A magical matchmaker searches for her own true love in this magic-infused Chicago.
Amber Sand descends from a long line of witches—her family goes all the way back to Salem—but all she can do is look into someone’s eyes and see their true love. Matchmaking is a far cry from being a witch like her mother or a precog like her best friend, Amani Sharma—or a siren like Ivy Chamberlain, the villain in an underbaked bullying plotline. Also poorly developed is Amber’s relationship with her mother, summed up with her frustration that “Mom always thinks like a witch first and a mother second.” Then Charlie Blitzman, one of Amber’s classmates, asks for her help in finding his father’s missing girlfriend. As they investigate, Amber and Charlie draw closer, but Amber can’t help feeling guilty. She’s falling for Charlie—but she knows she’s not his true love. Or maybe her matchmaking isn’t sure-fire, given how Amani reacts to her predicted true love….Character development feels forced. Amber seems to act immaturely for a high school senior, and her use of sign language with Amani comes across as obtrusively quirky. Despite the use of a Swahili first name and Sanskrit surname to signal that Amani may be a person of color, there is no exploration of her identity. The conclusion clumsily sets up a sequel, one bound to blow up Amber's sweet, engaging romance with Charlie.
Somewhat enjoyable provided it’s not examined too closely. (Fantasy. 12-16)