Strutting his stuff on the catwalk in black patent leather pumps and a snug orange tuxedo as this year’s Miss (ter) Harvest Moon feels so very right to Chance César, and yet he knows it should feel so very wrong.
As far back as he can remember, Chance has been “caught between genders.” (It’s quite a touchy subject; so don’t ask him about it.) However, he does not question his sexual orientation. Chance has no doubt about his gayness—he is very much out of the closet at his rural New Hampshire high school, where the other students avoid the kid they refer to as “girl-boy.”
But at the local Harvest Moon Festival, when Chance, the Pumpkin Pageant Queen, meets Jasper Donahue, the Pumpkin Carving King, sparks fly. So Chance sets out, with the help of his BFF, Emily, to make “Jazz” Donahue his man.
An article in an online women’s magazine, Ten Scientifically Proven Ways to Make a Man Fall in Love with You (with a bonus love spell thrown in for good measure), becomes the basis of their strategy to capture Jazz’s heart.
Quirky, comical, definitely flamboyant, and with an inner core of poignancy, Love Spell celebrates the diversity of a gender-fluid teen.
If you read and liked Mia Kerick’s The Red Sheet, Love Spells is a MUST read.
Told from Chance’s first person POV, Love Spells is funny, quirky, and poignant. Chance, a senior in high school, and his bestie, Emily, navigate love, pumpkin festivals, and bullies.
Chance wants the Pumpkin Carving King to fall for him. To succeed, Chance tries every trick he reads in an article about how to win a man’s heart … every one except the last: BE YOURSELF.
In an effort to make Jazz (Jasper to everyone but Chance) fall in love with him, Chance hams it up. He spritzes love potions (consisting of mixing several perfumes together), tells jokes, and tries too damn hard.
The problem is that Jazz, raising his little sister while his mom works, doesn’t want Chance the Life of the Party. He just wants Chance, a boy with a strong feminine side, a boy who isn’t afraid to strut around in high heels.
Chance, confused by his gender identity but comfortable with his boy parts, is a fabulous drag queen in the making. He talks in hashtags (internally AND aloud) and is a self-proclaimed drama queen.
Oh, Chance. I do love you, but you exhaust me.
Jazz may not be the “sharpest knife in the drawer,” but he’s REAL, down to earth, and NICE, seemingly immune to high school theatrics.
If you’re looking for something steamy, this book is not it. There is one peck on page at the end and no sexual innuendo whatsoever. This is a book as pure as snow about two high school kids navigating the murky waters of family, friendship, and maybe first love.
Emily, Chance’s BFF/sidekick, is all kinds of awesome, and I liked Chance’s little sister too.
I prefer books that are more intense, less cutesy (Chance’s inner monologue was over the top at time), but this is a sweet YA read nonetheless.