Friday, August 2, 2013

Title:    What the Spell? [Life's a Witch, book 1]
Author:  Brittany Geragotelis
Rating:  ★★★ 1/2

It took me a long time to decide whether I should read What the Spell. Actually, I already started reading it a few weeks ago but put it down because Brooklyn just irritated me. But then I picked it up again two days ago and couldn't put it down since.

Brooklyn wants to be popular, with rich "Elite .. as dangerous as they were beautiful", and crush Asher. Guidance counselor Ms Zia advises "Popularity isn't all it's cracked up to be .. nobody's going to care who you were in high school". On her 16th birthday, her parents finally unlock her witch powers, and Brooklyn makes herself into a "glamazon".

Admittedly, "Brookie" didn't endear herself to me. She was too self-absorbed and full of self-importance in the end. She wanted to join The Elite to be popular - to be noticed, but in the end she kept saying she wanted to do it to make a change. She was so full of believing she could make a change but I don't know why she thought that way, seeing as she started from the bottom rung of the "elite" group. It's like in the end, she was justifying her actions for joining The Elite, when it was repeatedly said that she wants to be noticed and to feel like she matters. And in the end, she decides that she's the perfect person to fill up the "leader" niche, and includes in her group the suck-ups of The Elite. In the first place, if she had leadership potential, then she should have been all agog in leading orgs or groups. What kind of school do they have that you have to be invited to orgs instead of just joining it? And she still sat in The Elite's elevated table. If she truly wanted to make a change, she should have petitioned it to be removed, or to not sit there. I was truly conflicted on the characterization of Brookie that until the very end, I didn't really like her.

Asher, on the other hand, was like too mature for his age (or for Brookie). He was so understanding, forgiving, and patient. But his leaving behind Brookie so suddenly was very surprising. He wasn't even able to text or call her prior to his hasty departure? He loves Brookie - so he says, but he leaves with no warning or even a paper note anywhere. However, the latter part of the book was so full of overshadowing, that I already felt like something is going on. In fact, I have an inkling, given his parents' strange behavior and approval of Brookie's "low magic practice" family. Also, he kept saying that Brookie wouldn't let him in to her life, and that no more secrets and he has to be able to trust her, but he doesn't let her in to his secrets and problems as well. He also kept saying that The Elite is bad, but he wouldn't tell Brookie what The Elite are supposed to have done, or why he refused to join the group in the first place.

Wow, "The Elite". They truly are a piece of work. Even the principal couldn't do much to them. I guess that's really the way it is with powerful, rich families. However, I noticed that the toilet paper incident wasn't even discussed after that chapter. The principal didn't accuse anyone, and The Elite didn't mention it again. I feel like the book would have been juicier if their secrets and misdeeds were discussed in detail, especially the grave ones; too bad those were just skimmed. Gigi was like the most terrible, although even I picked up on that. But then again, aren't the "leaders" usually the ones who are the worst in bad groups? After reading, I wondered what would happen to them since they were expelled. Are there schools who will take them? Are they budding sociopaths? Could they even reform?

Abby, Asher's younger sister, truly intrigues me. I feel like she knows so much, and that she has unmentioned secret powers. I hope she gets her own story arc, or she will be highlighted as an important secondary character in subsequent books.

Even though I didn't like Brooklyn, I still couldn't stop reading What the Spell, more because of the plot, and admittedly, The Elite. I wanted to see what would happen, if Brooklyn will be popular, if she will come to her senses, if she'll realize that she was going to be blackmailed with the tasks they keep asking her to do. The plot was fast-paced and I was just swept away into their world. The story arc was exciting; it was almost a typical teenage in high school plot, but with a twist since she's a witch. In other books, witches try to separate themselves from the popular girls, or try not to be noticed to keep their head down, but in What the Spell, Brookie does the opposite. I like seemingly typical plots with a twist - it makes reading so much more interesting! I do give props to the writer for at least making me feel something about the main character - even if it's not favorable. At least I was moved enough by the book for it to make an impression on me.

With that said, I am thinking of reading Life's a Witch, the second book in the series. Since it's a new character, I'm hoping I'll like her more than Brookie. I am a fan of the covers, especially the one for What the Spell. It's gorgeous! It's magical, full of sparks, and enticing. They sure do look great on bookshelves. :)

This is my sixteenth book for the 2013 Witches and Witchcraft Challenge, which means I get crone status! I'm hoping I'll finish up to twenty books. :)

Till my next book discovery,