Love Spell is somewhat of a departure from this author’s previous books. I’ve grown accustomed to her tackling weighty topics, whether sexual abuse or the struggle to reconcile religion and homosexuality, and so was pleasantly surprised when I picked this up. Though this novella touches on some important issues, those of gender identity and learning to be true to oneself, it’s also packed with moments ranging from the laugh-out-loud to the downright cringeworthy, and the overall feel is one of pure entertainment.

Chance César is fabulousness personified, and no one knows this better than Chance himself. He struts around his small-town high school, flaunting his vibrant clothes and screw-the-world attitude, deflecting the frequent bullying with cutting retorts. Yet, beneath the flamboyant exterior lies a deep-rooted uncertainty. For as long as he can recall, Chance has existed in the middle space between genders, unable to wholly identify as male or female, something he finds increasingly difficult to handle.

When he meets Jasper Donahue, gorgeous, steady, and unequivocally masculine, Chance falls head over pointy-toed boots. Of course, he has no idea whether Jazz is even gay, but he doesn’t let a little detail like this stop him. With the help of Emily, his ever enthusiastic best friend, as well as an article in a women’s magazine, Chance sets out to win Jazz’s heart. In his pursuit of love, however, he ends up discovering far more about himself and the person he wants to be than he could have anticipated.

This might be a deviation from the style and tone readers have come to expect from Mia Kerick, but her gift for bringing across the unique viewpoint of her protagonists remains the same. She has captured Chance’s voice and outlook so authentically that it was as if he were speaking in my ear. Chance is many things—fun-loving and generous, confident and vulnerable, clueless and intensely irritating. Still, the one thing he could never be is dull, and I know he’ll stay with me for a long time.

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Written for Rainbow Book Reviews

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