“Leo opened her mouth to protest – closing down would mean losing a half day’s profit! – but her voice didn’t seem to be working, so all that came out was a squeak.” page 96
A Mixture of Mischief (Love Sugar Magic #3) by Anna Meriano. Walden Pond Press, HarperCollins, New York, 2020. MG fantasy, 292 pages. Lexile: not yet leveled AR Level: 5.4 (worth 8.0 points) . NOTE: This review will contain spoilers for the previous books.
A mysterious new shop is opening that copies the menu as Leo’s family bakery, her friends are all gaga over her slightly older cousin, and her estranged paternal grandfather is trying to contact her. Meanwhile Leo is desperate to prove herself as both a baker and a bruja who can stand on equal ground with her older sisters. Can she figure out her birth order magic and master recipes for sugar and magic without whipping up a bunch of new troubles? Only with a heap of love from her family and friends, of course!
I wish this had been a quartet. While I enjoyed this final installment in the Love Sugar Magic trilogy, there were a few differences. The first two books didn’t exactly center on holidays but each included a specific celebration: Dia de los Muertos and Dia de los Reyes. This one encompassed Easter, but the celebrations around it were barely touched on.
“A tiny voice in Leo’s head whispered to her to flip the book shut, to lie, to hope she had read everything all wrong. But more secrets and denial weren’t going to help anything, and tricks couldn’t get her out of this problem.” page 154
A Sprinkle of Spirits (Love Sugar Magic #2) by Anna Meriano. Walden Pond Press, HarperCollins, New York, 2019. MG fantasy, 314 pages. Lexile: 820L . AR Level: 5.2 (worth 9.0 points) . NOTE: This review will contain spoilers for the previous book.
Leo is very excited to learn more about magic, especially her special talent, but she doesn’t want to leave her friends behind. When a magical mystery occurs, of course everyone assumes Leo’s experimenting again – but if she didn’t do this, when who did?
The first book in this series takes place around Dia de los Muertos, and this second one is set around Dia de los Reyes. Both Latinx holidays that involve baking, and are important not only for Leo’s family, but also to the social lives of their small Texas town. I wonder when the next book will be set!
Dia de los Muertos is one of the most well-known Latinx holidays in the USA. White authors have done that holiday before (usually problematically such as Telgemeier’s Ghost) but most don’t step into less-pintrestable holidays. So this series is a great, visible example of why #ownvoices authors matter.
The magic system continues to be complicated compared to some other series but we get to learn a lot more about it this time, and it continues to be internally consistent, which is the first rule of good magic worldbuilding. An 11-year-old puzzling things out on her own with a book in a language she doesn’t know, compared to a young bruja apprenticing in her generational magic family, have very different levels of information access.
“Half worried from Caroline’s talk about secrets, half furious that she was being left out again, Leo felt her bad feelings swell like cake in an oven.” p 21
A Dash of Trouble (Love Sugar Magic #1) by Anna Meriano.
Walden Pond Press, HarperCollins, New York, 2018.
MG fantasy, 314 pages.
Lexile: 850L .
AR Level: 5.3 (worth 9.0 points) .
Leonora Logroño is desperate to convince her mother that she’s old enough to finally help out at her family’s bakery as they prepare for the big yearly Dia de los Muertos festival. She’s crushed to hear she’s still too young, but even more surprised to find out that the women in her family are secretly magical baking brujas. She just has to tell her best friend, and that leads to just one tiny spell…
These days I have an entire shelf devoted to diverse MG fantasy novels, and it brings me such joy to see titles and new series coming out every year. Fantasy literature was a passion I discovered in elementary school, and a big disappointment as a school librarian was not being able to find books representing every student for genre literature. Continue reading “Review: A Dash of Trouble”