Book Review: Love Spells and Other Disasters

Title: Love Spells and Other Disasters

Author: Angie Barrett

Pub. Date: February 1, 2021

Pages: 400

Pub: Entangled: Teen

Genre: YA Contemporary

Rating: ⭐️⭐️⭐️.5

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.

This will be a spoiler free review. Thank you to NetGalley and Entangled: Teen for providing a copy in exchange for an honest review. I loved the premise of this book, but unfortunately, I didn’t enjoy it as much as I expected to.

I was so excited when I saw this on NetGalley and after reading the synopsis, I knew I wanted to read it. So, I was really happy and surprised when I was approved. This is a pretty quick and enjoyable read – I knocked it out in handful of hours. But there was something about it that just kept pulling me from the story.

I don’t know if it was secondhand embarrassment, too much cringe and cheese, or what, but I kept having to stop reading. The writing felt a little stilted and unnatural, but not enough to really draw a complaint. I still was sucked in and emotionally with the characters. But, I do think the pacing was off, stuff happened so quickly and that created a barrier against getting to know the characters. And because the pace was so fast, I think the relationships between characters were sacrificed.

I get that the whole magic element in the book ultimately changes the relationships, but the more I read, the less I believed in them.

Then there’s the whole magic element itself. While I loved the premise of this girl accidentally finding out she can cast love spells and they actually work, I didn’t understand the existence of magic in this contemporary world. Maybe I don’t necessarily believe that Ghost Hunting and magic go hand in hand, or maybe it just wasn’t explained properly, but it just felt weird.

I expected Rowan’s ability to cast love spells to be an utter fluke, just this little quirk she has, but in reality, it goes a hell of a lot deeper. I also didn’t understand how people were just “yep, magic, just another Tuesday” about it.

On one hand, it’s like the world knew about magic, but you only know if you know. Does that make sense? Like, no one was concerned, no one really questioned it. So, does magic overtly exist in this world, or are people just chill with whatever?

Overall, I didn’t hate this book. I didn’t love it as much as I expected, but that’s okay. The relationship between Rowan and Luca was cute and her friendship with Ethan was so much fun. Ultimately, I wish that the magic system (or lack thereof) had been explained a little better. With how it stands, it’s legit driving me crazy. If you’re looking for a quick, cute and enjoyable read, I do recommend this. You’ll bust it out in one sitting and the premise is really fun.

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