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The Fascinators

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A magic-infused YA novel about friendship, first love, and feeling out of place that will bewitch fans of Rainbow Rowell and Maggie Stiefvater.

Living in a small town where magic is frowned upon, Sam needs his friends James and Delia—and their time together in their school's magic club—to see him through to graduation.

But as soon as senior year starts, little cracks in their group begin to show. Sam may or may not be in love with James. Delia is growing more frustrated with their amateur magic club. And James reveals that he got mixed up with some sketchy magickers over the summer, putting a target on all their backs.

With so many fault lines threatening to derail his hopes for the year, Sam is forced to face the fact that the very love of magic that brought his group together is now tearing them apart—and there are some problems that no amount of magic can fix.

320 pages, Hardcover

First published May 12, 2020

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Andrew Eliopulos

2 books202 followers

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5 stars
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3 stars
1,704 (38%)
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163 (3%)
Displaying 1 - 30 of 982 reviews
Profile Image for Virginia Ronan ♥ Herondale ♥.
515 reviews34.4k followers
Want to read
September 27, 2019
How am I supposed to keep my fingers away from this when they have the audacity to mention "The Raven Boys" and "Simon vs." in one sentence?!?

The answer is: I'm not supposed to! *lol*

This book goes straight to my TBR and I really hope that it will be able to keep its promise!
This sounds exactly like a book I'd love to read and I'm so here for it!

"Give it to me baby.... " *sings and walks away*
Profile Image for Hamad.
972 reviews1,283 followers
May 15, 2020
This Review ✍️ Blog 📖 Twitter 🐦 Instagram 📷

“If you believe it, you can achieve it,” Denver said, ridiculously. “That’s like the number-one rule of magic.”

★ Every year there is a YA LGBT book that many readers anticipate and this year it is going to be this one! I was excited when I was approved for an E-ARC of this in exchange of an honest review. I had high expectations for this one (I mean look at the fascinating cover!!!) because it is pitched as The Raven Boys meets Simon vs. the Homo Sapiens Agenda and I think that is not very accurate. I know some readers will be disappointed or will have lukewarm feelings for this book and this review is for you!

★ Let me start with the writing which was good. I did not think it was lyrical or very special but it flowed easily. I am not going to talk much about the writing because there is not much to say! Let’s jump to the important parts.

★ The characters were not very memorable, I am pretty sure I will have forgotten them by the time the book is released. The characters in my opinion also did not bring anything new to the YA world. I believe that they were characters I already read before with the same cliches and tropes that are always used and that was my first disappointment.

“Sometimes, Sam, we fight with people because we care about them too much to give up on them.”

★ The world-building was also vague in my opinion, there was some magic but I can’t understand what are the limitations and rules. The system was not explained very well, comparing it to the HP series (Just because it is the most known wizard series) I knew it had more potential but it never reached it! That was my second disappointment.

★ The third disappointment was the plot because it was slow at first and very rushed at the end. When I had few pages left, I started questioning if it was a series and if I missed this info by mistake. But I did not miss anything, it is a standalone and it is rushed! What really happened is that I read the ending and flipped the page to see the next page only to realize the story has ended. We have the same tropes in every LGBT book which are daddy issues, fights and misunderstandings (And the characters insist on not talking to solve the most basic of stuff) and other tropes. I guess it reads more like a contemporary with fantasy elements or maybe I am just saying that because I am used to more complicated and well-established magic systems and complicated fantasy books!

‘You don’t judge your friends by what they do one time’? I guess that only applies to boys you think are cute.”

★ Summary: I had high hopes for this book and they were unfortunately not met. The writing is good but the characters, plot, and world-building were all average. I guess it will still be a successful book and I will be happy if it is!

ARC provided by the publisher through Edelweiss in exchange of an honest review

You can get more books from Book Depository
Profile Image for Cassie.
326 reviews63 followers
January 19, 2020


update 1/4/2020:
the ONLY good thing to come out of today, is Edelweiss approving me for an e-ARC of this ksnvjdnfvjdfdf

thank you, edelweiss, you are my true savior today!!!


Initial Thoughts:
This very much reminded me of The Raven Boys, but it still is its own thing. The ending was cute, but I’m convinced there will be a sequel. Too many questions that didn’t get answered in this book.


Actual Review:
I'm actually giving this a 3.5 star rating. Which, for the record, is not a bad rating. I still very much enjoyed this book and absolutely adored the friendships. I fell in love with the writing, it was addicting to read and I could easily get lost in this story because of the delectable writing.

While the plot was intriguing, I feel as if it was underwhelming. The ending was a bit anticlimactic in my opinion. Here I was waiting for the big battle scene, and maybe I just hyped it up in my head too much, but the way Andrew wrote about this group of people who have access to some pretty dark magic because of this book they possess, when it came time for them to face off with Sam and his friends, I just thought, idk, that maybe it would have bigger consequences than it did. And don't get me wrong, the consequences were pretty big for what happened, I guess I expected something more out of it. It doesn't help that by the time I got to the 70% mark things still hadn't happened. There were little things still happening that were still leading up to the big thing. I was just a little underwhelmed with the ending. It was cute and while, yes, part of me thinks (hopes) there's going to be a sequel, I also feel as if this could be a standalone. I still have a lot of questions (I can't list them here because of spoilers) that I feel as if a sequel would help with answering them, but maybe I'm being greedy and just want more from this world and these characters.

I also feel like, with the world the author has created, he could do so much with it. Especially with the way he left things at the end. The magic is pretty cool and I feel as if our main characters haven't even begun to scratch the surface with what they're capable of. I also appreciated the fact that everyone in this world is capable of some sort of magic, and no one has to hide the fact that magic exists. It was nice to read a story set in a world where everyone knows the existence of magic.

