Love Spell – Mia Kerick
Chance César is fabulously gay, but his gender identity—or, as he phrases it, “being stuck in the gray area between girl and boy”—remains confusing. Nonetheless, he struts his stuff on the catwalk in black patent leather pumps and a snug-in-all-the-right (wrong)-places orange tuxedo as the winner of this year’s Miss (ter) Harvest Moon Festival. He rules supreme at the local Beans and Greens Farm’s annual fall celebration, serenaded by the enthusiastic catcalls of his BFF, Emily Benson.
Although he refuses to visually fade into the background of his rural New Hampshire town, Chance is socially invisible—except when being tormented by familiar bullies. But sparks fly when Chance, Pumpkin Pageant Queen, meets Jasper (Jazz) Donahue, winner of the Pumpkin Carving King contest. Chance wants to be noticed and admired and romantically embraced by Jazz, in all of his neon-orange-haired glory.
And so at a sleepover, Chance and Emily conduct intense, late-night research, and find an online article: “Ten Scientifically Proven Ways to Make a Man Fall in Love With You.” Along with a bonus love spell thrown in for good measure, it becomes the basis of their strategy to capture Jazz’s heart.
But will this “no-fail” plan work? Can Chance and Jazz fall under the fickle spell of love?’
Chance Cezar (love the name!) is out and proud but doesn’t know which gender box to tick. He and his best friend, the quirky Emily, embark on The Plan to make Jasper “Jazz” Donahue fall in love with Chance based on an online article, “Ten Scientifically Proven Ways to Make a Man Fall In Love With You”. Such titles always gets an eye roll and should be taken with a heap ton of salt, IMHO, despite the words “scientifically proven”. Why two seemingly intelligent teenagers bother with such articles is beyond me but books featuring hapless people following how-tos has a good track record with me and Love Spell is one of those books.
Chance is sooo OTT! He sports orange hair, is capable of rocking both stilettos and chucks and isn’t afraid to wear make-up and mix his own perfume. It took a few moments but when I finally got used to his talking style, I found it funny enough to elicit a few chuckles especially combined with the epic fails his and Emily’s strategies turned out to be. Like wooing Jazz with a megawatt smile only to have gummy bears stuck in his teeth (eew!) but, if a guy voluntarily pokes his finger in your teeth to get it out, you know he’s really that into you.
Love Spell is a YA story and it’s one of those that have the YA main character worry about his sexuality or in this case, gender identity. I know some young adults might have this concerns and it is an important issue that should be addressed but I’m kinda tired of having it in almost every other YA LGBT book I encounter (looking at you, Simon). I don’t think young adults would want to read about sexuality and gender identity being an issue all the time. I know my younger self wouldn’t want to because I want my stories to treat being queer, genderfluid or ace as normal.
What kicked this story up a notch was Jazz. He is a really sweet guy and a responsible big brother to his kid sister. When he finally had enough of Chance’s BS and decided to be upfront, it was all very squee-tastic! But then, to my surprise and dismay, the story ended just when it was getting really good. Nooo! Where’s my epilogue?!
Overall, Love Spell made me laugh, cringe and root for Chance to go, get that boy! Waiting for him to get a clue at how ridiculous his maneuverings were was equal parts exasperating and funny but Jazz was worth it and more. I would have preferred Chance to worry less about his gender and focus more on other things, like getting into a good college just like how Emily is determined to get into her dream school. However, I mostly had a good time with this book and I recommend it.
Simon vs. the Homo Sapiens Agenda
I received a copy of Love Spell from NineStar Press
via Netgalley in exchange for an honest review.
3.5 Stars – that place between like and love