The Charmed List by Julie Abe

The Charmed List is a fun magic-infused romcom that involves once-friends-now-enemies Ellie and Jack on a road trip to a magic convention in LA. Ellie was set to do this coastal California road trip with her best friend Lia, and work on her Anti-Wallflower list, such as riding rollercoasters, crashing weddings, and falling in love. Instead, she’s stuck with her former best friend Jack. He’s on her list: “Revenge on Jack Yasuda). That doesn’t exactly bode well for a long road trip.

The magical society they live in is kept hidden from the world and it was an interesting way to bring in magic – it’s infused into all kinds of things, even drinks and food. Like a Vietnamese coffee shop dusts their drinks and desserts with a magical powder for strength, either physical or emotional, depending on what’s needed. A stationery store sells bullet journals that are imbued with spells for fame and power.

Their charms are powered by raw magic dust that has to be collected. It comes out of raw emotions, and can be seen and collected by magicals when they wear charmed, rose-tinted spectacles. The magical charms they cast are small, such as a cleaning charm or a fix-it elixir.

I loved that this book is set around Northern California. It was fun to follow the characters as they visited places I’ve been to, like indie bookstore Books Inc in Palo Alto and Shuei-Do Manju Shop (which makes so many delicious flavours of mochi) in San Jose’s Japantown.

The Charmed List is a sweet and cute romance with a hint of magic. It was a nice summer read, great to enjoy with some popcorn, although I wouldn’t have minded some magic sprinkled onto my snacks.