So, after all of this, I am still very glad that I got to experience this story and go on this journey with Sam and his friends. While I selfishly hope that there's going to be more to this world and that I'll be able to reunite with Sam & Co., if this happens to just be a standalone, then I'm okay with that, too. Andrew is very talented with his writing and storytelling, so I'll for sure pick up anything else he writes in the future!

Thank you very much to Edelweiss for providing me with a digital ARC in exchange for an honest review!

The Fascinators is set to release May 2020
Profile Image for Iris.
543 reviews252 followers
Want to read
April 25, 2019
I heard gay and I was here for it, and then I heard dark magic and now I'm even more here for it.
Profile Image for Nataliya.
713 reviews11.3k followers
July 31, 2021
In the world of crazy quarantines sometimes I want something sweet and nice — so I guess this book was supposed to be my relaxed version of Quarantine Brain indulgence. I suspected that I’m too old and cynical and jaded for it but I persevered hoping to get some much-needed warm fuzzies out of it.

And no, it’s definitely not bad. It’s perfectly okay and serviceable. It’s sweet and often funny and quite cute — but that is also its downfall. Because sometimes you need to have some teeth and bite just a bit.

This is the world where everyone has some sort of magic, and there are Magic Clubs in school the same way there are Drama Clubs or Mathletes, and TV shows featuring magicians, and questions about how magic and religion coexist. But despite that, the world seems to be really exactly the same as the one we live in — like magic has not made much of a difference besides creating a premise for the story.

I mean, look at all this adorable cuteness!
Sam is a high school senior who struggles with feeling a bit uneasy in a conservative Georgia town, being gay and a magicker. He is a member of his school Magic Club - three-people strong and called the Fascinators. The other two members are Sam’s best friends: Delia, who is ambitious and smart and non-nonsense, and James, who is talented but reckless and a budding alcoholic at seventeen, and who Sam has had a crush on for as long as he can remember, and who may even kinda like Sam back just a bit, despite what appears to be more than friendship with a new club member Amber. And there is a new kid Denver who seems to like Sam quite a lot. Feelings galore.
“Sam, he went to a party hoping to do drugs with a bunch of strangers and ended up robbing them. How many more red flags can I fit into one sentence?”
Then James stupidly steals a magical artifact from a local evil magical cult, and everyone is in danger. And there’s a state magical convention coming up. For some, the allure of magical power proves hard to resist. And more than anything, there are confused romantic feelings and misunderstandings, and new friendships and relationships are formed, and old friendships are strained and tested, and then it all ends in a bit of unsatisfying way that seems to be primed for a sequel.
“I guess this is the problem, right, when your friendships are based around what you do instead of who you are? Or maybe it’s the problem of being friends with anybody for as long as I’ve been friends with Delia and James.”
“What’s the problem?”
“You’re not allowed to change.”
In its cute sweetness the book reads quite young, perhaps more middle-grade level. The characters motivations are easily visible early on, the twists are amply foreshadowed, and everyone acts very young for people a year or two from legal adulthood. Evil stuff is off-page, evil cult seems more annoying than menacing, and never ever is there a sense of real danger for any of the characters.

In short, everything is sweet and cute and everyone is adorable — but a bit underwhelming and not too memorable and, honestly, quite bland. It’s good at feelings and friendship and adolescent confusion. But the premise begs for more, perhaps with a bit more bite and punch to it.

That said, I’m sure many will love it, and many will appreciate it precisely for what it is — a pleasant easy read that makes you feel warm and cozy.

I’m just too grumpy for it.

Rounding up to 3 stars.
Profile Image for tappkalina.
627 reviews382 followers
February 23, 2021
19 October 2020

What a disappointment.

It still has my favorite cover ever, but the story was a mess and the endgame romance was out of nowhere and really underdeveloped. Could have used a couple more rounds of edit.

Also, why did I think this will be a best friends to lovers?

11 August 2020

It turned out to be the total opposite of what I thought this book will be, and wanted it to be. Right now I don't even know how to feel about it.

19 October 2019

Simon vs. (my all time favorite book) meets The Raven Cycle (Ronan Lynch is everything)?
It must me good, because the only time I was this excited for a book was before the release of Red, White & Royal Blue, and that is my 2nd all time favourite book now!
Also, look at that cover! It's so beautiful I'm literally tearing up!

May 12th is an eternity away, I can't wait that long. I mean I don't have a choice, but it will be sooo hard. I already set the cover as a wallpaper on my phone.
Profile Image for Larry H.
2,440 reviews29.4k followers
December 8, 2020
The Fascinators is a poignant story about being true to yourself, secrets, the often-confusing line between friendship and love, and magic.

Maybe we’re all under someone else’s spell.

Sam, James, and Delia are best friends, and the three members of their high school’s magic club. Each of them has some magical skill, and in their small, conservative Georgia town they’re looked at as freaks, especially Sam, who is openly gay on top of it all.

As they enter their senior year, things among the friends are starting to fray. Sam’s feelings for James have intensified and while he doesn’t think James feels the same way, he’s afraid to say anything for fear of messing everything up. They have plans to be roommates at UGA next year—Sam can't imagine going to college without James.

Meanwhile, James is spending more time with a girl from his church, and he’s been acting erratically to compensate for his abusive father’s behavior. Delia wants to attend an exclusive magic college, and she’ll stop at nothing to get in, even if it means abandoning her friends for more serious magickers.

When a group of dangerous magickers eyes the Fascinators to avenge something James did over the summer, the group falls further into disarray. And when a handsome new member joins the club, it complicates things even further for Sam.

