Quick Picks for Reluctant Readers (#QP2023) Featured Review of A Girl’s Guide to Love & Magic by Debbie Rigaud

A Girl’s Guide to Love & Magic
by Debbie Rigaud
Publisher: Scholastic, Inc.
Imprint: Scholastic Press
Release date: August 2, 2022
ISBN: 9781338681741

Cicely’s favorite day of the year is the West Indian Day Parade, which also happens to fall on her fifteenth birthday. Even better, her Hatian Vodou practicing aunt turned social media influencer has invited her and her best friend, Renee, to her podcast interview with mega-star Papash! But everything goes haywire when one of her aunt’s clients performs a ritual that causes her aunt to be possessed by a mischievous, beauty-loving spirit. Cicely, Renee, and Cicely’s crush, Kwame, are in a race around Brooklyn to locate the items they need to exorcise the spirit while avoiding Cicely’s parents, Kwame’s rowdy friends, and the angry client–all before the podcast taping! 

A Girl’s Guide to Love & Magic is a joyful, fast-paced adventure about friendship, first love, and finding yourself, all set against the colorful backdrop of the West Indian Day Parade. It’s also a love song to Caribbean cultures and peoples. The characters are likeable and the sections that discuss Hatian Vodou are explained in ways that are easy for teen readers to understand. The cover is colorful and attractive, and does a good job of conveying the mood of the book. 

Teens who enjoy magical adventures, sweet romances, and happy endings are sure to appreciate this book.  Teens seeking the sense of romance and place will also enjoy The Sun is Also a Star by Nicola Yoon and Blackout edited by Dhonielle Clayton

— Julianne Novetsky

Other Nominated Titles

  • Rain Rising by Courtne Comrie (September 27, 2022)
  • Kneel by Candace Buford (September 14, 2021)
  • Break This House by Candice Iloh (May 24, 2022)
  • Burn Down, Rise Up by Vincent Tirado (May 3, 2022)

The Selected Lists teams read throughout the year in search of the best titles published in their respective categories. Once a book is suggested (either internally or through the title suggestion form), it must pass through a review process to be designated an official nomination.

Each week, the teams feature a review of one of the officially nominated titles. Additional titles to receive this designation are listed as well. At year’s end, the team will curate a final list from all nominated titles and select a Top Ten.

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Quick Picks for Reluctant Readers Blogging Team @ YALSA's The Hub.