Review: Like a Charm by Elle McNicholl

Like a Charm by Elle McNicoll

Like a Charm
Elle McNicholl
Random House Books for Young Readers
Published October 10, 2023

Amazon | Bookshop | Goodreads

About Like a Charm

After the death of her grandfather, neurodivergent tween Ramya uncovers a world of mystery and magic–and she’s the only one who can see it! From the award-winning author of A Kind of Spark.

“Ramya, you have something this city needs. And it’s something that’s going to change everything.”

Ramya Knox always knew she was different. Her dyspraxia makes her clumsy and prone to attracting the disapproval of her teachers. Ramya didn’t know she can see magic! But when a dog statue comes to life, Ramya follows the pup and discovers a world she thought existed only in fairy tales.

Trolls, witches, kelpies, vampires, and more lurk in the shadows of Edinburgh, hiding from the most dangerous creature of all: sirens. These beautiful monsters use their persuasive voice to convince those around them to do their bidding–for better or worse. As the sirens rise in power, it’s up to Ramya to save the day–or the Hidden and mortal worlds might both be at risk.

Like a Charm on Goodreads

My Review

For some reason, I expected this book to be a portal fantasy, and it isn’t. It’s more like the world of magic exists within the real world, and only Ramya is able to see beyond that veil into the magic around her. Sort of like Amari and the eye drops that allow her to see supernatural beings around her in AMARI AND THE NIGHT BROTHERS. Once Ramya recognizes what she’s seeing, it seems like there’s magic everywhere she goes.

It took me a few chapters to orient myself to understanding Ramya. At first, she seemed sort of chaotically willful. Like, I wasn’t sure I understood why she did what she did. As I got to know her and to understand the magical world, it made so much sense, though. I really enjoyed the moment things clicked into place.

I also really enjoyed the relationship between Ramya and her cousin. Marley is so different than Ramya, so they make a good pair. He’s also one of the first people to trust her and follow her lead. The story explores a family broken apart by estrangement and lots of unspoken history. I absolutely loved the way the family history was revealed and how it changed the way that I saw each of the family characters.

The book ends with a possible setup for a sequel, which would involve both Ramya and Marley. I hope there’s another adventure with both of them in the future, because, if so, I would definitely read it.

Like a Charm on Bookshop

Content Notes

Recommended for Ages 8 to 12.

Characters are from England and Scotland.

Profanity/Crude Language Content

Romance/Sexual Content

Spiritual Content
Some characters are magical creatures. A few characters can perform magic.

Violent Content
Situations of peril. References to murder. A battle between Ramya and an adult.

Drug Content

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About Kasey

Reads things. Writes things. Fluent in sarcasm. Willful optimist. Cat companion, chocolate connoisseur, coffee drinker. There are some who call me Mom.

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