Welcome back to Reading, Reading, Reading!
The ARC of “Love & Other Curses” by Michael Thomas Ford has been sitting on my shelf for over four months! I was really highly anticipating this one, and featured it last month in my Spring 5-Star Predictions post! But, did it live up to my high hopes?
The Weyward family has been haunted by a curse for generations—if a Weyward falls in love before their seventeenth birthday, the person they love dies. Sam doesn’t plan to fall for anyone in the nine weeks before his birthday. He’ll spend his time working at the Eezy-Freeze with his dad; cooking up some midsummer magic with his grandmother, great-grandmother, and great-great-grandmother (the Grands); and experimenting with drag with the help of the queens at the Shangri-La, the local gay club. But when a new guy comes to town, Sam finds himself in trouble when they strike up a friendship that might be way more than that.
As Sam’s birthday approaches and he still hasn’t quite fallen in love, the curse seems to get more powerful and less specific about who it targets. A mysterious girl Sam talks to on the phone late at night and a woman he’s only seen in a dream might have the answers he’s been looking for—but time is running out to save the people he cares about.
This was a very solid contemporary read! Was it 5-star worthy, however? Definitely not.
My favourite thing about this book was the characters. Similar to a few other books I have read recently, there was a lot of great representation of characters in this novel. The main protagonist in this book, Sam, is gay, and another main character is transgender. I also loved the family dynamic in this story, as Sam frequently spoke to the “grands” his grandmother, great-grandmother, and great-great grandmother! Since this story centres around a family curse, the focus on his family members is essential to the story, and I thought that it added very positively to the story!
I really appreciated that although this is a YA contemporary with magical-realism, it wasn’t exactly a love story, but was more of a “growing-up/finding yourself” story. There is barely any romance or relationship elements in this story, as Sam is truly just a teenager that is trying to navigate through the summer before his senior year without falling in love.
This book focuses heavily on music, as Sam’s mother, who left after just a few days of his birth, gave him a box of records with notes about her feelings towards the albums. Sam spends a lot of the time listening to these records and trying to understand more about his mother. While these parts were not essential to the flow of the plot, I actually really enjoyed reading them.
The only main downfall I had in this book was the lack of attachment/connection I felt to the story and characters. I didn’t really care about the conclusions of the characters stories, and nothing in this book surprised me. In my opinion, it was a very bland YA contemporary. If you are just diving into this genre and also enjoy magical realism elements, I would definitely that recommend it to you!
For the most part, I enjoyed the novel and gave it 3/5 stars. Thanks to HCC Frenzy for the ARC!
Good Night Book Owls!