Book: Just Like Magic
Author: Sarah Hogle
Thanks to NetGalley and Penguin Group Putnam for an ARC in exchange for my honest review.
Bettie and her entire family have lived a very extravagant lifestyle. At all times Bettie had to be the center of attention. That is not a quality I like in a person so that made Bettie a hard character for me to like at the start of the book.
Due to her lavish lifestyle, Bettie burns through all of her money and has to stay in someone else's house. In a few days, she has to spend Christmas with her family, which she is dreading. So she has too much to drink and plays “All I Want For Christmas Is You” by Mariah Carey on her record player. For some reason, she chooses to play it backwards. What happens next is wild! She conjures up the holiday spirit named Mr. Hall E. Day (a great name!). Bettie can wish for anything and Hall will grant her wish. She makes a bunch of crazy wishes and Hall grants them, so she brings Hall back home to spend Christmas with her family.
In the first half of the story I was kind of turned off by Bettie. Between her entitlement and the need to show off, I just could not see how she is a likable character. On top of that, she wanted to get revenge on people she didn’t like anymore. I was delighted when Hall put a stop to that.
The second half of the book I really loved. I loved Bettie's attitude, happiness, and the bond that she and Hall formed. I loved how the family started to enjoy spending time together and doing holiday activities. It was great to see everyone change for the better in the end.
Final Score 3/5