How to succeed in witchcraft

Aislinn Brophy

Book - 2022

Half-Black witch Shay Johnson is cast as the lead in her school musical and must decide between exposing her predatory drama teacher and getting the scholarship she desperately needs.

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Location Call Number   Status
Young Adult Area YOUNG ADULT FICTION/Brophy Aislinn Checked In
Fantasy fiction
Lesbian fiction
New York : G. P. Putnam's Sons [2022]
Physical Description
406 pages ; 23 cm
Ages 12 & up.
Main Author
Aislinn Brophy (author)
Review by Booklist Review

Brophy's engaging debut looks at the unintended consequences of academic competition. Shay Johnson has spent her academic career knowing that she has to be better than everyone else, and she has her sights set on a scholarship that would ease the financial pressure on her parents. When a popular teacher convinces Shay that he can help her land the illustrious scholarship by being in the school musical, Shay must decide if she's willing to use her voice to stop a predator. Brophy's narrative will resonate with readers as she tells the story of a girl feeling the pressure to succeed, and the burgeoning queer romance will warm their hearts. Though the magic in her expertly created fantasy world is supposed to make everyone equal and to make the "American Dream" more accessible, epigraphs reveal that there are still inequities that continue to marginalize people. In addition to the creative use of magic, the novel succeeds even beyond its fantasy components. Brophy's engrossing writing is a welcome addition to the fantasy genre.

From Booklist, Copyright (c) American Library Association. Used with permission. Review by Publisher's Weekly Review

T.K. Anderson Magical Magnet School junior Shayna Johnson, a biracial (Black and white) lesbian witch with working-class parents, will stop at nothing to win her Florida school's Brockton Scholarship, which is only awarded to one student per year. The scholarship is essential to helping fund her way into a good magical licensing university, an invaluable step toward getting a well-paying job and setting her parents up for an easier life. The only thing standing in her way is beautiful, academically gifted Cuban witch Ana Álvarez, Shay's rival since freshman year. When popular drama teacher and scholarship committee head Mr. B pressures Shay to join the high school musical to improve her chances at beating Ana, she feels compelled to agree. But Shay's preconceived notions about the lengths she's willing to go to in order to succeed at witchcraft are tested when Ana plays the show's lead opposite Shay and Mr. B makes increasingly inappropriate advances. Brophy's rapidly paced debut grounds its magical backdrop by exploring themes of capitalism, grooming, privilege, and racism, and Shay and Ana's enemies-to-lovers romance offers a sweet reprieve from Mr. B's ominous intentions. Ages 12--up. Agent: Gemma Cooper, Bent Agency. (Sept.)

(c) Copyright PWxyz, LLC. All rights reserved Review by School Library Journal Review

Gr 7 Up--Shay Johnson, a senior at T.K. Anderson Magical Magnet School, is laser focused on becoming a Brockton Scholar to earn a free ride to the college of her choice. She focuses on honing her magic skills and keeping her grades up in classes like AP Potions; however, she must keep in mind that Mr. B is the head of the scholarship committee as well as the school play, Bronxtown Brooms. What starts out as a witty and campy novel set in Boca Raton, slowly shifts to more serious issues, such as racism and unwanted attention from an adult who seems to hold all of the cards. When Shay gets the lead in the school play, she must decide what she should do to protect her friend and thwart the intentions of Mr. B. The novel is well written with well-developed characters, and teens will relate to the problems Shay faces. The magic involved heightens the interest level as it is used in a creative way to add an intriguing layer. Characters are described as Cuban with headwraps, biracial, Black, white, and Filipino. The main character is queer. VERDICT Recommended. Fans of Sabrina the Teen Witch will enjoy this novel and it's a good LGBTQIA+ addition to any collection.--Karen Alexander

(c) Copyright Library Journals LLC, a wholly owned subsidiary of Media Source, Inc. No redistribution permitted. Review by Kirkus Book Review

Determined to win a scholarship, a teenage witch auditions for the school musical. At T.K. Anderson Magical Magnet School, one junior is awarded the annual Brockton Scholarship, granting them a full ride to the university of their choice. Talented biracial (Black and assumed White) Shayna Johnson, who has an impressive resume, is one of this year's contenders, but she'll have to beat fellow overachiever and sworn enemy, Cuban American Ana Álvarez. When drama teacher and scholarship committee head Mr. B (short for Brockton, of the wealthy family whose foundation funds the scholarship) encourages her to audition for Bronxtown Brooms--a Jane Austen--inspired musical with a predominantly Latine cast--Shay is confident the scholarship will be hers. Unfortunately, being in the play means spending time with Ana, who is cast as the other female lead. But through rehearsals, Shay starts to see Ana in a new light: Not only is Ana an amazing dancer, she's also attractive--an unexpected realization that may lead Shay to stray from her goals. The lightly magical world with two queer leads that debut author Brophy creates closely mirrors ours, from social issues regarding race and gender to the dilemmas teenagers face in planning their futures. Shay is so focused on pleasing Mr. B that she nearly fails to recognize his unwanted advances as wrong; this subject is explored in the narrative. Many readers will also appreciate the humor woven throughout. #MeToo with a magical twist. (Fantasy. 12-18) Copyright (c) Kirkus Reviews, used with permission.

Copyright (c) Kirkus Reviews, used with permission.