*I received a free eARC of this book through Netgalley in exchange for an honest review*
Amber Sand is not a witch. The Sand family Wicca gene somehow leapfrogged over her. But she did get one highly specific magical talent: she can see true love. As a matchmaker, Amber’s pretty far down the sorcery food chain (even birthday party magicians rank higher), but after five seconds of eye contact, she can envision anyone’s soul mate.
Amber works at her mother’s magic shop–Windy City Magic–in downtown Chicago, and she’s confident she’s seen every kind of happy ending there is: except for one–her own. (The Fates are tricky jerks that way.) So when Charlie Blitzman, the mayor’s son and most-desired boy in school, comes to her for help finding his father’s missing girlfriend, she’s distressed to find herself falling for him. Because while she can’t see her own match, she can see his–and it’s not Amber. How can she, an honest peddler of true love, pursue a boy she knows full well isn’t her match?
The Best Kind of Magic is set in urban Chicago and will appeal to readers who long for magic in the real world. With a sharp-witted and sassy heroine, a quirky cast of mystical beings, and a heady dose of adventure, this novel will have you laughing out loud and questioning your belief in happy endings.
I don’t usually reach for YA romances, but The Best Kind of Magic sounded like it had enough other elements in it that I’d like that I decided to give it a try.
The book suffered from some YA cliches, but also had depth that I wasn’t expecting. Amber’s gift of being able to see who peoples’ true loves are seemed to indicate a kind of unalterable fate, but the romance between Amber and Charlie brought in the question of free will. It was interesting to see the book balance this question. Cestari did a nice job showing the good and bad parts of having the power of matchmaking, and it was fun to see the highs and lows Amber faces because of it.
There were a few areas that could have been tidier. For instance, it was unclear how many people are aware of the fact that there are magic users walking among us. At the start of the book we were introduced to several characters, all of whom have powers of some sort (matchmaker, witch, siren, etc), and I assumed that in this world magic was much more integrated. Later in the story we find out that most people don’t know about magic and magic users being real. I wish this point had been clarified at the start of the story. That said, I enjoyed the way magic was incorporated into the story.
This is the first in a series, so it’ll be interesting to see where the author takes the story. I could see this being popular with my students who are Harry Potter or Mortal Instruments fans. You can give the book a try yourself here!