Bras & Broomsticks by Sarah Mylnowski
Life isn’t fair. Especially, Rachel Weinstein’s life. Not only is she not part of the popular crowd, but for fourteen years old she’s rather “undeveloped.” And as if that wasn’t bad enough, Rachel has just found out that, not only is her mother a witch (literally!) but her younger sister Miri is also one. Yup, that’s right…the witch craft gene passed Rachel, the older of the two girls, right up.
And the more familiar both Rachel and Miri become with Miri’s new found witch-y abilities, Rachel realizes that this is all going to be wasted on Miri, who wants to wait until she’s fully trained before pulling any rabbits out of hats.
But after some persuasion, Rachel finally convinces Miri to test the waters and cast a spell. Even though Miri refuses to cast a popularity or a love spell, explaining they are far too complicated for her to even consider trying, Rachel figures out another way Miri’s magic can help her become more popular, and help her land the guy of her dreams – a dancing spell. If Miri will just cast a spell to make Rachel a better dancer, than all of, well most of, Rachel’s problems will be gone.
Or will they?
Bras & Broomsticks, written by popular YA author Sarah Mlynowski, is the first book in the author’s Magic in Manhattan series.
Mlynowski’s writing is simple yet engaging, often writing as young teen girls would think and speak. Because of her catchy, and often witty writing style, the writing is the real superstar. Mlynowski doesn’t rely on fancy words and run on sentences. Instead she relies on comedic situations, quick and snappy dialog, and real life drama that any and every teen girl can relate to.
In terms of characters, Mlynowski’s characters are well crafted and well developed. But even though there were well crafted characters, not all of them were likable. As a reader, I found that I loved Miri, the younger sister. She’s smart, self reliant, and has a big heart. I rooted for her the whole way through.
However, main character Rachel, I found to be too self-centered and over dramatic to really like or even care about. It’s not that she’s not a likable character, it’s fact that she’s so flawed, it’s hard to see beyond them. But Rachel is young, and obviously has a lot of growing up to do. I suspect that she will grow as the series does.
What I enjoyed most about Mlynowski’s Bras & Broomsticks was these two aspects: the witch/witchcraft aspect and the Manhattan setting. I loved that the witch/witchcraft aspect wasn’t hokey. From reading, it came off as believable and realistic. As for the setting, I loved it from the start. Manhattan is such a lively, colorful city, perfect for witch-y mayhem.
For what Bras & Broomsticks was, for me, it was simply an okay read. I like the plot, even liked how it was executed. However, I really didn’t like Rachel, and not liking the main character presents a real issue for me as a reader. Even though I’m curious to find out more about what happens next, I’m not one hundred percent certain I will continue on with the series.