people from getting hurt due to the spell. A love spell is not something you should play with—be it for fun or not. It has dire consequences.
She learned her lesson and vow not to repeat her mistake again. Agreeing to Abby’s idea was her first mistake and continuing to create the spells for everyone even after she knew it worked was her second mistake. She should’ve stopped after the first two successful attempts but she didn’t and still knew what consequences she will face. She was brave for owning up her own mistakes and didn’t shy away from apologizing to others whom she hurt by doing the random act of kindness. That was the best way to make people forgive her and also that helps her to improve herself.
What I’m mostly shocked by was learning that she was born with an actual ability which her mother called as ‘magic.’ I should’ve known from the moment a few students confessed how the spells didn’t work when they did it themselves and that when Rowan did it, it worked. Sure, I was wondering but I brushed it off and then…I was shocked after learning the truth. Still, that was really interesting delving into the past to learn everything about how she got her ability. I was really invested during that part. It was a really cool explanation and made more sense, it does help the readers to understand the origin of Rowan’s ability.
Overall, Rowan is a great character with many flaws (so does everyone), but she put up a hard work to be better. Her character development went through different stages but that’s what I liked to see, it showed how her journey was like throughout the book. And what did she learn from making those journeys and what lessons did she learn in order to be the better version of herself.
Luca on the other hand is way too perfect for a love interest and yet I wasn’t surprised considering he is the ‘hero’ in this book. He’s good looking, have a smart brain, good at carpentry, and also good at planning his future. Getting a concussion and had to leave football behind forever was devastating but he found new a passion in carpentry. He was really selfless, down-to-earth, have a big heart and love to help others.
It will be wrong to say he have flaws because the way I see it, he doesn’t have any. He’s not like a bunch of his jock friends, and his attitude and personality separated him from them. He was also a very open-minded person and is wise at giving advices to other people. It was unbelievable how perfect Luca was the whole time. He never gets angry because that is not like him at all but he do get disappointed at one point in the story and yet still manage to keep calm. He was written as the most perfect character and I’m not complaining even though it was really unrealistic, but he’s still a really likable character and I really enjoyed getting to know him more.
Ethan and Abby are the other two main characters in this book. Ethan is Rowan’s best friend and I really loved their friendship even though at one point both of them was hurting due to what she had to do in order to change everything back to normal. He’s the type of friend you want to have in your life. He was funny, so supportive, and always be there whenever she needed him. Rowan and Ethan’s friendship is amazing. Abby and Rowan are enemies, and I knew something wasn’t right the moment Abby partnered herself up with Rowan for the school project. Revenge might be sweet but it backfired on her in the end. I get why she was angry at Rowan and wanted to get back at her due to what happened to her science project in the past. What I didn’t expect was for them to become friends later on. That surprised me because she hated Rowan so much since the beginning. I guess new friendship formed under unlikely circumstances.
As for the romance. Well, Luca and Rowan have a great relationship going on in the story and even though the instant attraction irked me but I do get why it started that way. After all, the title of this book spelled it out for me. She doesn’t actually cast a spell on him, it was much more complex than that which I don’t want to spoil. You have to read the book in order to find out. What they have has nothing to do with the spell.
I do agree that the instant attraction doesn’t make sense, but the more time they spend together it proved that these two people who are really different from one another have a naturally strong chemistry which made their relationship real and make a lot of sense. Even after putting everything back to normal, they are still attracted to each other and their chemistry didn’t waver, it just becomes a lot stronger than before.
Luca and Rowan’s romantic relationship was really cute. He was so sweet to her and she really cared for him. These two and their romantic moments made me happy. He had been through a lot and so was she, and they found each other even though the way it all started was so abrupt. Sweet and heartwarming relationship like this in YA books is my favorite. I’m glad the author written it in a nice way and putting a lot of effort in developing the relationship between these two characters so that it would look realistic. Insta-love or instant attraction usually isn’t my favorite trope but this one right here was handled really well that I liked it way too much.
This story put me on the edge quite a few times but I really find it interesting how a contemporary book like this can evoke such feelings from me. I blame it on the consequences of the spell. I was both excited and nervous to see what kind of horror the characters are facing from the spell. This book basically teach us that magic comes with a price, and sometimes the price is higher than we can afford. If you’re looking for a sweet contemporary with magic on the side, try to pick this one up. You may like it.
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Author Angie Barrett lives in a small town in Ontario, Canada in an old century home that is also known as the “cat house” because, well, Angie likes cats. A lot. She also likes shopping for books, or for anything really, and spending time RVing in the summer with her family. She has worked for sixteen years as a high school English teacher and Librarian and is currently a Curriculum Consultant for new teachers. Angie has always dreamed of being a published author and strives to create worlds where there are strong, relatable characters who maybe are not always perfect but who understand the meaning of friendship and loyalty and who will use their collective strengths to overcome adversity.