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The Fascinators

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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 the 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.


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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 the 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.

30 review for The Fascinators

  1. 4 out of 5

    Kai

    A bitch cried when it said Love, Simon meets The Raven Boys A bitch is me, I’m the bitch

  2. 5 out of 5

    Virginia Ronan ♥ Herondale ♥

    How am I supposed to keep my fingers away from this when they have the audacity to mention "The Raven Boys" and "Simon vs." in one sentence?!? The answer is: I'm not supposed to! *lol* This book goes straight to my TBR and I really hope that it will be able to keep its promise! This sounds exactly like a book I'd love to read and I'm so here for it! "Give it to me baby.... " *sings and walks away*

  3. 5 out of 5

    Cassie

    I HEARD SIMON VS + THE RAVEN BOYS AND CAME RUNNING ----------- update 1/4/2020: the ONLY good thing to come out of today, is Edelweiss approving me for an e-ARC of this ksnvjdnfvjdfdf thank you, edelweiss, you are my true savior today!!! ————— Initial Thoughts: This very much reminded me of The Raven Boys, but it still is its own thing. The ending was cute, but I’m convinced there will be a sequel. Too many questions that didn’t get answered in this book. ---------- Actual Review: I'm actually gi I HEARD SIMON VS + THE RAVEN BOYS AND CAME RUNNING ----------- update 1/4/2020: the ONLY good thing to come out of today, is Edelweiss approving me for an e-ARC of this ksnvjdnfvjdfdf thank you, edelweiss, you are my true savior today!!! ————— Initial Thoughts: This very much reminded me of The Raven Boys, but it still is its own thing. The ending was cute, but I’m convinced there will be a sequel. Too many questions that didn’t get answered in this book. ---------- Actual Review: I'm actually giving this a 3.5 star rating. Which, for the record, is not a bad rating. I still very much enjoyed this book and absolutely adored the friendships. I fell in love with the writing, it was addicting to read and I could easily get lost in this story because of the delectable writing. While the plot was intriguing, I feel as if it was underwhelming. The ending was a bit anticlimactic in my opinion. Here I was waiting for the big battle scene, and maybe I just hyped it up in my head too much, but the way Andrew wrote about this group of people who have access to some pretty dark magic because of this book they possess, when it came time for them to face off with Sam and his friends, I just thought, idk, that maybe it would have bigger consequences than it did. And don't get me wrong, the consequences were pretty big for what happened, I guess I expected something more out of it. It doesn't help that by the time I got to the 70% mark things still hadn't happened. There were little things still happening that were still leading up to the big thing. I was just a little underwhelmed with the ending. It was cute and while, yes, part of me thinks (hopes) there's going to be a sequel, I also feel as if this could be a standalone. I still have a lot of questions (I can't list them here because of spoilers) that I feel as if a sequel would help with answering them, but maybe I'm being greedy and just want more from this world and these characters. I also feel like, with the world the author has created, he could do so much with it. Especially with the way he left things at the end. The magic is pretty cool and I feel as if our main characters haven't even begun to scratch the surface with what they're capable of. I also appreciated the fact that everyone in this world is capable of some sort of magic, and no one has to hide the fact that magic exists. It was nice to read a story set in a world where everyone knows the existence of magic. So, after all of this, I am still very glad that I got to experience this story and go on this journey with Sam and his friends. While I selfishly hope that there's going to be more to this world and that I'll be able to reunite with Sam & Co., if this happens to just be a standalone, then I'm okay with that, too. Andrew is very talented with his writing and storytelling, so I'll for sure pick up anything else he writes in the future! Thank you very much to Edelweiss for providing me with a digital ARC in exchange for an honest review! The Fascinators is set to release May 2020

  4. 5 out of 5

    Hamad

    This Review ✍️ Blog 📖 Twitter 🐦 Instagram 📷 “If you believe it, you can achieve it,” Denver said, ridiculously. “That’s like the number-one rule of magic.” ★ Every year there is a YA LGBT book that many readers anticipate and this year it is going to be this one! I was excited when I was approved for an E-ARC of this in exchange of an honest review. I had high expectations for this one (I mean look at the fascinating cover!!!) because it is pitched as The Raven Boys meets Simon vs. t This Review ✍️ Blog 📖 Twitter 🐦 Instagram 📷 “If you believe it, you can achieve it,” Denver said, ridiculously. “That’s like the number-one rule of magic.” ★ Every year there is a YA LGBT book that many readers anticipate and this year it is going to be this one! I was excited when I was approved for an E-ARC of this in exchange of an honest review. I had high expectations for this one (I mean look at the fascinating cover!!!) because it is pitched as The Raven Boys meets Simon vs. the Homo Sapiens Agenda and I think that is not very accurate. I know some readers will be disappointed or will have lukewarm feelings for this book and this review is for you! ★ Let me start with the writing which was good. I did not think it was lyrical or very special but it flowed easily. I am not going to talk much about the writing because there is not much to say! Let’s jump to the important parts. ★ The characters were not very memorable, I am pretty sure I will have forgotten them by the time the book is released. The characters in my opinion also did not bring anything new to the YA world. I believe that they were characters I already read before with the same cliches and tropes that are always used and that was my first disappointment. “Sometimes, Sam, we fight with people because we care about them too much to give up on them.” ★ The world-building was also vague in my opinion, there was some magic but I can’t understand what are the limitations and rules. The system was not explained very well, comparing it to the HP series (Just because it is the most known wizard series) I knew it had more potential but it never reached it! That was my second disappointment. ★ The third disappointment was the plot because it was slow at first and very rushed at the end. When I had few pages left, I started questioning if it was a series and if I missed this info by mistake. But I did not miss anything, it is a standalone and it is rushed! What really happened is that I read the ending and flipped the page to see the next page only to realize the story has ended. We have the same tropes in every LGBT book which are daddy issues, fights and misunderstandings (And the characters insist on not talking to solve the most basic of stuff) and other tropes. I guess it reads more like a contemporary with fantasy elements or maybe I am just saying that because I am used to more complicated and well-established magic systems and complicated fantasy books! ‘You don’t judge your friends by what they do one time’? I guess that only applies to boys you think are cute.” ★ Summary: I had high hopes for this book and they were unfortunately not met. The writing is good but the characters, plot, and world-building were all average. I guess it will still be a successful book and I will be happy if it is! ARC provided by the publisher through Edelweiss in exchange of an honest review You can get more books from Book Depository

