Book Review: When We Were Magic by Sarah Gailey

When We Were Magic by Sarah Gailey. Simon Pulse, 2020. 9781534432871. 342pp plus acknowledgements.

Here’s what you need to know to decide whether or not to try this book: in the opening pages, post-prom, Alexis just tried to lose her virginity to Josh in his bedroom. Things didn’t go as planned. His dick exploded when she was putting the condom on him, and Josh is dead. Josh was sweet and kind, but Alexis’ magic got out of control somehow. Now her five friends, who are also magic, are going to help her dispose of the body. Alexis is going to have to deal with who she is, what she did, and the cop who’s interviewing everyone in school.

This is a YA novel about friendship and learning who you are (with a dash of romance). Gailey also wrote River of Teeth along with other stories featuring hippos in the 19th century U.S., and Magic for Liars, in which a mundane detective investigates a murder at the school for magic where her sister works. I’ve read everything they’ve written and I want more.

I handed this over to my daughter immediately after finishing it — selected reading from the opening chapter made us both laugh.


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