Just Like Magic by Sarah Hogle is just, in fact, magical. I’ll be honest, it was a little slow to start, but by the time I was halfway through I was completely enamored by the main characters and felt all the Christmas feels.
Just Like Magic follows Bettie Hughes, a famous influencer whose popularity has been plummeting for a while along with her bank account. After a string of bad luck, Bettie is left squatting in an apartment and refuses to let the world and her family know the truth and pretends everything is going great on social media. Bettie’s grandmother, Bettie Watson, is a famous movie star and she spent much of her childhood being compared to her glamorous grandmother and called “Little Bettie”. Her siblings are all wealthy and fabulous in their own right so Bettie avoids her family as much as possible so that no one will learn that she’s broke and floundering.
It’s Christmas time and she has no Christmas spirit. When she spills wine on her record player while Mariah Carey’s “All I Want for Christmas Is You” is playing, the song starts playing backwards. Apparently when the current #1 song on the Billboard Top 100 plays during the holidays, you conjure up the holiday spirit. Hall, the holiday spirit, comes and vows to restore Bettie’s holiday spirit.
At first, everything Bettie asks of Hall is ridiculous, over the top, self-serving, etc., but as she gets closer to Hall and Hall helps Bettie reconnect with her family during the week spent at her grandparents’, Bettie’s holiday spirit starts to get stronger and stronger. As do her and Hall’s feelings for each other. The problem with becoming happy? The stronger Bettie’s holiday spirit gets, the quicker Hall’s job will be complete and he will be gone forever.
This novel is true magic and made me all tingly with Christmas magic and love! Like I mentioned earlier, it was a bit of a slow start, but then I just loved Bettie and Hall. Their friendship turned romance was so pure and I really enjoyed it. Normally, I’m not the biggest fan of magical realism, but I really liked it here. The book was crazy in the best way and funny too. It was full of pop culture references that I really enjoyed!
And to make it even better, there was a tiny reference to You Deserve Each Other (also by Sarah Hogle), and I love that book so much.
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