  5. 5 out of 5

    Miranda Reads

    I need this more in my life than air. Publication cannot come soon enough. YouTube | Blog | Instagram | Twitter | Snapchat @miranda.reads I need this more in my life than air. Publication cannot come soon enough. YouTube | Blog | Instagram | Twitter | Snapchat @miranda.reads

  6. 4 out of 5

    C.G. Drews

    I've decided I'm absolutely in love with this style of book: it's contemporary in everything except...there's also magic and everyone can do it (with varying degrees of success) but it still has all the winsome lovely qualities of a contemporary and focuses on friendship and queer identity and growing up and growing apart. And my soul maybe cried a little bit. Friendships that stretch and grow, snap and reattach, are honestly one of my favourite things to read about. This book hurt, but it was a I've decided I'm absolutely in love with this style of book: it's contemporary in everything except...there's also magic and everyone can do it (with varying degrees of success) but it still has all the winsome lovely qualities of a contemporary and focuses on friendship and queer identity and growing up and growing apart. And my soul maybe cried a little bit. Friendships that stretch and grow, snap and reattach, are honestly one of my favourite things to read about. This book hurt, but it was also (quite simply) lovely. I also listened to the audiobook! And the narrator's voice had such a lulling comforting quality to it so 😂It absolutely made me love it more. The Fascinators is the name of a magic club that consists of the best and only magickers at the highschool. Aka three kids. Aka, Sam, James, and Delia. They're tight. They've known each other for ever. The book is narrated by Sam (with a few chapters from Delia and also Liv, who I won't say much about because she plays a small but crucial part) and he has such soft and lonesome aching all through the pages, because he's built his sense of self on his friends and their magic club. Their meetings and how they enter contests and just...this is Sam. And when it all starts shattering and fracturing, he doesn't know how to cope. I firmly believe 90% of literary Sam's are Hufflepuffs and this Sam is SUCH A 'PUFF. He's loyal and deeply in love with having a tight-knit friendship group. He's okay at everything, not super great at anything, and he's always on high-alert from living in a really homophobic and church-orientated town...while he's gay. He's openly gay. But quietly. And he's also sort of in love with James. Who...maybe doesn't love him back. Like I ached for these three. Right up front things are weird because of something that happened between James/Sam at a party (when I found out, I wanted to cry) and then James starts hanging around with a girl from church a lot and a new boy joins their school called Denver and he's insanely cute and Sam likes him. Or doesn't. He doesn't know. He's hung up on James but can't talk about it and ruin things further. And then their lives just begin spiralling as they accidentally get caught up with a dark magical cult. But there's like highschool experiences and Sam has the sweetest parents. There's tentative questioning and magical rituals and homework. And no dull moments! I just wanted to keep reading forever. The magic system is also fantastic, but simple. Basically everyone can do magic, just like everyone can play a musical instrument. You have to practise and some people are better than others. And you know, you can get tools to help (tarot cards, scrying etc...like you could buy better musical instruments - just to keep my comparison going). Some people think it's evil. Some people use it as a way of life. I just love how easily it slotted into this universe and how addictive it was to read. The ending is the only part that left me with this soft gouge in my chest. On one hand I liked its realism: things are messy, not everything gets sorted in life, etc. But there are some big time jumps in the end 😭and not enough resolutions. (view spoiler)[ Quite frankly, Sam and James never talk. We never find out if James was questioning queer...I suspect he was but even if he was, it wasn't fair to ask Sam to wait for him and James did NOT treat him well. Like kissing him for show was such a dick move. I'm still so sad for Sam. Like James twisted up Sam in knots but was too cowardly to say. But that saying....it's hella hard being closeted with an semi-abusive family, so James was dealing with a lot. And I like books where I can resent a character's actions but also understand them!? But we never find out what happens with Delia. Sam goes to college and dates Denver long distance, which. I like. I just felt the James storyline ended thinly. (hide spoiler)] I really liked reading this book; it had me all sorts of in love. With the characters' friendship and trials and fissures, to the quiet storyline with pockets of dark magic escalating things, to this world where magic is normal. Sam is just the softest and I loved his growth. 🥺💛I am definitely hanging out for more books from this author.

  7. 5 out of 5

    Iris

    I heard gay and I was here for it, and then I heard dark magic and now I'm even more here for it.