At times this felt like two separate stories—one about friendship and one about magic—but other times the two storylines meshed so well. Despite the magical elements, this story felt very real and relatable—lord knows I had my share of unrequited crushes on friends growing up!

The ending felt a little bit rushed for me so I hope Andrew Eliopulos has a sequel in the works. But I loved the emotions in this book so much.

Check out my list of the best books I read in 2019 at https://itseithersadnessoreuphoria.blogspot.com/2020/01/the-best-books-i-read-in-2019.html.

Check out my list of the best books of the decade at https://itseithersadnessoreuphoria.blogspot.com/2020/01/my-favorite-books-of-decade.html.

See all of my reviews at itseithersadnessoreuphoria.blogspot.com.

Follow me on Instagram at https://www.instagram.com/the.bookishworld.of.yrralh/.
Profile Image for Emma.
893 reviews872 followers
May 19, 2020
I'm so disappointed by this read, I had really high hopes for this one and saying that they weren't met would be the understatement of the year. I won't go into the details of the flimsy plot of this book, but for me it all really was trite and flat.
The magic system, if that's what you want to call it, was basically nonexistent and definitely not explained properly. The pacing was way off, sometimes extremely slow and sometimes too fast. What drove me nuts the most was probably how these characters did not communicate at all, what kind of friends are they? Their friendship was a big mess and there were so many things that were left unresolved.
And don't get me started on the ending, what even was that?
Profile Image for zee reads.
224 reviews53 followers
September 18, 2021
it really should be a sin for a book to be so beautiful on the outside but so bland on the inside 😞😬

the fascinators had so much untapped potential, and that's probably the most frustrating aspect of this book. after a summer of growing distant from each other, a trio of best friends gets mixed up with a shady/cult-like group of other magic users during their senior year? sounds amazing, and it would have been pretty neat if this was further developed and allowed to be the main source of conflict. instead, the magic element just felt like it was shoehorned into a contemporary story like an afterthought. the magic system just was not explained well and i never got a true feeling of how it fit into the world.

much like the story and fantasy element, the characters were unfortunately super bland and forgettable, which is sad because i can usually always excuse a boring plot if the characters are really engaging, entertaining and just enjoyable to read about. i do understand how james, delia and sam drifting part was a plot point but they didn't even feel like......best friends? they didn't even seem like they really cared for one another even before the main conflict arises. no spoilers, but the plot twist involving delia just solidifies this for me. i also just wasn't buying supposed "chemistry" between james and sam. there was glimpses here and there of what could've been if things had been more fleshed out, but what was presented to us was not enough to make me root for them or their relationship. the same goes for the entire love triangle. the friendship and relationship dynamics in this book frustrated me as well because the foundation of it WAS all there, but it just was not executed well at all.

the climax of this book is so anticlimatic i didn't even realize it was the climax until it was over. i also found it kind of funny how throughout the entire story, we're being hyped up for this magic competition and we don't even get to really see any magic. we just get told about it after it happened. 💀

a lot of people are going to hate the ending. and i don't blame them because it was so unsatisfying and felt like it came out of completely nowhere. i actually had to go back to make sure i didn't miss a chapter or two of wrapup. delia's predicament is just completely swept under the rug like no big deal and the main underlying conflict between sam and james, the one we're constantly reminded about from the very start, is never communicated, never resolved, never spoken about again. i felt like boo boo the fool because i was actually anticipating this situation to finally be discussed because maybe it would've shed new light on their relationship and instead it never was???? it was extremely bizarre.

the writing was okay, a little juvenile for YA and i wasn't engaged by it but i'm sure a lot of people will find it to be fine. but there was this weird thing where it kept switching between first/third-person narration, something like that, though that might have been fixed before actual publication.

the fascinators really could have been great, especially with the magic/queerness metaphors and that small, southern town vibe. i think a few rounds of editing could've really done the plot, the magic system, and the characters better.

still unsure if this is a 1 or 2 star read, but either way it's disappointing and im so sad
Profile Image for Lauren Lanz.
618 reviews233 followers
August 5, 2020
Quick and engaging all the way through, The Fascinators was a really fun to read novel! Although it doesn't bring anything new to the table, what was delivered was definitely enjoyable.

This novel follows Sam and his best friends James and Delia as they navigate magic in a town that shuns it. The trio have started a magic club during their freshman year and have been the only members up until now, their senior year. Up until now, when Sam is falling in love with James, when James steals something leaving him cursed and in deep trouble, and when Delia joins the enemy in attempt at improving her magic.

The writing worked well for this story despite not standing out much. It flowed easily, resulting in a fast reading experience. The plot was interesting enough to propel the story at a good pace, but for me it was the characters that kept the story moving. I found myself surprisingly invested in Sam’s friend group and the fate that awaited them.

Overall, this was a good story to sit back and relax with. I had a fun time following the characters as they mapped out their friendships and romance.
Profile Image for HeatherH.
299 reviews66 followers
June 7, 2020
This was very wrongly marketed to fans of Rainbow Rowell and Maggie Stiefvater.... Not that I went into it really expecting it to live up to the magic that is Stiefvater, but I was still left underwhelmed. The magic system wasn't fleshed out well at all leaving me still feeling like I know nothing about it. The characters were ok but never delved into deep enough for me to be uber attached or invested in them. And there was really zero chemistry between any of the possible love interests. It was an easy listen - and Michael Crouch is one of my favorite narrators - so I don't regret it or feel like it was time wasted, just not sure I'd re-listen ever.
Profile Image for Mara YA Mood Reader.
332 reviews262 followers
Want to read
November 26, 2020
11/26/2020: $2.99 on Kindle US today! Happy Thanksgiving 🦃🍁!!

