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Love Sugar Magic: A Dash of Trouble

Review

Love Sugar Magic: A Dash of Trouble

Written by Anna Meriano with illustrations by Mirelle Ortega

A DASH OF TROUBLE is the first book in debut author Anna Meriano’s new series, LOVE SUGAR MAGIC. Set in Rose Hill, Texas, this novel follows young Leonora Logrono, whose family owns the best bakery in town. For years, her mother, aunt and sisters have all helped to prepare for the annual Dia de los Muertos festival by baking up tons of tasty breads, cookies and cakes. This year, Leonora is determined to help.

When Leo is told that she is still too young to skip school and help out, she is even more determined to see what all of the fuss is about. But when she skips the school parade to sneak back to the bakery, she learns that her relatives have been sneaking an extra ingredient into their baked goods: magic. After some more sneaking --- and a little help from her sisters --- Leo realizes that she has the gift too.

"A perfect new series for girls who love princess stories....Anna Meriano is a striking new talent, and I cannot wait to see where she takes the series next."

Meanwhile, at school, Leo is delighted that her best friend, Caroline, has finally come back from losing her mother. However, she cannot help but notice that Caroline could use some cheering up. When Caroline comes dangerously close to admitting that she has a crush on her neighbor, Leo knows that she can finally put her magic to use!

Unfortunately, there is a reason that training to be a bruja begins when you are 15, and Leo’s good intentions to help her best friend get out of hand fast. To save the day, she will not only need to think on her feet, but call in some additional help from her sisters as well --- and maybe her Mama.

It should go without saying that A DASH OF TROUBLE is wonderfully diverse, but what makes it truly special is the way that the diversity is handled. Leo and her family are Mexican-American, and they live in a bilingual household where quesadillas are just as popular as French fries and sparkly nail polish and colored hair are as normal as sugar skull makeup on Dia de los Muertos. The sprinklings of Spanish words in the text are easy to work through regardless of your comfort with the language, and Leo’s own struggles with Spanish will immediately endear her to any reader.

Perhaps my favorite part of A DASH OF TROUBLE, however, is Leo’s relationship with her sisters.  Being older, her sisters have all already been initiated into their powers and being brujas. Instead of lording this over Leo, they all feel guilty that she is now the only one left out and all try to help her when she discovers the truth. This is not to say that the sisters are unbelievably perfect, but I found the strongly family bonds presented in this book really heartwarming without being overwrought or cheesy.

LOVE SUGAR MAGIC is a perfect new series for girls who love princess stories, but are looking for a little more depth. Anna Meriano is a striking new talent, and I cannot wait to see where she takes the series next.

Reviewed by Audrey Slater on January 30, 2018

Love Sugar Magic: A Dash of Trouble
(Love Sugar Magic #1)
Written by Anna Meriano with illustrations by Mirelle Ortega