  8. 5 out of 5

    anna (½ of readsrainbow)

    gays just really get the best covers and it's exactly what we deserve

  9. 5 out of 5

    Nataliya

    In the world of crazy quarantines sometimes I want something sweet and nice — so I guess this book was supposed to be my relaxed version of Quarantine Brain indulgence. I suspected that I’m too old and cynical and jaded for it but I persevered hoping to get some much-needed warm fuzzies out of it. And no, it’s definitely not bad. It’s a perfectly okay 3-star rating. It’s sweet and often funny and quite cute — but that is also its downfall. Because sometimes you need to have some teeth and bite j In the world of crazy quarantines sometimes I want something sweet and nice — so I guess this book was supposed to be my relaxed version of Quarantine Brain indulgence. I suspected that I’m too old and cynical and jaded for it but I persevered hoping to get some much-needed warm fuzzies out of it. And no, it’s definitely not bad. It’s a perfectly okay 3-star rating. It’s sweet and often funny and quite cute — but that is also its downfall. Because sometimes you need to have some teeth and bite just a bit. This is the world where everyone has some sort of magic, and there are Magic Clubs in school the same way there are Drama Clubs or Mathletes, and TV shows featuring magicians, and questions about how magic and religion coexist. But despite that, the world seems to be really exactly the same as the one we live in — like magic has not made much of a difference besides creating a premise for the story. I mean, look at all this adorable cuteness! Sam is a high school senior who struggles with feeling a bit uneasy in a conservative Georgia town, being gay and a magicker. He is a member of his school Magic Club - three-people strong and called the Fascinators. The other two members are Sam’s best friends: Delia, who is ambitious and smart and non-nonsense, and James, who is talented but reckless and a budding alcoholic at seventeen, and who Sam has had a crush on for as long as he can remember, and who may even kinda like Sam back just a bit, despite what appears to be more than friendship with a new club member Amber. And there is a new kid Denver who seems to like Sam quite a lot. Feelings galore. “Sam, he went to a party hoping to do drugs with a bunch of strangers and ended up robbing them. How many more red flags can I fit into one sentence?” Then James stupidly steals a magical artifact from a local evil magical cult, and everyone is in danger. And there’s a state magical convention coming up. For some, the allure of magical power proves hard to resist. And more than anything, there are confused romantic feelings and misunderstandings, and new friendships and relationships are formed, and old friendships are strained and tested, and then it all ends in a bit of unsatisfying way that seems to be primed for a sequel. “I guess this is the problem, right, when your friendships are based around what you do instead of who you are? Or maybe it’s the problem of being friends with anybody for as long as I’ve been friends with Delia and James.” “What’s the problem?” “You’re not allowed to change.” In its cute sweetness the book reads quite young, perhaps more middle-grade level. The characters motivations are easily visible early on, the twists are amply foreshadowed, and everyone acts very young for people a year or two from legal adulthood. Evil stuff is off-page, evil cult seems more annoying than menacing, and never ever is there a sense of real danger for any of the characters. In short, everything is sweet and cute and everyone is adorable — but a bit underwhelming and not too memorable. It’s good at feelings and friendship and adolescent confusion. But the premise begs for more, perhaps with a bit more bite and punch to it. That said, I’m sure many will love it, and many will appreciate it precisely for what it is — a pleasant easy read that makes you feel warm and cozy. I’m just too grumpy for it. 3-ish stars.

  10. 5 out of 5

    love, tappkalina

    Simon vs. (my all time favorite book) meets The Raven Cycle (Ronan Lynch is everything)? It must me good, because the only time I was this excited for a book was before the release of Red, White & Royal Blue, and that is my 2nd all time favourite book now! Also, look at that cover! It's so beautiful I'm literally tearing up! May 12th is an eternity away, I can't wait that long. I mean I don't have a choice, but it will be sooo hard. I already set the cover as a wallpaper on my phone. Simon vs. (my all time favorite book) meets The Raven Cycle (Ronan Lynch is everything)? It must me good, because the only time I was this excited for a book was before the release of Red, White & Royal Blue, and that is my 2nd all time favourite book now! Also, look at that cover! It's so beautiful I'm literally tearing up! May 12th is an eternity away, I can't wait that long. I mean I don't have a choice, but it will be sooo hard. I already set the cover as a wallpaper on my phone.

  11. 5 out of 5

    Mara YA Mood Reader

    I read The Raven Boys meets....and didn’t even need to read the rest before my thumb slapped that Want TO Read button

  12. 4 out of 5

    Emma

    I'm so disappointed by this read, I had really high hopes for this one and saying that they weren't met would be the understatement of the year. I won't go into the details of the flimsy plot of this book, but for me it all really was trite and flat. The magic system, if that's what you want to call it, was basically nonexistent and definitely not explained properly. The pacing was way off, sometimes extremely slow and sometimes too fast. What drove me nuts the most was probably how these charac I'm so disappointed by this read, I had really high hopes for this one and saying that they weren't met would be the understatement of the year. I won't go into the details of the flimsy plot of this book, but for me it all really was trite and flat. The magic system, if that's what you want to call it, was basically nonexistent and definitely not explained properly. The pacing was way off, sometimes extremely slow and sometimes too fast. What drove me nuts the most was probably how these characters did not communicate at all, what kind of friends are they? Their friendship was a big mess and there were so many things that were left unresolved. And don't get me started on the ending, what even was that?