12/18/2019: I read The Raven Boys meets....and didn’t even need to read the rest before my thumb slapped that Want TO Read button
Profile Image for nat.
70 reviews273 followers
April 12, 2021
This book could have had it all with its LGBT representation and eccentric magical contemporary fantasy setting, but it really did not deliver at that front. And it's set in Georgia—I live in Georgia. Well, what would you expect with a book pitched as For fans of Rainbow Rowell and Maggie Stiefvater (wildly popular white cishet female authors with books which are hailed as the epitomy of gay modern literature, but no. They're not. Please stop it.)...

I think the thing about The Fascinators is just that it's not that good. Nothing happens, if the book was centered around its less relevant aspects it could have been much better, the characters aren't very likable, and in retrospect, everything is just... boring about it. But I kinda liked it? Its plot takes a while to pick up and even when it does, it's not very rewarding and there's this feeling of 'why did the hell did I waste 5 hours of my life reading this book?" after it's finished, but the book wasn't terrible to read. It could have been much much better, but I didn't have any glaring problems with it.

I mentioned previously this book could have been more enjoyable if it was centered around some of its peripheral aspects. The author wants us to care about things which really don't matter, which makes a large part of this book pretty boring to stick through, when there were wholly creative and interesting aspects of it right there that for some reason the author didn't seem to care much about. Like, if the cultish magic group plotline was utilized at the beginning? This book could have been everything. But instead, more focus is put on the main friend group's dynamics, and various other honestly boring things which for me really deteriorated the quality of this book.

In general, and as what Rachel said about this book, it's 'going to be a divisive one and not be that popular overall honestly,' which is basically why I didn't rate it. It's pretty boring and forgettable, but you could find yourself enjoying it for what it is.

representation: gay main character w/ mlm LI, Black side character (interesting the literal only character of color in this book is disliked by the main character)
content warnings: homophobia (challenged), parental abuse & neglect (challenged), cults

I received an e-ARC of this book from Quill Tree Books, a HarperCollins imprint, via Edelweiss in exchange for an honest review.
Profile Image for Christian.
286 reviews326 followers
May 18, 2020
I don't remember the last time I read a book that left me this unsatisfied. At the end, I actually went back and checked that I hadn't missed a chapter because it never actually showed the confrontation between the main character and his best friend, which was basically the underlying plot point of the whole story? Like, I thought that was the core of this book? That was what I cared about most??

The plot aside from that relationship sadly wasn't compelling enough to make up for other shortcomings, the injection of magic into what is essentially a cute contemporary felt inconsequential and shallow. Some of the friendships and conversations felt nuanced in certain moments, but even that managed to go downhill at the end. (Delia deserved a better character development than this, her reasoning made Zero sense to me.)

This is the second own voices gay YA novel I've read this year that disappointed me immensely. I don't know what's going on? Am I getting too old? This just barely scratched the surface of any of the elements it was trying to include, and I'm pretty sure I'll have forgotten about it in about a week. Which is pretty damn sad.
Profile Image for Inkslinger.
225 reviews39 followers
May 13, 2020
The Fascinators by Andrew Eliopulos

ARC provided by HarperCollins and Andrew Eliopulos via Edelweiss+. All opinions are mine and freely given.

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"I've always loved this volatile quality that magic has. This ability to create meaning and defy meaning. To be real and not real. That's how it feels when you're waiting for your life to start and yet somehow, impossibly, having to live it at the same time." -- Andrew Eliopulos

05-12: It's strange, give me a book and tell me there's a sorcerer in it.. and I'm all about it. Normally though, if instead you swap that word out for magician, I'm going to reflexively just make a face and hesitate. I don't know why.

In my head a magician is a performer and while I enjoy a good magic show as much as the next person, I really don't usually want to read a book or watch a film about it. There have been exceptions, of course. Both The Prestige and The Illusionist were great films and I loved them, but I'm hard pressed to think of a single book until this year that has labeled magic wielders as magicians, that I've actually been interested enough to read.

That being said, since I've gone back to reviewing.. and this time with books, I've required myself to keep an open mind.. to try concepts I might normally skip when my reading time is more limited.

'The Fascinators' by Andrew Eliopulos is a story about 'magickers' that I didn't even bat an eye at before deciding I needed to read it. From the synopsis alone, I knew I had to go on this adventure. There's something even about the cover that for me radiated late summer/early fall friendships and an 'us against the world' feeling. It made me think of Breakfast Club and Goonies.. even Stranger Things a little bit.

"If you've ever cast a spell alone in your room in the dark, wishing you were somewhere--or someone--else, this book is for you." -- Andrew Eliopulos (Dedication)

Sam, our protagonist, lives in a small town where pretty much everything marks you as an outcast. Magic, religious beliefs, sexual preferences.. anything that doesn't align with the majority of the community is frowned upon. He's got two best friends, James and Delia, that he's counting on to see him through his senior year.

Though the three teens have been friends for ages, early on the group starts to splinter. Sam is having confusing feelings for James, Delia is finding their amateur magic club disappointing, and new elements are at play.. causing rifts between them.

Turns out that over the summer, James also got mixed up with some shady magic users and that's making everyone's lives difficult too. Difficulties that even magic can't fix.

"(His mom always countered that his relationship with James was less like a fire and more like Schrodinger's cat, and Sam was just afraid to open the box to find out whether it was alive or dead.)"

I have to tell you, Sam is just the sweetest boy. He's tormented by his feelings and by the pressure of not fitting in.. even in places where that was never the case for him before. I found myself genuinely hoping for him to find love and happiness.

