Chance César is a high school senior, struggling with a gender-fluid identity, a bullying problem, and an emotionally distant family. When Chance meets Jasper Donahue, whom he nicknames “Jazz,” he develops a huge crush. With the help of his best friend Emily, Chance develops a complicated plan to get Jazz to fall in love with him. As Chance and Jazz get closer, however, it becomes obvious that Jazz’s life isn’t always easy— his mother works two jobs, and many of the household responsibilities fall to the hardworking high schooler. As the story progresses, Chance learns what it means to be a good friend, and begins to work through his complicated gender identity.
Love Spell is a fast read that covers meaningful lessons on the importance of individuality, the value of quality friendships, and the necessity of putting hard work into relationships. Chance and Jazz have complicated family backstories and individual quirks that make them relatable and likable characters, and the inclusion of Chance’s struggle with gender identity allows the book to separate itself from typical high school romances. Love Spell is written just as flamboyantly as Chance is portrayed, and the stylistic choices make the book memorable.
However, I feel there is a disconnect between the content of the book and the audience the book is trying to reach. The consistent use of pop culture slang, including the term “cray-cray,” and the use of hashtags in sentences seem more suited to younger, middle-school aged readers, but the sexual references and language are definitely meant for an older demographic. Chance’s behavior and thoughts would also be much more at home in a middle school, rather than a high school, setting.
I would recommend Love Spell to mature middle schoolers with parental approval, who enjoy quirky realistic fiction and teen romances.
From the Author:
I would just like to thank the reviewer for her comments and say that I learned from this review. (Mia Kerick, author of Love Spell)