A magic-infused YA novel about friendship, first love, and feeling out of place that will bewitch fans of Rainbow Rowell and Maggie Stiefvater.
Living in a small town where magic is frowned upon, Sam needs his friends James and Delia—and their time together in their school's magic club—to see him through to graduation.
But as soon as senior year starts, little cracks in their group begin to show. Sam may or may not be in love with James. Delia is growing more frustrated with their amateur magic club. And James reveals that he got mixed up with some sketchy magickers over the summer, putting a target on all their backs.
With so many fault lines threatening to derail his hopes for the year, Sam is forced to face the fact that the very love of magic that brought his group together is now tearing them apart—and there are some problems that no amount of magic can fix.
In small-town Georgia, being a magicker is only slightly more acceptable than being gay, which makes things very difficult for high schooler Sam, who is both. With his best friends Delia and James, the group makes up the entire roster of their high school's magic team, the Fascinators. Sam leans heavily on Delia as he pines for James's affection, while James spends time at church and drinking heavily to escape his circumstances. Trouble begins as James steals a book from True Light, a cultlike magical group looking for ways to increase their numbers. When new student Denver joins the team and begins a friendship with Sam, his relationship with Delia and James begins to fracture under the strain of the secrets they have been keeping from each other. Eliopulos, making his YA debut, crafts a world in which magic is part of everyday life, but the narrative follows a more realistic journey as his main characters navigate friendship, first loves, and heartbreaks, all in witty banter. Though the fantastical elements serve as mere catalyst for Sam to realize who he is and who he wishes to become, Eliopulos excels with interpersonal relationships, building out the complexities of childhood friends on the precipice of adulthood. Ages 13 up.