Summary: Shelby King is tired of living in her sister’s shadow. Just because Christina is the most powerful caster in school doesn’t mean Shelby’s any good at magic; she’s a scribe, like her mom, and everyone expects her to write spells for her sister, the way her mom always has for her dad. But Shelby’s spells fail spectacularly, and by the time she’s a sophomore, Christina won’t touch them with a ten-foot-pole; their parents aren’t much better. Shelby is fed up, and she decides to show the world she doesn’t care if she isn’t as good as her stuck-up sister, or as talented as their powerful parents. In fact, she decides it’s time to break all the rules, magical and otherwise, and she starts sneaking out to meet Jeremiah Smallwood, the second-best caster in school at illegal pop-up spell battles around town. She may not be able to scribe for him, but she doesn’t mind letting him think that she could; Shelby’s been half in love with Miah as long as she can remember, but he’s never paid attention to her until now, and she’s not going to risk her chances worrying about a pesky thing like the truth. But when Christina rats her out to their parents, Shelby can’t control her anger, and words come pouring out of her that she can’t take back even if she wanted to, threatening Christina’s future…and Shelby’s own chances with Jeremiah. It’ll take more magic than Shelby’s ever dreamed of to set things right, but no scribe has that much magic…right?
Review: 4 stars
This was incredible. Sibling rivalry, magic spells and a romance all intertwined in a way that keeps you on the edge of your seat. Spell Book & Scandal was a fast paced captivating read that I devoured in one sitting. I was disappointed when it ended, but only because I wanted more of the story.
The pacing and plot were expertly crafted and executed in this YA fantasy. Th re story keeps you on the edge of your seat with a gripping plot. Before starting this book I would suggest making sure that you have time set aside to read it, because you won’t want to set this one down. I tore through it and was left feeling hungry for a sequel.
The characters were relatable. They weren’t perfect, but they were realistic and it was fun to walk in their shoes. Sibling rivalry is a big theme in this book and it is portrayed pretty realistically. Sisters cHaracter be quite mean to each other, but in the end family loyalty is important and should win out. It is easy to understand the perspectives of both sisters in this novel.
The world building is cool, yet not too intricate. In a world full of spell casters and scribes it is funny to think that witches don’t want to be discriminated against. It is hard to imagine a world in which magic co-exists with the human world, but it works well in this novel with realistic portrayals of discrimination. The politics of the magic world aren’t explained very thoroughly, but it isn’t really necessary for this book.
The writing itself was good. At no point did I feel as if it was over descriptive, but I also never felt confused. The storyline moved fast, but not too much that the plot felt rushed. The tight rope act of weaving a well balanced story is perforgmed without fail here. I did feel as if the romantic relationship could have been built on a little more as when the story ended I felt as if I hardly knew Miah. This made me feel as if the romantic aspect wasn’t very strong, but it is also a budding relationship.
This wasn’t exactly a book that brought forward a ton of emotions. I would have liked a bit more character development and some stronger relationships. Overall I absolutely loved the story though. I tore through it and it left me wishing for more. I am eager to read more by Jen McConnel and I would recommend this to those who enjoy a quick YA fantasy novel.