A Review of: When We Were Magic, by Sarah Gailey

For the most part, I enjoyed this book. It’s an intriguing ‘coming of age’ story of a group of teens, nearly about to graduate high school and move into the realm of adulting – but it’s clear they’re human. They’re struggling to figure it al out. Just like the rest of us. Except… they’ve formed a bond over their unusual magic abilities. A skillset that none of them ‘talks about’; that isn’t the normal, and there’s no one there to tech them. They’re just school kids. Trying to figure out what they can do, how they can do it, and to what ends? It’s an intriguing twist to the typical story. 

Rating: 4 out of 5.

*** mild spoilers head ***

From there – the plot of the story really starts when one of the teens, Alexis, “accidentally” kills a boy she’s about to have sex with. After the high school prom. I guess she panics, and inadvertently, his member ‘explodes’ … and he dies. 

The bulk of the story, then, is of the group f teens dealing with the dead boy situation. First, hide him. (using magic) Then, a plan to attempt to bring him back to life.

It’s an interesting story, filled with drama, and plot twists, teen angst, problem solving, and a lot you aren’t expecting.

My biggest gripe with this story – is the voice of it. It’s a little too ‘in your face’ with the ‘Wokeness’ – but more so the man-splaining feel of teaching us about the wokeness. Comes off quite preachy in a lot of moments. I don’t think teens are that dialled into the ‘this is the reason why you need to be woke’ of it all. It takes it too far, too. 

Overall, it felt like a YA book, which is fine. I read those. I just didn’t expect it here. I liked the story overall. Unique, and interesting, despite the gag reflex I get from being crammed with ‘wokeness’. 

Writing quality is top notch, and for the most part feels like the teen voices were captured and written well – aside from the above-mentioned. 

If you like stories with some magic component – it’s a worthwhile read. 

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