I didn’t really want to read this book at all and now I cannot shut up about it. By the end of the book I was all but giving it a standing ovation.
An overachieving teen witch vies for a prestigious scholarship at her elite high school in this contemporary YA fantasy for fans of Never Have I Ever and Sabrina the Teen Witch!
Magically brilliant, academically perfect, chronically overcommitted…
Shay Johnson has all the makings of a successful witch. Now that she’s a junior at T.K. Anderson Magical Magnet School, she’s one step closer to winning the full-ride Brockton Scholarship–her ticket into the university of her dreams. Her main competition? Ana freaking Alvarez. The key to victory? Impressing Mr. B, drama teacher and head of the scholarship committee.
When Mr. B persuades Shay to star in this year’s aggressively inclusive, racially diverse musical—at their not-quite-diverse school–she agrees, wearily, even though she’ll have to put up with Ana playing the other lead. But with rehearsals underway, Shay realizes Ana is…not the despicable witch she’d thought. Perhaps she could even be a friend–or more. And Shay could use someone in her corner once she finds herself on the receiving end of Mr. B’s unpleasant and unwanted attention. When Shay learns she’s not the first witch to experience his inappropriate behavior, she must decide if she’ll come forward. But how can she speak out when the scholarship–and her future–are on the line?
An unforgettable debut, How to Succeed in Witchcraft conjures up searing social commentary, delightfully awkward high school theater, and magical proclamations of love. from Goodreads
In the off change that you are new to this blog, I want to say that one of my pet peeves in books is the absentee parent. Getting rid of the adults is a common theme, especially in middle grade and YA books, authors use to allow the younger characters an opportunity to try and figure out the problem on their own. I even created a whole bingo board you can play while you read. The reason it makes me insane is simple – you can have the best parents in the world and still feel like you have to handle everything yourself. This is precisely how Shay gets so deeply into a situation out of her control. Her Mom and Dad are right there, ready to help. But, she just keeps thinking she is smart and capable and should have to handle everything herself. The sounds absolutely realistic to me.
While waiting for Shay to realize that she needs to bring her parents into an appalling situation, there is a wonderful story of self-discovery woven in with so many themes that I think are vital for high school students today. My favorite is that, in this world, if you don’t get into one of the highly competitive licensed magical school, your job prospects will be severely limited. Which means you need to be at the top of your class in your elite high school. And, obviously, you have to say “yes” to teachers like Mr. B who could directly impact your chances at a scholarship to said competitive school. Once you say “yes” to one thing it feels silly to say “no” to the next thing. And this, my beautiful people, is how you get taken advantage of by people in power. The closer you get to your dream the farther you will go to stop it from slipping between your fingers. Also, in case you didn’t catch it; licensed magical schools are a wonderful metaphor for the Ivy League.
I want to tell you all the other things I loved but, honestly, my enthusiasm is just going to take the form of plot spoilers.
I have to admit, before reading this book, if you told me that it managed to have all these important lessons and diverse characters and queer romance I would have rolled my eyes. I mean, we have all read those books where one character is the whole diversity list. It is annoying. But, not this book! The story felt real and the characters three dimensional. Their diversity is a part of who they are in a real multifaceted manner. Their history and culture is woven into the family lives, their reactions to others, and their hopes for the future.
I could not put this book down. More importantly, I can’t stop thinking about it. I want this to be the book whole school districts read.
Tell me, please! What is the last book you read that you thought everyone should read?