Wednesday, December 20, 2017

A Dash of Trouble (Love Sugar Magic #1)

29918993Meriano, Anna. A Dash of Trouble (Love Sugar Magic #1)
January 2nd 2018 by Walden Pond Press

E ARC from Edelweiss Plus

Leo (Leonora) is tired of being the youngest of five girls, all of whom get to work at their mother's bakery on a school day the day before the town of Rose Hill, Texas' celebration of Día de Muertos. She is so angry that she skips out of school during the Halloween parade to spy on her family, and finds that there is magic involved in the bakery! When she goes to the celebration, she hangs out with Caroline, who had moved away to Houston but is back after the death of her mother. Caroline and her father are getting along fairly well, but Leo still feels a bit awkward around her friend. Brent, Caroline's next door neighbor, brought over her homework and visited her every day since the beginning of the school year. Leo feels bad that she wasn't a better friend, and Caroline is thankful that Brent visited but didn't belabor her grief. After Leo finds out about the magic, she tries to get more information from her sisters about what she will be able to do. The girls are not initiated until they are 15, and Leo does not want to wait four more years, so she borrows the magical recipe book and makes some attempts at magical baking which go fairly well. Buoyed by her successes, she decides to tell Caroline about her skills when Caroline mentions that she wrote Brent a thank you note, and he is now avoiding her. Leo tries a romance cookie that makes Brent fall in love with the whole world, and when she tries to remove the spell, things go terribly wrong and she must go to her family for help. In the end, her mother tells Leo that she has to follow the rules of magic and to talk to her family about her plans.
Strengths: The Texas setting and the description of Leo's supportive, involved family are very nice. While Leo's sisters aren't mean to her, they do treat her like a small child, and I think that is a realistic family dynamic. Caroline's situation is not overly dramatized, and it's good to see her and her father making small strides toward the new normal. The inclusion of Latinx culture by an #ownvoices writer in a very natural way was delightful.
Weaknesses: Leo's pretty bratty, and I was more bothered than I should have been about her flippant attitude toward magic and its dangers.
What I really think: This will be good for my students who want magical realism. Callaghan's Just Add Magic, Dunbar's The Truth Cookie, Giada De Laurentiis's Recipe for Adventure series and Littlewood's Bliss series are all very popular in my library, so this will be a good addition to the collection.
  Ms. Yingling

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