Spell Check by Ariella Moon
Publisher: Astraea Press
Genre: Contemporary, Paranormal
Length: Full Length (165 pages)
Heat Level: Sweet
Age Recommendation: 12+
Rating: 5 stars
Reviewed by Lotus
Ever since Evie’s photojournalist dad died, paralyzing fear prevents her from picking up a camera. If Evie can’t pull it together, she’ll lose her position as Yearbook Photo Editor and suffer academic failure. Even worse, Evie risks losing Jordan, her secret crush. Despite a falling out, Evie never forgot Jordan. Now they are lab partners and the chemistry definitely sparks between them. But Evie’s supposed friend, Parvani, wants Jordan for herself. Parvani possesses a brimstone-hissing spell book. Soon the moon will be in the optimum phase for a binding love spell. To save Jordan, Evie must join forces with Salem, the school Goth. The clock is ticking. Can Evie get her mojo back in time to check this spell?
Wouldn’t it be great if it were possible to put a love spell on someone to make them fall for you? What if your best friend wants to put a love spell on the guy you have fallen for because she has a crush on him?
Evie O’Reilly has a big problem – her best friend Parvani Hyde-Smith wants Evie to help her cast a spell on Jordan Kent because Parvani has a huge crush on him. She's totally unaware that Evie is beginning to have feelings for Jordan. Evie actually doesn’t realize it either, until things start to go wrong and it might be too late for her to make those feelings known.
Evie is a freshman at Jefferson High. Her father, Dash O’Reilly, was a famous photographer killed in action almost two years ago. Her mother makes greeting cards to pay the bills. Evie takes after her father, photographing events for the school yearbook where she's the photo editor. She's been friends with Jordan Kent since preschool. They even went to Disneyland together when they were little. Jordan is athletic, plays football, and is very smart. He's in Honors Geometry with Parvani and Zhù Wong. Something changed as Evie and Jordan grew up, ending their closeness so that they stopped hanging out together. Then, when the Smash Heads (aka Jordan’s teammates Evan and Tommy) start bothering Evie, Jordan comes to her rescue. Unfortunately, misunderstandings and a jealous friend jeopardizes their growing relationship and Jordan comes down with a mysterious illness.
The supporting characters of Parvani, Zhù, Sarah (aka Salem), and Miss Ravenwood add interesting parts to the story. Parvani casts a spell even though she's not fully aware of the inherent dangers. Zhù has a secret that Evie has to keep even though she's not privy to all of it. Miss Ravenwood has links to Evie that Evie and Parvani stumble upon, changing Evie’s view of her past. The world seems to go out of control and Evie feels helpless to right all the wrongs.
Ms. Moon tells a wonderful, entrancing story that was a bit slow getting to the action, but that was necessary to show the effects of Dash O’Reilly’s death on his daughter. She was in shock at first and took a while to get back into her own life. It was worth the wait because then we were in for a rollercoaster of emotions with all that happens to Evie and her friends. The descriptions of Evie and her friends made me laugh because their actions and speech were so similar to teenagers who I know (and love). Then the feelings that Evie had for Jordan reminded me of how first love feels, giddy and sweet.
Spell Check is a great story for the young adult or the young at heart. I enjoyed the vicarious experience of falling in love, dealing with secrets, and working out best friend issues. Evie’s father dying young does punctuate the need for Evie to live life to the fullest and go after what she wants once she wakes up from her sorrow. It’s food for thought for the rest of us as we enjoy Evie’s spell binding adventure.