Friday, June 30, 2017

The Best Kind of Magic by Crystal Cestari {review}

The Best Kind of Magic 
by Crystal Cestari
♦publisher: Disney-Hyperion
♦release date: May 16th, 2017
♦hardcover, 336 pages
♦intended audience: Young adult
♦series: Windy City Magic, book 1
♦source: from publisher for 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?

Review: If you're in the mood for something cute and charming, a little break from all the super serious high fantasy filling the YA shelves of late, reach for The Best Kind of Magic.  This lighthearted tale of a teen matchmaker trying to survive a witch-dominated family, high school, and first love with a pretty heavy magic wrench thrown into it was just pure fun to read.

Amy Sand is just trying to get a foothold on life, but it's tough when her mother is an amazing witch, and her own power is considered pretty low on the magical hierarchy scale. She's a matchmaker, and while she loves her ability and loves bringing people together, it definitely comes with some heavy drawbacks. Like looking into the eyes of the guy she's slowly falling for and seeing his future wife. So many fun characters all throughout this story and so much great bantery dialogue--it definitely earned it's comparison to Gilmore Girls in that way!  Amber and Charlie are so fun together, and best friend Amani is brilliant and fierce and funny, too. I also really enjoyed the mother/daughter story here, it's complicated and genuine and sweet...very real despite the supernatural twist. The "mean girl" scenario was a little cliche, but with the added twist of Amber's school archenemy being a stuck-up Siren.  The world Cestari has built is interesting, with all manner of mythical being lying hidden in plain sight of our own. Witches and shapeshifters and vampires and goblins, all mixed into our everyday modern society.

As Amber and Charlie work together to find out what happened to his father's fiance, Amber opens Charlie's eyes to the magical world he's been completely oblivious to, and he inadvertently opens her eyes to the possibility that maybe the "end game" is not all there is to love and life. Also, one of my favorite perks to this story---Amber's greatest wish is to open her own bakery and she bakes delicious creations when things get rough. My kind of girl. ;)


Crystal Cestari lives just outside Chicago with her daughter. Her hobbies include avoiding broccoli and wandering the aisles at Target. She holds a master's degree in mass communication, and writes all her stories longhand. Don't miss the second book in the Windy City Magic series, coming soon! 


Purchase The Best Kind of Magic:
 Indiebound   •  Amazon  •  Book Depository


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