Dynamically, the group evolves quite a lot from the start to the finish of the novel and though I wasn't always pleased with the actions of every character, I felt satisfied with the results of their choices. I enjoyed watching them evolve. Their dialogue feels very natural, in some cases it's filled with easy banter and in others, the discomfort is like a physical thing between them. The funny moments really stand out, they're not rare.. but they are fabulous.

"Mary Ellen's has the best biscuits and gravy you have ever eaten or will ever eat. It's like gravy soup with biscuit croutons. It's like a gravy landslide over biscuit city."
"I'm not sure you're convincing me by comparing the food to a natural disaster."
"It's like a natural disaster that's making way for a better civilization."
"Wow, Sam. Didn't peg you for a kill-all-humans type, but I guess we all have our dark sides."

The magic itself, is fairly wide-ranging.. though most of what we see is elemental in nature, magic also surprisingly, doesn't play that much of a role in the scenes. It's a major part of the story, but the scenes are really all about the group and how the magic they use changes their circumstances and their core beings.

Honestly, I can easily say I loved this book. It's fun, but not too light-hearted. The relationships are warm, but imperfect. And even the parents vary from dismissive and narrow-minded to supportive and loving. I feel like it's easy to see the paths each character is set on and how they become who they are.

What a great story..



05-10: What better way to start the week than with a group of magickers called The Fascinators? Fingers crossed for Sam and James to find their way to each other somehow..
Profile Image for Harishma.
81 reviews59 followers
June 7, 2020
To say that I'm dissapointed is an understatement. So lets get into the plot.. the prologue is is of a girl named Liv where she is trying to sell her diamond necklace for the money so she could run away from her parents. She discovers that it's fake and ends up selling her favourite watch which belonged to her grandmother. Then she walks off when a stranger's car pulls up and gives back her watch that she sold. His name's Isaac and they end up giving her a room in the co-op that he is living in. She later realises that to be a great mistake... This continues on with the story where three people Sam, Delia and James is introduced. They are very interested in magic and they have a club of their own in a city where magic is frowned upon.. and to no one's surprise they are the only existing member of the group too. It's called The Fascinators, a fancy name and the name of the book too which was the reason I decided to read it in the first place.
I’m starting to think I should’ve spent my summer on something simpler, like time travel or mind control.”- Sam

Now let's talk about charecters.. they were not fully developed.. the awkwardness in the book was a bit too thick. And I liked Sam and his family. Sam is the only sane person in this novel. James has family issues and a younger brother, drinks too much too. Delia is a hypocrite, judges others for their actions but does the same when it suits her typically. Denver is a shameless flirt but I love him for it.
Denver said “One simple levitation spell to reach the top shelf at Publix, and suddenly everyone’s looking at me like I summoned a lesser demon.”

Magic in this world seems to be a part of it... Where its just another normal activity.. where you are better with more practice. Like most of the readers felt, there was no mention about how it came about. The world building was not great either.. Its based only on the four charecters and the cult group of Isaac called True light.
“Sometimes, Sam, we fight with people because we care about them too much to give up on them.”-Mrs. Fisher

Denver joins the the fascinators and soon James also brings a new girl Amber into the group. James has also gotten into trouble with True light as he stole their most precious book of spells. This creates tension between the close friends.. and soon both James and Delia and Sam won't talk to each other anymore. Delia has decided to go with the True light and gets into a mess when she gives them an idea for stealing others magic.
“I’m as surprised as you are. I guess this is the problem, right, when your friendships are based around what you do instead of who you are? Or maybe it’s the problem of being friends with anybody for as long as I’ve been friends with Delia and James.”
“What’s the problem?” asked Denver
“You’re not allowed to change.” replied Sam

The writing was not too bad and not the best either.. The way the author wrote atleast made us to read further and and have the need to know more. I was dissapointed with the ending which left me more confused than when I started reading it.

Overall, I liked the concept of the book but didn't enjoy it and was never on board with the charecters either. The romance was okay.. I'd rate this two Stars for the plot and writing style alone..
This entire review has been hidden because of spoilers.
Profile Image for ⋆。 ゚ sara ☾ ゚。⋆.
501 reviews60 followers
June 14, 2022
"The Raven Boys meets Simon vs. the Homo Sapiens Agenda" ... the MC is queer, its set in a small town and people do magic ... this is where the similarities between "The Fascinators" and "Love Simon/The Raven Boys" end ...

This reads like a cliché high school rom-com with magic, which sounds intriguing, but the execution wasn't done well ... :( Now i'm sad, i was so excited for this :(
Profile Image for Andrea Valeska.
136 reviews2 followers
Want to read
April 26, 2019
Okay, so.... The Raven Cycle meets Simons vs. the Homo Sapiens Agenda???
This is everything I never knew I needed.

Profile Image for Rebeca.
201 reviews211 followers
June 11, 2020
I had high hopes for this book, but it just fell short for me in everything. The world building was weak and didn't give enough details for me to understand how the magic in this town worked. A lot of the time that magic was performed it left me thinking, "oh, so that's a thing that you can do.. great"

I don't know but James was a horrible character to read about, he was selfish to his friends and such a troublemaker for absolutely no reason, dragging his friends in his messes didn't earn him any brownie points either..

Delia was meh.. however, I will say that Sam was quite likable and I also enjoyed Denver (or was his name Dallas?.. oops, haha!).

I started this book back in May and I honestly don't see myself finishing it..

What a shame too because Andrew Eliopulos is the editor for the upcoming YA series by one of my absolute favorite authors, CS Pacat, but not even that was enough to entice me to finish this book.

I'm just not willing to power through the 60% I had left.

