18 October 2014

Review: Spell Check - Julie Wright

I am totally gearing up for Halloween now and so I started off with a nice witchy YA story.

Ally finds out that she had powers on Halloween, when she accidentally curses most of the cheerleading squad after a vicious prank was played on her. Unfortunately, Ally can't stop wishing, and she can't stop the way that her wishes turn out which, usually, is badly. When her Swedish Grandma turns up on the doorstep, Ally realises there is something else she should be worrying about.. her impending trials that will secure her powers... or kill her.

This story is really good. It has everything you could possibly want in a piece of YA fiction. Issues to do with your family, ranging from fighting parents to mad Grandmas and annoying little brothers, bullying, school, strange and interesting magical abilities and even a bit of romance sprinkled in. May I say though, that I loved the fact that this romance was actually pretty cool because it flowed into the story well and wasn't a sickening kind of puppy love. I liked the morals about believing in yourself and standing up to others, whether that may be bullies, trolls or witches.

Ally is a strong, powerful heroine and saves the day by standing up for her beliefs and not letting others rule her decisions. She is clever and does what she believes to be the right thing, even if she messes it up sometimes. She has a very good character arc as she gradually finds out that she is a witch and learns about her powers and how they work. She does grow up in this book and realises that sometimes parents aren't meant to be together. She learns not ot be selfish and to accept the human nature of others, even if she can't stand them.

The world building is really good. I loved the way that things that happened in the past were brought into the book by with magic to make an image in your head, rather than the character simply being told the events. It makes it much more memorable and gave the ideas more meaning. I also liked the trials and the descriptions of their home. I'd have liked to know a bit more about how the magic works and what exactly it feels like to control it as it was a little bit vague on the details.

For a short book, there is a lot packed in and to be honest it was a little bit too short for me. I'd have also liked a bit more difficulty in setting things right or perhaps a couple more challenging predicaments for Ally before the book ended. There will definitely be more books and I will be looking out for them so I know what happens with Ally and her new powers.