I’ve read yet another awesome indie novel. I’m excited to share my thoughts with you on There’s Magic Between Us by Jillian Maria today.
I got to read an ARC for this ridiculously charming novel. The book will actually come out on July 6th so be sure to preorder this book. You won’t regret it! Anyway, let’s get to the review!
Rating: 5 Stars
A diehard city girl, 16-year-old Lydia Barnes is reluctant to spend a week in her grandma’s small town. But hidden beneath Fairbrooke’s exterior of shoddy diners and empty farms, there’s a forest that calls to her. In it, she meets Eden: blunt, focused, and fascinating. She claims to be hunting fae treasure, and while Lydia laughs it off at first, it quickly becomes obvious that Eden’s not joking—magic is real.
Lydia joins the treasure hunt, thrilled by all the things it offers her. Things like endless places in the forest to explore and a friendship with Eden that threatens to blossom into something more. But even as she throws herself into her new adventure, some questions linger. Why did her mom keep magic a secret? Why do most of the townspeople act like the forest is evil? It seems that, as much as Lydia would like to pretend otherwise, not everything in Fairbrooke is as bright and easy as a new crush…
What I Enjoyed
My overall praise is for the brilliant balance between the sapphic romance scenes and the world building. Lydia truly steps into an interesting and well-described world. Whether you’re here for the romance or for the fantasy world building, you’ll be satisfied with what Maria offers here.
I also enjoyed Lydia’s character overall. Yes, she’s a bit rough around the edges but you can’t help but root for her. When she tells off someone for being rude to her mom, she says exactly what you wish you could say to your high school bully. I love a character that already starts off confident in their upbringing and sexuality to the point where they don’t need a book to reach some semblance of confidence. Lydia comes out the gate as a vibrant and (healthily) proud person. She still has a character arc here but it doesn’t fall in the “meek to mighty” trope. Personally, I love a character who’s already figured that stuff out and they’re ready for the next challenge.
My Final Thoughts
If I had to summarize my review in a few words, it’d be “magically cute.” I’d highly recommend this book to anyone but especially teens who are looking for LGBTQTIA+ rep beyond a coming out story. The author posts some trigger warnings on their website, so be sure to check that out. I would say the stuff they point out (avoiding spoilers here) was well handled and used responsibly.
Hopefully, I shared enough to pique your curiosity. Want to get reading? If so, I highly recommend you look up Jillian Maria on social media: