A star-crossed YA rom-com that has the charm of Maureen Johnson’s 13 Little Blue Envelopes and the magic of Now You See Me
I was granted complimentary eARC access to Lia and Beckett’s Abracadabra by Amy Noelle Parks by the publisher via NetGalley in exchange for an honest review. Thank you for the opportunity! My thoughts are my own and my review is honest.
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About the Book
Lia and Beckett’s Abracadabra
by Amy Noelle Parks
Published 5 July 2022
Genre: YA Fantasy Rom-Com
Page Count: 304
Add it to your Goodreads TBR!
Seventeen-year-old Lia Sawyer is thrilled to get a mysterious invitation from her grandmother to compete in a stage magic contest––even though her parents object. But she’s going to be judged by a bunch of old-school magicians who think that because she’s a girl, her only magical talents lie in wearing sparkly dresses, providing distractions, and getting sawed, crushed, or stretched. And Lia can’t ask her grandmother for help because she’s disappeared, leaving behind only her best magic tricks, a few obscure clues, and an order to stay away from Blackwell boys, the latest generation of a rival magic family. Lia totally plans to follow her grandmother’s rule––until the cute boy she meets on the beach turns out to be Beckett Blackwell, son of the biggest old guard magical family there is. Witty and romantic, Lia and Beckett’s Abracadabra is a YA rom-com with a magical twist!
My Rating: 4 Stars
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A blend of fantasy and romantic comedy for a young and young-at-heart audience, Lia and Beckett’s Abracadabra is a will-they, won’t-they story about rival teen magicians choosing between a family feud and the undeniable attraction between them. It’s a little bit Romeo & Juliet (with less impulsive poison and dagger usage,) a little bit The Night Circus, a little bit The Magicians, and a little something all its own.
I can see this book appealing equally to readers who are all about romance and readers who are all about character-driven fantasy. I’m one of those readers who avoid most romance-first type stories unless it’s a paranormal rom-com and this book kept me turning pages late into the night with glee!
Main character Lia really won me over from the very first page, and I love to see a determined character like this who’s open to having her mind changed but also absolutely not simply accepting traditions because they’re what has always been done. Beckett, her rival and love interest, was a little harder for me to connect with, and I think readers will find him to be more of a divisive character. People are either going to love him from the get-go or be warry of him throughout the entire book, but I can’t quite put a finger on why.
Readers who criticize YA romance for being too fresh and loose with the instalove trope will be relieved to hear that this book avoids that pitfall. The slow dance between Lia and Beckett is exactly that, slow and drawn out, with ample opportunity to second guess whether or not you think they’ll end up together, and whether or not you think they should (which were two different feelings for me at points!)
The author does lean hard into the identity the Wisconsin setting lends to all of the characters, so if you love Americana or grew up in a midwest-type culture, you’re going to feel quite at home reading this book. If you don’t or didn’t, you’ll have to decide whether or not you can look past it, because it is a little in-your-face at times.
In terms of the stage magic, the magic-related plot threads, and the settings for all of the magical performances, this book really scratched an itch I’ve been feeling for quite a while. I know the premise is quite different from Grossman’s The Magicians, Lia and Beckett aren’t whisked off to a secret, competitive school for magicians, but the competition and air of secrecy elements are there in a way that made me think this is the sort of story I was looking for when I first picked up The Magicians 12 years ago. I suppose that means if you’re a fan of the Grossman books or TV series, or if you wanted to be but found yourself disappointed like I did, this might finally be the book you were looking for.
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