*DNF'd at 40%*
Profile Image for chromeo.
71 reviews
Shelved as 'old-reads'
January 27, 2022
dnf at 70%.
i’m. so. disappointed. i’ve been waiting for this book for so long and i really, really wanted to like it, but it was mediocre at best.
the characters were shallow and had no reason at all - it’s as if someone sat down and thought, “i have that brief idea for a book, now i will write it and hopefully the characters develop themselves somewhere along the way.” but they didn’t. they barely had any personality and to be honest, even though i read it today, i don’t even remember their names.
the pov was randomly, without any warning, switching between the characters, the most annoying thing i’ve ever witnessed in a book.
the love triangle was weird. there was no chemistry between ANY of them, only the main character whining from time to time how much in love he is to make sure the reader doesn’t forget about it.
world building? terrible. next to none. words that were supposed to help understand the world were thrown with no context, i still don’t get why they have magic in the first place, i don’t get what’s the deal with magic clubs, nothing makes sense.
everything happened for no reason, and it’s not “okay, i don’t understand it, but i want to keep reading to learn more about it,” it was just “okay, i don’t give a single shit about what happens next, nothing is important to me here.” i felt as if i was taking a test that i never studied for - “i don’t get anything and i want it to end.”
it couldn’t capture my attention in any way - mediocre writing, horrible world building, boring characters, no point to the plot.
there was a lot of potential to this book, but it was executed extremely badly.
Profile Image for Kate.
279 reviews139 followers
May 19, 2020
2.5 stars
There were many enjoyable things about The Fascinators, but it was riddled with many problems as well.
The friendships were good. The magical system and how it is integrated into our society was interesting, but the plot felt half baked and the ending didn't seem solid and the plot's build was anti-climactic.
I was disappointed in the romance. It felt forced and I wasn't really sure if there was any at the end. I am left with many questions so I'm unsure if this is a standalone.
Also, with the world, it could be expanded a ton. Especially with the way the author left things at the end. The magic is pretty cool and I feel like our main characters haven't even begun to scratch the surface with what they're capable of, but I'm not sure I care enough to get the next one if there is another. It just wasn't memorable enough.
Profile Image for Giulia.
683 reviews98 followers
October 8, 2020
"The thing about practicing magic in Friedman, Georgia, was that you never knew who was going to hate you for it."

TW: homophobia, abuse

Actual rating: 2.5 ⭐️

What to say about The Fascinators?
I can say that, overall, I was not impressed.

This was, in a way, a knocked-down version of the majestic atmosphere present in The Raven Cycle mixed in with the easy contemporary and LGBTQ+ vibes of Simon VS., so the blurb was not misleading.
It was just nothing groundbreaking, in my opinion.

But let’s start this Rather Random Review™️ with the positive things.

The writing style was atmospheric and enjoyable. It had its moment of lightness and, in general, it was a pleasure to read. I can see myself picking up future books by this author – if the synopsis interests me.
The world and its magic were grand (even if both were incredibly vague and non-descriptive) and can indeed be considered as a good foundation for possible future books in the same universe.

Unfortunately, though, that’s pretty much everything I can say that was 100% good.
As a matter of fact, all the other aspects of this novel had some issues or details that I did not particularly enjoy.

So allow me to mention these issues.

The magic system was interesting but I also thought it massively lacked some kind of explanation. There was no rhyme nor reason to how the magic and the various incantations worked. Which made for a slightly sloppy magic.
Moreover, it felt a bit underdeveloped as there was the great threat of dark magic present since basically page one, but, in my opinion, it was not given enough space and time to evolve. Missed chance, really, because I would have loved reading a bit more about the more dangerous aspect of this practice. Knowing both the good and the bad aspects of this magic would have made it a more thought-after magic system.
Another thing that I thought was not particularly explained, was why all these people hated magic. The hatred and prejudices the non-magic people had towards the ones who indeed could perform magic felt completely out of proportion precisely because an explanation was not offered.
Everything seemed like a simply doodle, a draft, a rough copy of a magic system that needed some heavy polishing and improvement, I believe.

The plot was not well paced, in my opinion.
At times too slow, at other times too fast, the way the story progressed did not fascinate nor captivated me. In fact, I was bored throughout this whole book. I found the plot to be underwhelming and just unsatisfactory. Since everything was vague and non-specific, I could not bring myself to care.
So, really, the plot did not hook me, the magic disappointed me a bit, and the characters frustrated me to no end.

And that frustration was dictated by the fact that, for being a book that was depicted as centered around friendship, The Fascinators was incredibly lacking in the friendship’s department.
Sam, James and Delia were allegedly best friends but the story was heavy and unbearable because of all the discussions they did not have and the secrets they kept from each other.
What kind of friendship is that?
There was so much miscommunication and things left unsaid I was left wondering if these three were truly friends as was claimed, or if everything was just an elaborated prank.
So frustrating and annoying :/

Another thing that surely did not help me linking the characters was the various tropes that were present in this book: love triangle, new-boy-in-town, childhood-crush, feel-a-spark-when-they-touch and, worst of them all, the dimples made a somewhat aggressive appearance and unquestionably ruined the reading experience for me.
These tropes are indeed my absolute least favourites, so you can imagine how massively annoyed and exasperated I was with The Fascinators.
If you like these tropes, this book is for you. But this was clearly not my cup of tea. And I could not wait for this book to end.

But, alas, even the ending betrayed me.
Et tu, ending?

As a matter of fact, the ending itself was also not my cup of tea. I thought it was incredibly anticlimactic and just underwhelming. The build up dragged on for too long and so everything felt underdeveloped and rushed.
Also, the last chapter was too cheesy and sappy, and I am not a fan of that. I prefer my endings with a bit of roughness to them. This was sickeningly sweet for me.

