THE FASCINATORS by Andrew Eliopulos is one of those rare stories that perfectly blends the elements of a contemporary YA romance with fantasy. In this world, everyone is born with magic, but not everyone is good at it. It’s sort of like playing a musical instrument in our world. Some people like it and some people hate it, but it’s not seen as out of the ordinary.
The main character is Sam, a gay teen who lives in rural Georgia. His two best friends are James and Delia, and the three of them make up the magic club at their high school. They call their team The Fascinators and they train together for the regional magic competition that takes place in the fall. However, various things that happened over the summer have made their friend group fragile. They aren’t as honest with each other, and Sam could feel the thread of their friend group getting thinner and thinner.
When a new boy, Denver, moves into town and joins their magic club, it only makes things more complicated. Sam sort of has a crush on James, and now he’s developing feelings for Denver. It’s really hard when James is barely talking to him and he can’t tell if Denver’s kindness means he’s flirting or not. It’s even harder when the gang gets caught up with a magical cult.
This book is perfect for fans of light fantasies such as THE RAVEN BOYS series and contemporary romances such as SIMON VS. THE HOMOSAPIENS AGENDA. The writing is really simple, but still feels magical. It definitely skews a bit younger, so it can be enjoyed by a middle grade audience, as well as the YA audience it is aimed at. For those looking for a cute romance or fantasy story featuring an LGBTQ+ protagonist, this is definitely a great choice.
CRITICS HAVE SAID
- “A magical exploration of queer and religious themes.” ―Kirkus
- “Fans of what might be called magic-magical realism will find this a compelling read.”―Booklist
- “Part paranormal thriller, part introspective character study, this title challenges readers to accept themselves, build empathy, and stand strong in the power of personal beliefs. An #OwnVoices title for fans of Becky Albertalli.”―School Library Journal,
IF YOU LOVE THIS BOOK, THEN TRY:
- The Raven Boys by Maggie Stiefvater, 2012
- Girls of Paper and Fire by Natasha Ngan, 2018
- Simon Vs. The Homo Sapien’s Agenda by Becky Albertalli, 2015