ARC Review: When We Were Magic by Sarah Gailey

Posted March 1, 2020 by Lisa Mandina in Review / 6 Comments

I received this book for free from the publisher in exchange for an honest review. This does not affect my opinion of the book or the content of my review.

ARC Review: When We Were Magic by Sarah GaileyWhen We Were Magic by Sarah Gailey
Published by Simon Pulse on March 3, 2020
Genres: YA Magical Realism
Pages: 352
Source: the publisher
Format: ARC
My Rating: four-stars

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.

My Review:

This book was very unique, and definitely one not to miss. While it had its magical world that was at the heart of the story, it was more than just that. It was a story about friendship, first loves, family, the high school world, and so much more.

There were lessons in it that were sad but true. For example, parents knowing that they have to teach their young daughters to be aware of overly friend older males. It’s sad, but I can recognize it from things I wish I’d been warned about in my past, because as I look back now, I can see times when that is what I should have known. I remember feeling the creepiness of the situations, but not having been warned, and feeling that I needed to be nice, because as far as I knew, they were just being nice to me.

There’s many different examples of characters assuming how the another character was feeling or what they were going to do, and it being wrong. Something again that I know I assume, and probably I should not, because so often I’m wrong, or probably would find out I was wrong if I ever asked.

The group of girls who were friends were also all so different, yet each had their own personality and quirks that were what led them to be such a perfect combination of friends.

Now, I will warn you, the opening scene, the horrible thing that happens that keeps our characters on the edge and trying to figure things out throughout the book was pretty crazy, pretty wild, and out there. And while I’m sad that it only ended up getting resolved the way it did, because it was an innocent person really that didn’t deserve how it all went down, I get why it went that way. How unlike a Hollywood ending, this was real enough to make the characters have to live with something bad whether it was meant to happen or not.

A beautifully written story, with great characters and lots of unique and new ideas of a way to tell a story.

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6 responses to “ARC Review: When We Were Magic by Sarah Gailey

  1. Great review! I am really curious about this one, so I’m glad to see you liked it. I love that it focuses on some relevant, important topics – like how to handle overly friend older men, etc.


  2. It sounds like in the beginning you have to go into this book with the benefit of doubt. Agh, it sounds realistic in its themes though and that is the sad reality in some cases when you just don’t know these things that you should know, and so you can’t pass them on to your children either 🙁

    Olivia Roach recently posted: Shifting Sands [Book Review]
  3. Debra Branigan

    Thanks for your review. This sound like a edgy YA read with fantasy and realistic elements. I have placed on my TBR.

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