All in all, I was expecting much more from this book, but the tropes, the characters, the plot, the ending and the magic system I encountered were not enjoyable for me.
The Fascinators lacked to deliver a punch, and I personally did not find this book remarkable nor memorable.
This was a fast and easy read, but there was nothing fascinating in this novel.
What a pity :(

"Make of your mind and empty vessel. Let it sing with silence, leaving space for your dreams."
Profile Image for Carlee.
108 reviews7 followers
May 17, 2020
I... don’t know how to rate this book. I loved it right until the end, and then the last chapter was jarring and sudden and I hated it. If this book is a standalone, so much is left unresolved that it kind of ruins the good things in the book and makes me want to give the book 3 stars.

But if this book turns out to be the first book in a series and we will have a sequel, then I would put it more on the 4 star level. I’m so TORN.

Like really... what WAS that ending?


It’s been a day and the more I think about it, the more frustrated I get. The author claims there is no current plan for a sequel and I just feel like this book does not resolve any of the questions it opened with.

1. Sam starts the book by saying he and James need to talk about what happened at the bowling alley and we just never do. WHAT? WHAT? FOR REAL?

2. Is Sam going to get over his feelings for James and move on to Denver, or is he going to talk to James and confess his feelings? Well, really he is going to do neither and the last chapter is going to just make you assume that he got over James and fell in love with Denver without showing you any of the progress to get to that point.

3. What about the cult? Eh, unimportant I guess.

4. But how does James feel about Sam? Who knows, not us. Never us. Remember how the fields that night with Sam is actually James safe space? Well, we’re not gonna unpack that AT ALL.

Also: WHAT is the purpose of the magic in this book? The only way that magic impacts this story is because of the cult who the characters are maybe sorta kinda beefing with but also they’re just trying to graduate high school and improve their magic and decide their futures and really the cult doesn’t matter much except for creating a forced climax. UGH.

Also I love Denver, but Sam being with him is so forced. It’s like the moral of this story is “If your best friend has trouble at home and can’t express his feelings for you, you’re too good for him and you should date Denver whose whole personality is being perfect and liking you right away.”

I. Am. So. Angry.

I really enjoyed 75-80% of this book, but the author just completely dropped the ball in act 3 and it ruined the rest of the book for me. I can’t enjoy most of the book anymore knowing how it ends. We waste so much time chasing rabbits down holes that we didn’t need to go down. I just wanted literally anything actually important to be tied up on the page and not in a random time skip at the very end. The book feels amateurish and too short. I’m just very, very frustrated.

This entire review has been hidden because of spoilers.
Profile Image for Mirko Smith.
131 reviews1,118 followers
June 9, 2020
Ero indeciso se dare una o due stelle ma alla fine l’unica cosa che ho apprezzato di questo libro è la sua veste grafica. Classico caso della persona ‘’bella fuori e marcia dentro’’.

Partiamo dal presupposto che le premesse per me erano super interessanti: tematiche LGBT, un club di magia dove i tre protagonisti si ritrovano per praticare e studiare incantesimi, un mondo dove la magia esiste ma chi la pratica non viene visto di buon occhio.
Insomma, i’m in.
Peccato che l’esecuzione è pessima, davvero davvero pessima.

I tre protagonisti, dovrebbero essere amici inseparabili che invece sembrano nemmeno conoscersi.
Non comunicano, fanno e dicono cose completamente a caso. Tutti se la cantano e se la suonano.
Sicuramente uno dei rapporti d’amicizia più brutti di cui abbia mai letto.
Ah, Delia vince su tutti come personaggio più detestabile di sempre.

Sam, il nostro protagonista, è piatto, ispido come tutto ciò che lo circonda. Gay, innamorato del suo migliore amico James, ma senza una base per costruire una possibile relazione tra i due.
Ancora devo capire perché sia cosi tanto innamorato di James. Sti due tizi sono la cosa meno shippabile del mondo.

Abbiamo poi un mezzo terzo incomodo, Denver.
Anche lui, inutile. Siamo costretti a vedere teatrini di lui e Sam che filtrano totalmente random. OK!

Il world building... quale world building esattamente?
È inesistente, non viene minimamente accennato come la magia funzioni e come questa effettivamente influisca.
Si fanno incantesimi a caso, si parla di libri di magia, di culti e tutto sembra TOTALMENTE BUTTATO LI.
Mi sono sentito particolarmente frustrato durante la lettura nel non essere informato sul sistema magico di questo mondo.
Ah per tutto il libro poi aspettiamo una competizione magica che alla fine è aria fritta.

Sarebbe stato interessante vedere questa versione YA di sette e culti magici (mia ossessione) e invece niente, una bella occasione buttata senza nemmeno provarci.

Ma poi vogliamo parlare della narrazione? Anche questa gestita totalmente a caso.

Brutto. Bruttissimo.
L’unica cosa parzialmente positiva è lo stile di scrittura, carino, niente di entusiasmante, forse troppo ya.

Profile Image for Connor.
681 reviews1,658 followers
April 14, 2021
[3-3.5 Stars]
Okay let's start off with my main negative because I understand why this book has some mixed reviews. The ending! I was enjoying this ride so much until the lackluster ending that we get. The story builds and builds to this big moment, and then we get a speedy solution and very little resolution. That is honestly incredibly disappointing.

If this was the first book in a series, I might understand it more, but as far as I know, this is a standalone. Like, one of the main things is that Sam has had this lingering crush on James throughout the entire book, and then we don't actually get to see it addressed ever. We also don't get much about the bad guys and what is happening with some of them or what their true goal is. I have other complaints about the ending, but I don't want to rant. Basically, everything is just very rushed and doesn't fit the rest of the novel.