  13. 5 out of 5

    zee reads

    it really should be a sin for a book to be so beautiful on the outside but so bland on the inside 😞😬 the fascinators had so much untapped potential, and that's probably the most frustrating aspect of this book. after a summer of growing distant from each other, a trio of best friends gets mixed up with a shady/cult-like group of other magic users during their senior year? sounds amazing, and it would have been pretty neat if this was further developed and allowed to be the main source of conflict it really should be a sin for a book to be so beautiful on the outside but so bland on the inside 😞😬 the fascinators had so much untapped potential, and that's probably the most frustrating aspect of this book. after a summer of growing distant from each other, a trio of best friends gets mixed up with a shady/cult-like group of other magic users during their senior year? sounds amazing, and it would have been pretty neat if this was further developed and allowed to be the main source of conflict. instead, the magic element just felt like it was shoehorned into a contemporary story like an afterthought. the magic system just was not explained well and i never got a true feeling of how it fit into the world. much like the story and fantasy element, the characters were unfortunately super bland and forgettable, which is sad because i can usually always excuse a boring plot if the characters are really engaging, entertaining and just enjoyable to read about. i do understand how james, delia and sam drifting part was a plot point but they didn't even feel like......best friends? they didn't even seem like they really cared for one another even before the main conflict arises. no spoilers, but the plot twist involving delia just solidifies this for me. i also just wasn't buying supposed "chemistry" between james and sam. there was glimpses here and there of what could've been if things had been more fleshed out, but what was presented to us was not enough to make me root for them or their relationship. the same goes for the entire love triangle. the friendship and relationship dynamics in this book frustrated me as well because the foundation of it WAS all there, but it just was not executed well at all. the climax of this book is so anticlimatic i didn't even realize it was the climax until it was over. i also found it kind of funny how throughout the entire story, we're being hyped up for this magic competition and we don't even get to really see any magic. we just get told about it after it happened. 💀 a lot of people are going to hate the ending. and i don't blame them because it was so unsatisfying and felt like it came out of completely nowhere. i actually had to go back to make sure i didn't miss a chapter or two of wrapup. delia's predicament is just completely swept under the rug like no big deal and the main underlying conflict between sam and james, the one we're constantly reminded about from the very start, is never communicated, never resolved, never spoken about again. i felt like boo boo the fool because i was actually anticipating this situation to finally be discussed because maybe it would've shed new light on their relationship and instead it never was???? it was extremely bizarre. the writing was okay, a little juvenile for YA and i wasn't engaged by it but i'm sure a lot of people will find it to be fine. but there was this weird thing where it kept switching between first/third-person narration, something like that, though that might have been fixed before actual publication. the fascinators really could have been great, especially with the magic/queerness metaphors and that small, southern town vibe. i think a few rounds of editing could've really done the plot, the magic system, and the characters better. still unsure if this is a 1 or 2 star read, but either way it's disappointing and im so sad

  14. 4 out of 5

    Inkslinger

    ARC provided by HarperCollins and Andrew Eliopulos via Edelweiss+. All opinions are mine and freely given. Blog | Instagram | Twitter | Facebook | BookBub "I've always loved this volatile quality that magic has. This ability to create meaning and defy meaning. To be real and not real. That's how it feels when you're waiting for your life to start and yet somehow, impossibly, having to live it at the same time." -- Andrew Eliopulos 05-12: It's strange, give me a book and tell me there's ARC provided by HarperCollins and Andrew Eliopulos via Edelweiss+. All opinions are mine and freely given. Blog | Instagram | Twitter | Facebook | BookBub "I've always loved this volatile quality that magic has. This ability to create meaning and defy meaning. To be real and not real. That's how it feels when you're waiting for your life to start and yet somehow, impossibly, having to live it at the same time." -- Andrew Eliopulos 05-12: It's strange, give me a book and tell me there's a sorcerer in it.. and I'm all about it. Normally though, if instead you swap that word out for magician, I'm going to reflexively just make a face and hesitate. I don't know why. In my head a magician is a performer and while I enjoy a good magic show as much as the next person, I really don't usually want to read a book or watch a film about it. There have been exceptions, of course. Both The Prestige and The Illusionist were great films and I loved them, but I'm hard pressed to think of a single book until this year that has labeled magic wielders as magicians, that I've actually been interested enough to read. That being said, since I've gone back to reviewing.. and this time with books, I've required myself to keep an open mind.. to try concepts I might normally skip when my reading time is more limited. 'The Fascinators' by Andrew Eliopulos is a story about 'magickers' that I didn't even bat an eye at before deciding I needed to read it. From the synopsis alone, I knew I had to go on this adventure. There's something even about the cover that for me radiated late summer/early fall friendships and an 'us against the world' feeling. It made me think of Breakfast Club and Goonies.. even Stranger Things a little bit. "If you've ever cast a spell alone in your room in the dark, wishing you were somewhere--or someone--else, this book is for you." -- Andrew Eliopulos (Dedication) Sam, our protagonist, lives in a small town where pretty much everything marks you as an outcast. Magic, religious beliefs, sexual preferences.. anything that doesn't align with the majority of the community is frowned upon. He's got two best friends, James and Delia, that he's counting on to see him through his senior year. Though the three teens have been friends for ages, early on the group starts to splinter. Sam is having confusing feelings for James, Delia is finding their amateur magic club disappointing, and new elements are at play.. causing rifts between them. Turns out that over the summer, James also got mixed up with some shady magic users and that's making everyone's lives difficult too. Difficulties that even magic can't fix. "(His mom always countered that his relationship with James was less like a fire and more like Schrodinger's cat, and Sam was just afraid to open the box to find out whether it was alive or dead.)" I have to tell you, Sam is just the sweetest boy. He's tormented by his feelings and by the pressure of not fitting in.. even in places where that was never the case for him before. I found myself genuinely hoping for him to find love and happiness. Dynamically, the group evolves quite a lot from the start to the finish of the novel and though I wasn't always pleased with the actions of every character, I felt satisfied with the results of their choices. I enjoyed watching them evolve. Their dialogue feels very natural, in some cases it's filled with easy banter and in others, the discomfort is like a physical thing between them. The funny moments really stand out, they're not rare.. but they are fabulous. "Mary Ellen's has the best biscuits and gravy you have ever eaten or will ever eat. It's like gravy soup with biscuit croutons. It's like a gravy landslide over biscuit city." "I'm not sure you're convincing me by comparing the food to a natural disaster." "It's like a natural disaster that's making way for a better civilization." "Wow, Sam. Didn't peg you for a kill-all-humans type, but I guess we all have our dark sides." The magic itself, is fairly wide-ranging.. though most of what we see is elemental in nature, magic also surprisingly, doesn't play that much of a role in the scenes. It's a major part of the story, but the scenes are really all about the group and how the magic they use changes their circumstances and their core beings. Honestly, I can easily say I loved this book. It's fun, but not too light-hearted. The relationships are warm, but imperfect. And even the parents vary from dismissive and narrow-minded to supportive and loving. I feel like it's easy to see the paths each character is set on and how they become who they are. What a great story.. PURCHASE LINKS: AMAZON | BARNES & NOBLE | GOOGLEPLAY BOOKS | KOBO ----------- 05-10: What better way to start the week than with a group of magickers called The Fascinators? Fingers crossed for Sam and James to find their way to each other somehow..

