Early Review: What the Spell by Brittany Geragotelis
What the Spell by Brittany Geragotelis Life's a Witch #1
A teenage witch juggles popularity and romance while keeping her powers a secret in this spellbinding debut.Almost-sixteen-year-old Brooklyn feels invisible, but she desperately wants to be pretty, to be popular, to be adored by a cute guy. Luckily for her, she’s a witch about to come of age—so she’s only a few spells away from making it all happen.
On her milestone birthday, Brooklyn’s conservative parents finally unbind her powers, which include the ability to magically match couples with a love spell. Brooklyn uses her special skills to get a makeover, new friends, and the attention of her crush, Asher. But the popular clique Brooklyn wants to infiltrate puts her in the same precarious position as her Salem ancestors: If she’s found out, she could be vilified—and lose Asher in the process. Can she make the most of her magic, or will she be luckless and loveless? Be careful what you witch for!
All her life Brooklyn has been waiting for the day she turns sixteen and her parents unbind her witch born powers. The first matter of business will be to change her appearance so she can finally stop being invisible to all of her classmates. The change is dramatic and people have taken notice. She's gained the attention of the Elite, the highest social clique in the school. But Brooklyn quickly learns that popularity comes at a price, and she'll have to decide just how high a cost she is willing to pay.
There are two kinds of Paranormal YA. One being where the focus is largely on the paranormal elements, and the high school drama and dynamics are more in the background, which is largely my preference. The second type being where the paranormal aspects take a backseat to the high school drama. Unfortunately, WHAT THE SPELL fell in the latter category. Even when I was a teenager myself, I still wasn't immersed in that sort of drama as I made every effort to avoid it. I never understood the quest for popularity and power in school. Fashion was not a priority for me. I wanted to surround myself with people that liked me for me, not something I was trying to be. So, when a book is centered around all of that not so fun stuff, it just doesn't make for the most enjoyable read. It's just a shame because I was really interested in the Witchy parts of the story, but in the end it really only played a small part, leaving me rather disappointed.
Even if I could have put aside my style preferences about the amount of paranormal focus in WHAT THE SPELL, this book still wouldn't have worked for me due to a large character disconnect. Again, this is probably coming back to my non-understanding of social ladder climbing, but I just couldn't seem to connect with Brooklyn. She was very selfish and acted rather spoiled at times, all in the name of not wanting to be invisible any more. I mean, she wasn't naieve, she knew what she was doing was wrong, but each time she justified it by it being necessary to be in the Elite. Also, she was given several chances to redeem herself and come clean, but never took them. Even worse she didn't grow a backbone until the very end, and in my opinion that was too little too late. By that point I was long past wanting to reach through the pages and smack some sense into her, so there wasn't much she could really do at that point to impress me. Hopefully the fall out will cause her to learn her lesson.
I have to admit that I am on the fence as to whether or not I will continue on with this series. On one hand, I had the major character disconnect, and my issues with there only small amounts of paranormal. But on the other hand, unless I really despise the first installment, I like to give each new series two books to win me over. There are just so many times where the first book can be a bit rocky due to world building, but then the next book takes off with a bang. Which, I think may be the case in this series due to the way WHAT THE SPELL ended, so perhaps a second change might be warranted. As far as this book goes, WHAT THE SPELL should largely appeal to fans of a strong high school setting, but for me, unfortunately it's a pass.