Now onto the good. I thought (until I didn't like the ending) that this book was stinkin adorable. Denver is such a cinnamon roll. I loved him. I really enjoyed following Sam as well. Sam is out (gay), and although he isn't often confronted by homophobes (though he is sometimes), Eliopulos had Sam reflect the uneasiness that people in minorities (specifically LGBTQIA+) can feel around people they don't know. You never know when someone is going to have a problem with who you are.

This book also really showcased how insecure people can be in general. Sam, Delia, and James all feel insecure within their friend group, and it's really displayed in the actions that the characters take. Could the characters be incredibly frustrating? Yes, but that's how people are.

I will say that we also get the perspective of a girl, Liv, that joins the bad guys at the beginning of the book. I'm not sure her POV was really necessary, but it didn't really detract from the novel.

I've seen a lot of reviews mention the magic system and how unstructured it is. I feel like there actually was a fair amount of structure. Magic in this book was just like being talented in sports or art or... idk juggling? Everyone has some ability in all of those things. If you devote time to them, you get better at them. Some people have a natural affinity for some things over others. Real life example: drawing. Everyone has some ability to draw (some better than others naturally). If you spend time and learn techniques, you become a better drawer. You may never be amazing, but you can improve.

I think the main example in the books would be empaths. Sam's mother has a natural, almost innate talent for keying in to people's feelings. She doesn't have to work at it very hard because she's just naturally really good. Amber has a lesser natural ability to do this, so to become better, she has to practice. For someone not gifted, they could improve their own abilities to do this type of magic, but there is a natural cap that people hit. To me, the magic just seemed like being talented and training to be better. If you train a lot, you get tired. If you overexert yourself, you can get hurt, and everyone has a different breaking point and ability to improve.

Anyway, I was thoroughly enjoying learning about the characters and their plans for the magic competition. I liked learning about their friend dynamic and the characters' insecurities. I feel like there could have been some really cool description of the magic being cast. Missed opportunity, but it didn't really affect my reading experience. The ending was just a big let down after all the build up to the main event, and I wish we had been able to see Sam and James figure their shit out on the page.
Profile Image for TJ.
670 reviews52 followers
March 21, 2020
Let’s be clear— the cover for this book is BEAUTIFUL, one of the best I’ve ever seen. The premise sounds brilliant; a mix of Simon vs. and Raven Boys? Should be an instant knockout! In other hands, this book could have reached its full potential, but the lack of competent writing was apparent from the very beginning. This book has some of the most juvenile prose I’ve read in a while; it reads like it was meant to be first person, but then switched lazily late in the editing process to third. The dialogue was stilted, and the characters were bland. The main friendships had a strength to them, but they got forgotten the longer the novel went on. The love triangle was unbearable and unsatisfying, with the only explanation being that the writer is hoping for a sequel. I enjoyed ONE character in this, and she was character assassinated pretty sloppily. The metaphor of magic and queerness is a great concept, and I’ve seen it done well before— it’s just a shame it wasn’t done well here. I appreciate the examination of being queer in a southern state, and I did feel like that topic was done genuinely, but that was really the only positive aspect I can think of in terms of the writing. The pacing was thrown out the window in the last third... This book is just desperately in need of more editing. It feels like they got a draft in, saw the cover, and said, “It’s pretty! People will buy it regardless of the writing quality. Don’t worry about another round of edits!” I wanted to love this one, and I sound harsh, but it’s just a mess; and the wasted potential makes me sad. This is easily my biggest let-down of the year, so far. Go read Simon vs. and/or Raven Boys instead, and save your time; or even try Holly Black’s Curseworkers trilogy if you want to see a story that blends magic and contemporary well. 2/5 stars.
Profile Image for Lucas Fogaça.
114 reviews55 followers
March 2, 2021
Esta história tem a medida exata de fantasia que eu gosto de ler: umas faíscas costuradas no alicerce do livro, com drama YA por cima e um romance queer no topo. E ainda por cima a resenha diz que é Simon vs. + Garotos corvos. Nem se o título fosse meu nome seria tão EU.

Infelizmente, algo deu errado no meio do caminho. Eu amei os personagens e suas personalidades, mas achei fraca a história que o autor quis contar com eles. Queria ter visto essas pessoas em outras situações, outras dinâmicas -- ainda que não tenha nada de errado com o jeito como as coisas andam, apenas não tem muita graça...

A escrita do Andrew é super fácil de ler, e foi isso (mais os personagens) que me segurou lendo nos momentos onde a história estava sem sabor. Depois de alguns meses "sem vontade" de mergulhar na leitura, peguei o audiobook e aí sim fluiu como uma beleza!

Foi meu primeiro audiobook "inédito" (antes eu só havia escutado Simon vs.) e, coincidentemente, depois de escutar algumas horas que eu fui ver que ambos são narrados pela mesma pessoa, o Michael Crouch. Agora eu o amo.

Há janela para uma possível continuação e, apesar de não haver necessidade NENHUMA (apenas pontos abertos, nenhum cliffhanger), acho que eu leria, sim. Quero saber mais do Denver.
Profile Image for Vee_Bookish.
1,204 reviews267 followers
December 18, 2020
Wordpress Blog | Twitter

This cover is incredible (and one of my favourites this year) but unfortunately the story didn't live up to the hype. I felt that every character in the friend group was horrible to everyone else except for new boy Denver - Sam for not caring about his friend's issues, Delia because *gestures at the entire book* and James, for not just sitting down and telling his friend whether he was interested in him or not.

Without dropping major spoilers, this book was clearly the start of a series, but the author seems to consider it a standalone. James and Sam never work out their non-relationship, and it's never stated whether James ever had any interest in Sam or not. Meanwhile Delia seemed to be making plans at the end of the book that had me certain this was a series, so now I'm just confused.
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