Cait’s Review of “The Charmed List” by Julie Abe

By: Cait Marie

Blurb

After spending most of high school as the quiet girl, Ellie Kobata is ready to take some risks and have a life-changing summer, starting with her Anti-Wallflower List—thirteen items she’s going to check off one by one. She’s looking forward to riding rollercoasters, making her art Instagram public (maybe), and going on an epic road-trip with her best friend Lia.

But when number four on Ellie’s list goes horribly wrong—revenge on Jack Yasuda—she’s certain her summer has gone from charmed to cursed. Instead of a road trip with Lia, Ellie finds herself stuck in a car with Jack driving to a magical convention. But as Ellie and Jack travel down the coast of California, number thirteen on her list—fall in love—may be happening without her realizing it.

In The Charmed List, Julie Abe sweeps readers away to a secret magical world, complete with cupcakes and tea with added sparks of joy, and an enchanted cottage where you can dance under the stars.

Review

First of all, this book deserves way more hype. I’m going to be honest, I had not heard of if before a few days ago. I know I’ve been somewhat living under a rock the last few months, finishing my own book edits, but why aren’t more people talking about this book? It’s adorable!!

I was scrolling through audiobooks on Scribd, looking for a cute YA romance. I’ve been super anxious lately, and I was still feeling pretty sick from Covid, so I wanted something fun that I could just relax and listen to while playing a “mindless” game on my phone. This cover and title caught my eye, the blurb sounded right up my alley, so I gave it a try…

I could not stop listening. When I had to, you know, to sleep because I am actually sick and need rest apparently, and when I had to work because of stupid responsibilities, I couldn’t stop thinking about it. I’ve been in a weird reading slump for months, and this book just completely obliterated it. I finished the book at 4:30 a.m. yesterday because I needed it in my life.

Ellie’s story is very relatable to me personally. Throughout high school, I was definitely the wallflower friend. I went through that experience of being left behind by close friends and know how painful that is; I even had a secret sketchbook I didn’t share with anyone until years later when a friend convinced me to put my art online. I’ve since been paid for my art and am a graphic designer on the side.

Her road trip with Jack, and their development back into being friends is really sweet. I loved seeing that natural chemistry and watching them grow close again, discovering who they are now. Their stories are heartbreaking but also beautiful and touching.

I also just really enjoyed the world building in this book. It’s set in the real world with just a hint of magic. It made things really fun and unique. There’s a magical village, and I won’t give anything away, but I seriously want an entire series about it. I want to live there.

I would love more stories about these characters! I’m hoping we eventually get some about the younger siblings, and maybe even the best friend.

And I’m definitely going to check out what else this author has published!

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