Monday, September 21, 2015

Review: TWIST MY CHARM: The Popularity Spell, #1 by Toni Gallagher

Publisher: Random House Books for Young Readers
Pub. Date: September 22, 2015
Genre: Middle Grade
Source: Print Arc
Rating: 3 Stars

Magic and a little twist of mayhem will charm fans of Sarah Mlynowski, Lauren Myracle, and Wendy Mass in this fresh, contemporary debut!

When a package arrives in the mail for Cleo Nelson, she can’t wait to open it. The birthday present is seven months late, but it’s from Uncle Arnie and that can only mean one thing: magic! Inside is a voodoo doll complete with instructions for making happy, wonderful things happen to Cleo and her friends—err, friend. Just one, really. But maybe the doll can change that. . . .
            Cleo can’t wait to try out the magic with her friend, Samantha. They start small by wishing for treats (surprise pizza!), but then their spells start to grow. And when they wish for popularity, they accidentally get the popular girl in school in major trouble with the principal. Can happy spells be twisted into bad magic?

Cute, funny, and highly entertaining, Twist My Charm will appeal to the younger generation. Of course, adults will be able to enjoy it as well. Cleo and her best friend, Samantha, are obsessed with popularity. They are the outsiders and just want to know what it's like to be a 'cool' kid. Very understandable considering most kids want to be in the 'in' crowd. When Cleo gets a voodoo doll for her birthday from her uncle, she finally feels like her luck will change. The two best friends start with something small and the very next day the girls get a surprise pizza day at school. So obviously voodoo works! But then the two start wondering about bigger and better hexes they can do.

Bigger hexes mean bigger consequences. Such as trying to stop a romance between Cleo's dad and his new girlfriend, Terri. Will Cleo and Samantha be able to handle the hexes they continue to do? Or will things just go, poof! And be gone? I enjoyed the book very much. It was light and easy to read. I also thought the dialogue was engaging and witty at times. Sometimes I would be like, yep, that totally sounds like an eleven year old. Meaning sometimes the humor was lost to me since I'm not a kid anymore. But I totally think kids will devour this sweet book! There's also going to be a second novel coming out next year. You betcha I'm going to read it. It's too cute not to.

Overall, I liked the premise and he characters were insanely adorable. I'm definitely looking forward to the shenanigans that Cleo gets in, in the next book. I've already read the synopsis for that one and it deals with a love potion! How can anyone want to pass up a book with a love potion involved! Not only will Cleo get the wrong person, her father will also drink the potion that will make someone fall in love with him. Until then, go out today and grab the book.

*Thank you to the publisher for providing a copy for an honest review. All thoughts and opinions are my own.

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About the Author:
No stranger to storytelling, Toni Gallagher earned a journalism degree from Northwestern University and has had a successful career in reality TV. She began as a story editor on the early seasons of MTV’s The Real World and was a producer on the beloved and respected Disney Channel show Bug Juice, about real kids at summer camp. Currently she serves as executive producer of The Real Housewives of Beverly Hills on Bravo. Toni lives in Los Angeles and loves finding the magic in it.

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