  15. 4 out of 5

    rachel ☾

    ◯ Review copy provided by the publisher in exchange for an honest review. Blog • Goodreads • Twitter • Instagram • The Book Depository ◯ Review copy provided by the publisher in exchange for an honest review. Blog • Goodreads • Twitter • Instagram • The Book Depository

  16. 4 out of 5

    HeatherH

    This was very wrongly marketed to fans of Rainbow Rowell and Maggie Stiefvater.... Not that I went into it really expecting it to live up to the magic that is Stiefvater, but I was still left underwhelmed. The magic system wasn't fleshed out well at all leaving me still feeling like I know nothing about it. The characters were ok but never delved into deep enough for me to be uber attached or invested in them. And there was really zero chemistry between any of the possible love interests. It was This was very wrongly marketed to fans of Rainbow Rowell and Maggie Stiefvater.... Not that I went into it really expecting it to live up to the magic that is Stiefvater, but I was still left underwhelmed. The magic system wasn't fleshed out well at all leaving me still feeling like I know nothing about it. The characters were ok but never delved into deep enough for me to be uber attached or invested in them. And there was really zero chemistry between any of the possible love interests. It was an easy listen - and Michael Crouch is one of my favorite narrators - so I don't regret it or feel like it was time wasted, just not sure I'd re-listen ever.

  17. 5 out of 5

    Rach

    We start off the book with three friends Sam, James and Delia who are seniors and part of the Friedman High Fascinators club which is a club for magic. Each have the their own problems in life, James has a abusive dad, Delia family has no money and Sam doesn’t know where he stands with James. Their magic club is still working for now and even gets a new member Denver who may have a crush on Sam. James steals a book from a group who are practicing dark magic which leads to trouble for our group. We start off the book with three friends Sam, James and Delia who are seniors and part of the Friedman High Fascinators club which is a club for magic. Each have the their own problems in life, James has a abusive dad, Delia family has no money and Sam doesn’t know where he stands with James. Their magic club is still working for now and even gets a new member Denver who may have a crush on Sam. James steals a book from a group who are practicing dark magic which leads to trouble for our group. I love a book with magic in it. I did find the overall magic system in this book a bit confusing . We could of done with a explanation regarding the overall magic system in this book. Even though the book was mainly about magic there was realistic issues in the book e.g Delia families problem with money, the abuse James receives from his father, fear of who you are. The relationship between Sam and James was left unclear to me at the end of the book and Sam’s new relationship felt a bit rushed. The ending felt a bit rushed as well nd a few questions still left opened so maybe the author is planning a second book in the future. I received a ARC from Edelweiss for an objection review.

  18. 5 out of 5

    Andrea Valeska

    Okay, so.... The Raven Cycle meets Simons vs. the Homo Sapiens Agenda??? This is everything I never knew I needed. Okay, so.... The Raven Cycle meets Simons vs. the Homo Sapiens Agenda??? This is everything I never knew I needed.

  19. 5 out of 5

    Benjamin (The Maniac)

    Pray for my soul because all the excitement for all these upcoming queer books is killing me slowly (and my wallet)!

  20. 4 out of 5

    faith ✨

    This book could have had it all with its eccentric magical contemporary fantasy setting and queer themes, but it really did not deliver at that front. And it's set in Georgia—I live in Georgia. Well, what would you expect with a book pitched as For fans of Rainbow Rowell and Maggie Stiefvater (wildly popular white cishet female authors with books which are hailed as the epitomy of gay modern literature, but no. They're not. Please stop it.) . . . I think the thing about The Fascinators is just th This book could have had it all with its eccentric magical contemporary fantasy setting and queer themes, but it really did not deliver at that front. And it's set in Georgia—I live in Georgia. Well, what would you expect with a book pitched as For fans of Rainbow Rowell and Maggie Stiefvater (wildly popular white cishet female authors with books which are hailed as the epitomy of gay modern literature, but no. They're not. Please stop it.) . . . I think the thing about The Fascinators is just that it's not that good. Nothing happens, if the book was centered around its less-important plots it could have been much better, the characters aren't very likable, and in retrospect, everything is just . . . boring about it. But I kinda liked it? Its plot takes a while to pick up and even when it does, it's not very rewarding and there's this feeling of 'why did the hell did I waste 5 hours of my life reading this book?" after it's finished, but the book isn't terrible. It could have been much much better, but I didn't have any glaring problems with it. I mentioned previously this book could have been more enjoyable if it was centered around its lesser-important plots, and I stand by that 100%. The author wants us to care about things which really don't matter, which makes a large part of this book pretty boring to stick through, when there were wholly creative and interesting aspects of it right there that for some reason the author didn't seem to care much about. Like, if the cultish magic group plotline was utilized at the beginning? The Fascinators could have been everything. But instead, more focus is put on the main friend group's dynamics, and various other things which do not matter, which for me really hindered the quality of this book. In general, and as what Rachel said about this book, it's 'going to be a divisive one and not be that popular overall honestly,' which is basically why I didn't rate it. It's pretty boring and forgettable, but you could find yourself enjoying it for what it is. representation: gay main character (ownvoices) w/ mlm LI, queer side characters, black side character (interesting the literal only character of color in this book is disliked by the main character . . .) content warnings: homophobia (challenged), parental abuse & neglect (challenged), cults, ableist language I received an e-ARC of this book from Quill Tree Books, a HarperCollins imprint, via Edelweiss in exchange for an honest review. Blog | Goodreads | Twitter

