Sunday, April 17, 2022

Flirting With Fate

Cervantes, J.C. Flirting with Fate
April 19th 2022 by Razorbill
E ARC provided by Edelweiss Plus

Ava lives with her father, a well-to-do and successful architect and her two older sisters, Carm and Viv. Their grandmother is ailing, and when Ava gets a call from both sisters when she is working overtime at her newspaper internship, she attempts to drive home even though there is a huge storm. Her grandmother's death has seemed eminent for some time, but family legend claims that the women in Ava's family can pass on gifts to their female line when they die. Ava hurries to get home, but is involved in a small fender bender at 8:51 p.m. and doesn't make it. Unfortunately, her grandmother managed to send the blessing out into the universe, but when Nana comes back as a ghost, along with helpful Saint Medardus, the three try to figure out how to get the blessing back. If they can't, the ability to pass on the blessings will be lost, and Nana will wander as a ghost forever, so the stakes are high. They manage to locate the young man she hit, who turns out to be the arrogant Achilles North, who works selling oranges for his grandfather while he is in high school. When Nana and Meda decide that Ava has to befriend him, this is hard. Luckily, he is just the twin of the boy actually involved, the much nicer Orion. It's not hard to befriend Rion, and soon the two are hanging out. Transferring the blessing turns out to be harder than expected, and there is the added mystery of a photograph from the 1950s that Ava finds at work, and a series of clues that lead her to uncover a family mystery. Time is running out to make the transfer, but will the family secrets get in the way of her friendship with Rion, and her ability to reclaim the blessing?
Strengths: Ava's family is very important to her, even her mother who left the girls when Ava was young. The "fairy tales" she told each girl before she left turn out to be important clues. I loved the way the sisters interacted and supported each other, and how they were willing to help Ava no matter how improbabl her requests were. The appearance of Nana reminded me a little bit of Leo's abuela's appearance in Love, Suagar, Magic: A Sprinkle of Spirits. Rion is a great character, and he contrasts nicely with his unpleasant twin brother. The historical mystery is well developed and quite complex. I don't know that I ever doubted that Ava would get the blessing transferred, but there was a nice feeling of suspense developed while she attempted to figure out how to do this. 
Weaknesses: There were a LOT of very convenient coincidences in this one. Younger readers will find this charming, but it strained my jaded credulity a bit. 
What I really think: This is a very charming Young Adult romance that will be very popular with middle grade readers. There's plenty of paranormal phenomenon, a great romance, and a decided lack of more young adult language and health class information. Will definitely purchase for my readers who have been enjoying books like Twilight and Before I Die. 

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