Sarah Hogle | Just Like Magic

The Book: 

Just Like Magic by Sarah Hogle
Published October 4, 2022 by Putnam
Date read: October 25, 2022

The Characters: 



Buy it on | Amazon

The Plot (from Goodreads):

Bettie Hughes once knew the comfort of luxury, flaunting a ridiculous collection of designer shoes and a stealthy addiction to CBD oils. That is, until her parents snipped her purse strings. Long obsessed with her public image, Bettie boasts an extravagant lifestyle on social media. But the reality is: Bettie is broke and squatting in Colorado, and her family has no idea.

Christmas, with its pressure to meet familial expectations, is looming when a drunk Bettie plays a vinyl record of “All I Want for Christmas Is You” backwards and accidentally conjures Hall, an unexpectedly charming Holiday Spirit in the form of a man. Once the shock wears off, Bettie knows she’s stumbled upon the greatest gift: a chance to make all her holiday wishes come true, plus a ready-made fiancé.

But as the wiles of magic lose their charm, Bettie finds herself set off-kilter by Hall’s sweet gestures. Suddenly, Bettie is finding her heart merry and light. But the happier she gets, the shorter Hall’s time on earth grows. Can Bettie channel the Christmas spirit and learn to live with goodwill toward all men? Or will her selfish ways come back as soon as the holidays are over?

From the author of Twice Shy comes a sprightly Christmas novel, a rollicking romp through the absurdity of family holidays and the hope of new love.

The Review: 

Putnam never fails to deliver adorable Christmas books! Thank you for this gifted copy.

This was my first book by Sarah Hogle, and I have to say, I’m hooked. A magical realism holiday novel was just what I needed at the time! It was fun to suspend all belief and let the story take me where it wanted to.

Just Like Magic was so fun and unique. Bettie is an over-the-top sad sack, but when she happens to play a magical record backward, she conjures Hall, the holiday spirit, to make her happy and grant all her wishes. Of course, self-centered Bettie requests all sorts of ridiculous things, but Hall’s imperfect magic comically warps some of her wishes. As Bettie grows, though, she begins to regret some of her early wishes and to see Hall for his true magic.

I loved the ridiculous dinner-table conversations with Bettie’s family–navigating tricky family dynamics is such a classic holiday romance trope, and Hall’s character made these scenes even funnier.

Hall was so easy to love, and Bettie quickly grew on me too. I really felt for these characters as they tried not to fall in love–because the more happy Hall made Bettie, the more quickly he’d disappear. The forbidden love element was interesting and heartbreaking.

Even if you find the synopsis bizarre, I encourage you to give this book a read this holiday season. I really loved it!

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