ARC Review: When We Were Magic by Sarah Gailey

Title: When We Were Magic
Author: Sarah Gailey 
Genre: Fantasy, Witches, LGBT
Source: Simon Pulse via NetGalley 
Publisher: Simon Pulse 
Publication Date: March 3rd, 2020

A moving, darkly funny novel about six teens whose magic goes wildly awry from Magic for Liars author Sarah Gailey, who Chuck Wendig calls an “author to watch.” Keeping your magic a secret is hard. Being in love with your best friend is harder. Alexis has always been able to rely on two things: her best friends, and the magic powers they all share. Their secret is what brought them together, and their love for each other is unshakeable—even when that love is complicated. Complicated by problems like jealousy, or insecurity, or lust. Or love. That unshakeable, complicated love is one of the only things that doesn't change on prom night. When accidental magic goes sideways and a boy winds up dead, Alexis and her friends come together to try to right a terrible wrong. Their first attempt fails—and their second attempt fails even harder. Left with the remains of their failed spells and more consequences than anyone could have predicted, each of them must find a way to live with their part of the story.

When We Were Magic was the first book I finished in 2020 and I am so happy it is. This book is full of such a diverse cast of characters who love and support each other no matter what. Plus this book and it’s cover scream girl power! This story is about a group of witches, like c’mon!

All Alexis wanted to do on prom night was to lose her virginity, maybe it wasn’t for the best reasons but that was her plan. But when she is in the moment and her magic backfires causing a certain part of Josh explode which ends up killing him. Alexis calls her best friends to the rescue. Alexis, Roya, Pauli’s, Iris, Marceline and Maryam all have one specific thing in common: they are magic. After a spell goes wrong and their backup plan fails even worse, they must find a way to deal with the problem. But when their magic begins to punish them for the failed spells each girl must make it right.

I expected When We Were Magic to go in one direction BUT it actually went in a whole other direction that I didn’t think it was going to go. I expected it to more or less to just address the issue of Josh and whether the group of girls where going to be able to bring him back to life. When We Were Magic was so much more then that. It address Alexis’ friendship with each other girls, her growing feelings for Roya and her own insecurities that she doesn’t deserve the love and support that her friends are giving her.

I really enjoyed Alexis’s character and getting to be inside her head. I loved her rationale on certain things and her side comments, it made her feel more real to me in a way. Through out the novel we see Alexis dealing with the fall out of her decision, the regret, trying to defend it and in the end the tough love that she gets from Maryam about the whole thing. Throughout When We Were Magic we see her struggle with the idea that she doesn’t deserves her friends help and how they are sacrificing so much for her when they don’t need to be. I saw a lot of myself when Alexis would think these things because I think the same exact way sometimes.

I really enjoyed When We Were Magic and the dynamic of this witchy friend group. I’m sad to see that their story is over, but I feel like Sarah did a great job in wrapping it up and giving both Alexis and the reader the closure that was needed.

If you are looking for a book with a diverse cast, queer girls and some steamy moments, magic and witches then this is the book for you!

1 comment

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