Tuesday, November 17, 2020

Book Review: "The Fascinators" by Andrew Eliopulos

The Fascinators is a poignant story about being true to yourself, secrets, the often-confusing line between friendship and love, and magic.

Maybe we’re all under someone else’s spell.

Sam, James, and Delia are best friends, and the three members of their high school’s magic club. Each of them has some magical skill, and in their small, conservative Georgia town they’re looked at as freaks, especially Sam, who is openly gay on top of it all.

As they enter their senior year, things among the friends are starting to fray. Sam’s feelings for James have intensified and while he doesn’t think James feels the same way, he’s afraid to say anything for fear of messing everything up. They have plans to be roommates at UGA next year—Sam can't imagine going to college without James.

Meanwhile, James is spending more time with a girl from his church, and he’s been acting erratically to compensate for his abusive father’s behavior. Delia wants to attend an exclusive magic college, and she’ll stop at nothing to get in, even if it means abandoning her friends for more serious magickers.

When a group of dangerous magickers eyes the Fascinators to avenge something James did over the summer, the group falls further into disarray. And when a handsome new member joins the club, it complicates things even further for Sam.

At times this felt like two separate stories—one about friendship and one about magic—but other times the two storylines meshed so well. Despite the magical elements, this story felt very real and relatable—lord knows I had my share of unrequited crushes on friends growing up!

The ending felt a little bit rushed for me so I hope Andrew Eliopulos has a sequel in the works. But I loved the emotions in this book so much.

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