Desperate to pay for college, Bridger Whitt is willing to overlook the peculiarities of his new job—entering via the roof, the weird stacks of old books and even older scrolls, the seemingly incorporeal voices he hears from time to time—but it’s pretty hard to ignore being pulled under Lake Michigan by… mermaids? Worse yet, this happens in front of his new crush, Leo, the dreamy football star who just moved to town.
When he discovers his eccentric employer Pavel Chudinov is an intermediary between the human world and its myths, Bridger is plunged into a world of pixies, werewolves, and Sasquatch. The realm of myths and magic is growing increasingly unstable, and it is up to Bridger to ascertain the cause of the chaos, eliminate the problem, and help his boss keep the real world from finding the world of myths.
I must admit that I was a bit hesitant to read this story at first. Lukens was an unknown to-me author, but the cute cover and blurb pulled me in, and I have to admit that, this time, taking a chance paid off big time.
I loved how quirky and flat out odd this journey was, as 17 y.o. awkward high school student, Bridger, embarked on a new job, which turned out to be an entirely new life.
The prevailing dry humor, as Bridger is thrown into one bizarre supernatural situation after another, felt natural and never once tried too hard. I especially loved the pixies and Bridger's encounter with the virgin-friendly unicorn.
The story felt upbeat and light, mostly, except for the part at the end where Bridger had to make an extremely difficult choice, one that could not only devastate his newly-blossoming love life, but potentially lead to the deaths of others.
The story also focused a lot on the importance of family, those related by blood and those of your own making, and acceptance, by others as well as yourself.
And while the innocent, budding romance between Bridger and football star Leo wasn't the main focus of the story, it was critical to the plot and felt necessary. Unlike some fantasy stories, this one actually did have a nice mix of both of those elements as the story progressed.
In regards to the story being YA, this one didn't feel *overly* YA, if that makes sense. Yes, the setting was high school; however, with only a few minor changes, I felt that the story could have easily been an NA read, instead, as juvenile humor wasn't a major thing here.
Other than a few make-out sessions, there wasn't any steam. This story was more about the pursuit than the tackle and it ends with an adorable HFN, with the potential for (much?) more in the future.
Personally, I'd love to see this story turn into a series, following the adventures of Bridger, Leo, Astrid and the rest of the gang from the creepy old house fighting to keep both humans and the 'myths' safe and blissfully separate.
My only niggle is that, with the first 90% of the book leaving me feeling breathless and excited, for me at least, the end fell a bit flat from what I was expecting.
So while not entirely "pinecones and candy canes and epic and awesome" (nod to TJ Klune fans, holla!), this feel good tale did keep me intrigued and wanting more, so I'd rate it a solid 4.25 stars and definitely recommend it to fans of both fantasy and YA/NA genres.
My ARC copy of the book was provided by the publisher through NetGalley in exchange for a fair, unbiased review.
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