  21. 5 out of 5

    RebecaReads

    I had high hopes for this book, but it just fell short for me in everything. The world building was weak and didn't give enough details for me to understand how the magic in this town worked. A lot of the time that magic was performed it left me thinking, "oh, so that's a thing that you can do.. great" I don't know but James was a horrible character to read about, he was selfish to his friends and such a troublemaker for absolutely no reason, dragging his friends in his messes didn't earn him an I had high hopes for this book, but it just fell short for me in everything. The world building was weak and didn't give enough details for me to understand how the magic in this town worked. A lot of the time that magic was performed it left me thinking, "oh, so that's a thing that you can do.. great" I don't know but James was a horrible character to read about, he was selfish to his friends and such a troublemaker for absolutely no reason, dragging his friends in his messes didn't earn him any brownie points either.. Delia was meh.. however, I will say that Sam was quite likable and I also enjoyed Denver (or was his name Dallas?.. oops, haha!). I started this book back in May and I honestly don't see myself finishing it.. What a shame too because Andrew Eliopulos is the editor for the upcoming YA series by one of my absolute favorite authors, CS Pacat, but not even that was enough to entice me to finish this book. I'm just not willing to power through the 60% I had left. *DNF'd at 40%*

  22. 5 out of 5

    Harishma

    This review has been hidden because it contains spoilers. To view it, click here. To say that I'm dissapointed is an understatement. So lets get into the plot.. the prologue is is of a girl named Liv where she is trying to sell her diamond necklace for the money so she could run away from her parents. She discovers that it's fake and ends up selling her favourite watch which belonged to her grandmother. Then she walks off when a stranger's car pulls up and gives back her watch that she sold. His name's Isaac and they end up giving her a room in the co-op that he is living in. To say that I'm dissapointed is an understatement. So lets get into the plot.. the prologue is is of a girl named Liv where she is trying to sell her diamond necklace for the money so she could run away from her parents. She discovers that it's fake and ends up selling her favourite watch which belonged to her grandmother. Then she walks off when a stranger's car pulls up and gives back her watch that she sold. His name's Isaac and they end up giving her a room in the co-op that he is living in. She later realises that to be a great mistake... This continues on with the story where three people Sam, Delia and James is introduced. They are very interested in magic and they have a club of their own in a city where magic is frowned upon.. and to no one's surprise they are the only existing member of the group too. It's called The Fascinators, a fancy name and the name of the book too which was the reason I decided to read it in the first place. I’m starting to think I should’ve spent my summer on something simpler, like time travel or mind control.”- Sam Now let's talk about charecters.. they were not fully developed.. the awkwardness in the book was a bit too thick. And I liked Sam and his family. Sam is the only sane person in this novel. James has family issues and a younger brother, drinks too much too. Delia is a hypocrite, judges others for their actions but does the same when it suits her typically. Denver is a shameless flirt but I love him for it. Denver said “One simple levitation spell to reach the top shelf at Publix, and suddenly everyone’s looking at me like I summoned a lesser demon.” Magic in this world seems to be a part of it... Where its just another normal activity.. where you are better with more practice. Like most of the readers felt, there was no mention about how it came about. The world building was not great either.. Its based only on the four charecters and the cult group of Isaac called True light. “Sometimes, Sam, we fight with people because we care about them too much to give up on them.”-Mrs. Fisher Denver joins the the fascinators and soon James also brings a new girl Amber into the group. James has also gotten into trouble with True light as he stole their most precious book of spells. This creates tension between the close friends.. and soon both James and Delia and Sam won't talk to each other anymore. Delia has decided to go with the True light and gets into a mess when she gives them an idea for stealing others magic. “I’m as surprised as you are. I guess this is the problem, right, when your friendships are based around what you do instead of who you are? Or maybe it’s the problem of being friends with anybody for as long as I’ve been friends with Delia and James.” “What’s the problem?” asked Denver “You’re not allowed to change.” replied Sam The writing was not too bad and not the best either.. The way the author wrote atleast made us to read further and and have the need to know more. I was dissapointed with the ending which left me more confused than when I started reading it. Overall, I liked the concept of the book but didn't enjoy it and was never on board with the charecters either. The romance was okay.. I'd rate this two Stars for the plot and writing style alone..

  23. 5 out of 5

    Kate

    2.5 stars There were many enjoyable things about The Fascinators, but it was riddled with many problems as well. The friendships were good. The magical system and how it is integrated into our society was interesting, but the plot felt half baked and the ending didn't seem solid and the plot's build was anti-climactic. I was disappointed in the romance. It felt forced and I wasn't really sure if there was any at the end. I am left with many questions so I'm unsure if this is a standalone. Also, wit 2.5 stars There were many enjoyable things about The Fascinators, but it was riddled with many problems as well. The friendships were good. The magical system and how it is integrated into our society was interesting, but the plot felt half baked and the ending didn't seem solid and the plot's build was anti-climactic. I was disappointed in the romance. It felt forced and I wasn't really sure if there was any at the end. I am left with many questions so I'm unsure if this is a standalone. Also, with the world, it could be expanded a ton. Especially with the way the author left things at the end. The magic is pretty cool and I feel like our main characters haven't even begun to scratch the surface with what they're capable of, but I'm not sure I care enough to get the next one if there is another. It just wasn't memorable enough.

