A surprising YA fantasy novel with wonderful characters
When she told her grandma she hoped to visit soon, sixteen-year-old Lydia meant it in a polite way, not in an I’ll-be-there-next-week way. Her grandmother was so happy though that when her mother drives her from Chicago to the tiny town of Fairbrooke, Wisconsin, Lydia vows to make the most of the week. Even without other people her age, even without wifi and with crappy cell service. Despite everything her mother – who couldn’t leave town fast enough – told her about the forest next to her grandmother’s property, Lydia can’t help being curious. The woods don’t look as dangerous as her mom insisted and she feels strangely safe there. When she meets Eden, a mysterious girl her age, who invites Lydia to join her on a treasure hunt in the forest, the week suddenly looks a lot more exciting.
I don’t know what I expected when I opened this book but it kept surprising me. It’s told in first person from Lydia’s point of view and I simply loved her. She’s both your typical teenager and not. She’s a rebel and she’s kind, she’s fierce and impulsive, she’s sassy, she’s flawed, she’s adorable. She’s out and proud and definitely not afraid of being loud about it… until a pretty girl catches her attention. She then has unexpectedly shy moments and she’s terribly cute. She’s the kind of well-adjusted girl (despite what others might think) who says stuff like “And okay, she’s super cute and I’m a useless pansexual who sort of likes the idea of helping a damsel in distress” and how could you not love her? The chapter titles sum up her thoughts in the most perfect way. They’re funny and loud.
There’s Magic Between Us begins as a light YA story, funny in a sarcastic kind of way, full of energy and enthusiasm. Pretty soon, Lydia – and the reader with her – realises that things aren’t what they seem at all. Keeping an open mind when you’re a blasé teenager is easier said than done, but Lydia soon learns that magic is real and that Eden’s treasure hunt is a lot more serious and a lot more dangerous than she expected.
The story gets darker and darker, progressively. Fear not, there’s a happy ending. To get there though, Lydia and Eden will have to be strong, smart and brave.
I don’t want to say too much about Eden, it would be easy to spoil, and I loved being surprised. Suffice it to say I liked her character a lot. The single POV makes sense for this story but I would love to know more about how she feels about everything. If the author ever decides to write a sequel to this book, maybe it could be told from her side. Lydia and Eden also have this way of talking about things that feels so normal and yet mature but not unbelievably so.
Among the secondary characters, my favourites are Lydia’s grandmother, her mother (I would have loved a bit more of her too) and the genderfluid fae I won’t discuss further because, again, spoilers.
This was my first book by this author and I enjoyed it a lot. I liked the style, the tone, the pace and, most of all, the characters. When I finished reading, I was going to give this book 4⭐️ because it’s really good. But now, two days later, as I reread this review, I realise how much I love Lydia, even more than I thought while reading. I’d love to read more in her voice. So I guess that’s more than just really good. Maybe I’m overrating it a little, maybe I’m not. Read the book, decide for yourself.