The books read quickly, I believe I read the two together in a little over a day. Though they read fast, they didn’t seem overly simply, so that’s fantastic. The story engaged me and I was grateful I already had the second book queued up to roll right in to reading.
There’s a charm in a simple story, and this is about as simple as you get. Girl meets boy. Girl likes boy. There are issues with liking said boy. What made it even better is the absolute fun thrown in with some hefty moral lessons at the same time.
I loved that Alexander gave ramifications to performing certain tasks. The ramifications get increasingly dire depending on the severity of one’s transgression. She chose to focus on selfishness.
Let’s face it, we’re all a little selfish and teenagers are a whole lot of selfish. Often, they don’t mean to be, just they are like the rest of us – wrapped up in their own little world.
Small selfish potion? Maybe I want that vanity five pounds gone. I lose the five pounds but I end up with Acne Explosion for a week. Ok, so acne explosion is annoying but not crazy levels of detrimental to life.
Giant orange and blue wart on the end of my nose for who knows how long? Well, that would make me probably lose whatever mental stability I had left.
So glad I’m not a witch in this universe.
What I loved even more than the lesson in selfishness is Alexander’s offering a chance for penance. If you perform selfless acts of charity, you can mitigate the ill-effects of your selfishness. Zoe’s mom chose to volunteer in the NICU with preemie babies after a particular slimming spell.
Alexander showed a level of amusement with her own rule in the second book, causing Zoe to need to go to a hospital to volunteer with severely affected witches with some of these most creative punishments a person could conjure out of their imagination.
No I’m not going to spoil that for you. Read the books.
You see more of Alexander’s humor when she creates havoc during a Halloween party. According to her magic system, this is a dicey time for most witches. Things tend to go a little insane so generally speaking, Halloween is a time for witches to hide out in solitude. Too bad Daddy’s girlfriend wants to throw a massive shindig and Zoe can’t get out of it. Biblical plague of frogs has nothing on what happens next.
Though the book teases you with quirky hijinks, there’s more than the lesson on selfishness hidden within the pages. Zoe’s passion is potions, and you watch as she works on her potions in a methodical and scientific manner. With a heavy science base, the reader gets minor lessons in chemistry and the basic scientific method. Through hard work, determination, much experimentation with mixed results, you see Zoe progress as a young scientist as much as a young witch.
I found the book relatable, though I’m certainly not a potion maven or a teen witch. I like anything that promotes good educational values and a strong work ethic. I definitely enjoy a good lesson on selfishness and selflessness. Most of all, I like that all these things wove together in a way that left me laughing out loud.
Given the chance, I’d check out more of Juli Alexander’s books, and i hope to maybe return to Zoe’s little world.