  24. 5 out of 5

    Christian

    I don't remember the last time I read a book that left me this unsatisfied. At the end, I actually went back and checked that I hadn't missed a chapter because it never actually showed the confrontation between the main character and his best friend, which was basically the underlying plot point of the whole story? Like, I thought that was the core of this book? That was what I cared about most?? The plot aside from that relationship sadly wasn't compelling enough to make up for other shortcoming I don't remember the last time I read a book that left me this unsatisfied. At the end, I actually went back and checked that I hadn't missed a chapter because it never actually showed the confrontation between the main character and his best friend, which was basically the underlying plot point of the whole story? Like, I thought that was the core of this book? That was what I cared about most?? The plot aside from that relationship sadly wasn't compelling enough to make up for other shortcomings, the injection of magic into what is essentially a cute contemporary felt inconsequential and shallow. Some of the friendships and conversations felt nuanced in certain moments, but even that managed to go downhill at the end. (Delia deserved a better character development than this, her reasoning made Zero sense to me.) This is the second own voices gay YA novel I've read this year that disappointed me immensely. I don't know what's going on? Am I getting too old? This just barely scratched the surface of any of the elements it was trying to include, and I'm pretty sure I'll have forgotten about it in about a week. Which is pretty damn sad.

  25. 4 out of 5

    t

    dnf at 70%. i’m. so. disappointed. i’ve been waiting for this book for so long and i really, really wanted to like it, but it was mediocre at best. the characters were shallow and had no reason at all - it’s as if someone sat down and thought, “i have that brief idea for a book, now i will write it and hopefully the characters develop themselves somewhere along the way.” but they didn’t. they barely had any personality and to be honest, even though i read it today, i don’t even remember their name dnf at 70%. i’m. so. disappointed. i’ve been waiting for this book for so long and i really, really wanted to like it, but it was mediocre at best. the characters were shallow and had no reason at all - it’s as if someone sat down and thought, “i have that brief idea for a book, now i will write it and hopefully the characters develop themselves somewhere along the way.” but they didn’t. they barely had any personality and to be honest, even though i read it today, i don’t even remember their names. the pov was randomly, without any warning, switching between the characters, the most annoying thing i’ve ever witnessed in a book. the love triangle was weird. there was no chemistry between ANY of them, only the main character whining from time to time how much in love he is to make sure the reader doesn’t forget about it. world building? terrible. next to none. words that were supposed to help understand the world were thrown with no context, i still don’t get why they have magic in the first place, i don’t get what’s the deal with magic clubs, nothing makes sense. everything happened for no reason, and it’s not “okay, i don’t understand it, but i want to keep reading to learn more about it,” it was just “okay, i don’t give a single shit about what happens next, nothing is important to me here.” i felt as if i was taking a test that i never studied for - “i don’t get anything and i want it to end.” it couldn’t capture my attention in any way - mediocre writing, horrible world building, boring characters, no point to the plot. there was a lot of potential to this book, but it was executed extremely badly.

  26. 4 out of 5

    Laurie –A Court of Books–

    “If you believe it, you can achieve it, that’s like the number-one rule of magic.” ~ This book was kindly provided to me by the publisher via Edelweiss in exchange for an honest review ~ It’s been a very long time since a book had let me down as much as The Fascinators did. To be honest Carry On and The Raven Boys were two books that I didn’t particularly enjoy, to begin with, and yet I still got very excited for The Fascinators, getting hyped by the beautiful cover and promising synopsis. “If you believe it, you can achieve it, that’s like the number-one rule of magic.” ~ This book was kindly provided to me by the publisher via Edelweiss in exchange for an honest review ~ It’s been a very long time since a book had let me down as much as The Fascinators did. To be honest Carry On and The Raven Boys were two books that I didn’t particularly enjoy, to begin with, and yet I still got very excited for The Fascinators, getting hyped by the beautiful cover and promising synopsis. It was even on my Top Ten Most Anticipated Releases of the First Half of 2020 blog post, where I gave the following reasons for being excited: “Okay, hear this. This book is about an openly gay high school boy who’s secretly in love with his best friend. It looks both amazing and a bit worrying because I’m rooting for Sam already, he seems so pure that I don’t want him heartbroken. Also, there will be some magic included in this book and I can’t wait.” First, let me tell you that this book has NOTHING in common with Carry On or The Raven Boys (or Simon vs. the Homo Sapiens Agenda). It could have been a good thing for me if I didn't like it even less than those two. Now about the story, this book focuses around a set of three friends, Sam our main character and who narrates most of the story, James who’s Sam secret crush, and Delia. All three of them bounded a few years ago thanks to their ability to use magic, they even created a club to train together in order to be able to enter a state competition. Delia is the most gifted of the three and therefore helps them a lot to improve their own magic. The action takes place in a southern town of Georgia in the United States, at the beginning of the Senior Year of High School, right after summer holidays when our three best friends started to drift apart because of magic and secrets. They quickly get mixed up in some shady cult group that is hitting their small town. “Sometimes, Sam, we fight with people because we care about them too much to give up on them.” The opening scene was striking and it really made me feel excited, however, the story became quickly bland, boring and unremarkable. This book lacked so much in term of worldbuilding (especially everything revolving around the magic was left unexplained) but what bothered me the most was the total absence of character consistency. There was no growth for them during the book, no lessons learned and the social interactions between the characters were really childish. To be honest this book felt like ‘middle grade’ for me (not that there is something wrong with MG, it’s a genre that I really enjoy, but in that case, it felt juvenile and unrealistic for high schoolers). I got tired pretty easily with the Sam/James/Denver love triangle, especially since James didn't show any interest in Sam. Delila’s frustrations felt like they came out of nowhere and I really needed something more gradual to understand her thirst for power. In the end, I just didn’t believe in their friendship at all; we need to see the love and not just read about it to believe the falling out of love. Basically, this book was 80% of slow and actionless plotline, and then 20% of messy and underwhelming plot twists that lead to an anticlimactic ending, making this book feel both too long and too short at the same time. The writing style was only average, it had nothing special but at least it didn’t require a lot of concentration to read. The trope used were often cliché and cringey. The only character I liked was Sam, but even he bothered me sometimes, and the love triangle felt totally unnecessary, I couldn’t root for either James or Denver. My main issue with Denver is that he was the ‘too perfect’. He served no role outside of being a third love interest to make us believe that Sam had the choice, and the way he was described is a lazy way to try to make us root for him. The most frustrating in all this is that there is no resolution of this love triangle at the end, even though the author says that this book is a standalone and that there is no sequel planned. “The thing about practicing magic in Friedman, Georgia, was that you never knew who was going to hate you for it.” One thing I liked though is that this book brings visibility upon the LGBT+ community and I’ll always be thankful for that. The Fascinators didn’t shy away from heavy topics, such as bullying, the reality of homophobia and discrimination, the fact that magic was used as a new reason to marginalize those who are different, is something I found interesting and that would (unfortunately) probably really happen. To sum up, the things that bothered me the most about this book were the plots that weren’t resolved; there are different events that are mentioned several times and that don’t come to a conclusion, such as: - The magic competition that I was so eager to read and that was just told by the characters in the end - The conflicts and the possible underlying feelings between James and Sam are never clearly addressed, as well as their “moment” that Sam must confront James with at the beginning of the book but never does - The final confrontation that gave me a Breaking Dawn vibe.

  27. 4 out of 5

    Sara ❀

    "The Raven Boys meets Simon vs. the Homo Sapiens Agenda" i will hibernate until this books comes out

  28. 4 out of 5

    Carlee

    This review has been hidden because it contains spoilers. To view it, click here. I... don’t know how to rate this book. I loved it right until the end, and then the last chapter was jarring and sudden and I hated it. If this book is a standalone, so much is left unresolved that it kind of ruins the good things in the book and makes me want to give the book 3 stars. But if this book turns out to be the first book in a series and we will have a sequel, then I would put it more on the 4 star level. I’m so TORN. Like really... what WAS that ending? Edit: It’s been a day and the mo I... don’t know how to rate this book. I loved it right until the end, and then the last chapter was jarring and sudden and I hated it. If this book is a standalone, so much is left unresolved that it kind of ruins the good things in the book and makes me want to give the book 3 stars. But if this book turns out to be the first book in a series and we will have a sequel, then I would put it more on the 4 star level. I’m so TORN. Like really... what WAS that ending? Edit: It’s been a day and the more I think about it, the more frustrated I get. The author claims there is no current plan for a sequel and I just feel like this book does not resolve any of the questions it opened with. 1. Sam starts the book by saying he and James need to talk about what happened at the bowling alley and we just never do. WHAT? WHAT? FOR REAL? 2. Is Sam going to get over his feelings for James and move on to Denver, or is he going to talk to James and confess his feelings? Well, really he is going to do neither and the last chapter is going to just make you assume that he got over James and fell in love with Denver without showing you any of the progress to get to that point. 3. What about the cult? Eh, unimportant I guess. 4. But how does James feel about Sam? Who knows, not us. Never us. Remember how the fields that night with Sam is actually James safe space? Well, we’re not gonna unpack that AT ALL. Also: WHAT is the purpose of the magic in this book? The only way that magic impacts this story is because of the cult who the characters are maybe sorta kinda beefing with but also they’re just trying to graduate high school and improve their magic and decide their futures and really the cult doesn’t matter much except for creating a forced climax. UGH. Also I love Denver, but Sam being with him is so forced. It’s like the moral of this story is “If your best friend has trouble at home and can’t express his feelings for you, you’re too good for him and you should date Denver whose whole personality is being perfect and liking you right away.” I. Am. So. Angry. I really enjoyed 75-80% of this book, but the author just completely dropped the ball in act 3 and it ruined the rest of the book for me. I can’t enjoy most of the book anymore knowing how it ends. We waste so much time chasing rabbits down holes that we didn’t need to go down. I just wanted literally anything actually important to be tied up on the page and not in a random time skip at the very end. The book feels amateurish and too short. I’m just very, very frustrated.

  29. 5 out of 5

    Mari

    “The Raven Cycle meets Simon Vs. the Homo Sapiens Agenda” What a time to be gay (bi, whatever).

  30. 5 out of 5

    Aly

    This was my first real let down of the year. I was so excited to read this, it has magic and gay romance and a great cover, but the characters were poorly developed and I didn't understand the magic system at all. Can anyone do magic but some practice more than others? Do only some have the ability? Is it seen as prestigious or like black magic? Sam is kind of a sad character. He has two friends who seem to be moving on without him so he sulks and pushes away newcomer Denver, who wants to be his This was my first real let down of the year. I was so excited to read this, it has magic and gay romance and a great cover, but the characters were poorly developed and I didn't understand the magic system at all. Can anyone do magic but some practice more than others? Do only some have the ability? Is it seen as prestigious or like black magic? Sam is kind of a sad character. He has two friends who seem to be moving on without him so he sulks and pushes away newcomer Denver, who wants to be his friend and maybe more. James and Delia weren't good friends and I didn't really understand either of their motivations for doing what they did. The romance was barely there and I just found myself not caring about anyone. I will say I enjoyed Sam's parents, especially his mom. They supported Sam when he came out, taught him to be proud of who he is and were always there for him. Everyone should be so lucky to have parents like them. The plot was a bit confusing and the climax of the story was actually anticlimactic. The ending is very open, making me wonder if there will be a sequel? I wanted to know more about the True Light group and their motivations, plus Delia has no resolution.

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