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When We Were Magic

3.75  ·  Rating details ·  2,409 ratings  ·  580 reviews
A moving, darkly funny novel about six teens whose magic goes wildly awry from Magic for Liars author Sarah Gailey, who Chuck Wendig calls an “author to watch.”

Keeping your magic a secret is hard. Being in love with your best friend is harder.

Alexis has always been able to rely on two things: her best friends, and the magic powers they all share. Their secret is what bro
Hardcover, 352 pages
Published March 3rd 2020 by Simon Schuster Books for Young Readers
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Sarah Gailey The two books are not connected, but neither of them is in a separate universe from our own, so technically they're in the same universe. :)…moreThe two books are not connected, but neither of them is in a separate universe from our own, so technically they're in the same universe. :)(less)
Sarah Gailey It's about 6 friends! That description had a typo in it, thank you for catching it!…moreIt's about 6 friends! That description had a typo in it, thank you for catching it!(less)

Community Reviews

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Average rating 3.75  · 
Rating details
 ·  2,409 ratings  ·  580 reviews

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chai ♡
queer teen witches involved in some kind of murder? it’s like Sarah Gailey knows all my heart's desires or something... ...more
Chelsea (chelseadolling reads)
Feb 24, 2020 rated it really liked it
Shelves: queer
This was my first Sarah Gailey book and I totally understand the hype now; I gobbled this entire thing up in basically one sitting. This gave me all of the friendship / queer girl feels and I liked it A LOT. It wasn't an absolutely perfect read for me (I felt like the ending wrapped up a little blandly if I'm being honest), but the writing and the characters definitely made up for that and I cannot WAIT to go back and check out the rest of Gailey's backlist. GIMME ALL THE QUEER MAGIC-Y THINGS ...more
Star Rating: —> 4.5 Stars

ThisBOOKthisbookthisbookkkk !

Oh my God, you guys. This was absolutely everything.
I love this group of girls so f*cking much.
I honestly am not sure of what words to use to describe what, and just how much, I feel about what I just read.
This was such an incredibly fun ride. <— (massive understatement)
First off, I just have to say thank the universeeee for a YA novel that is so truly, richly diverse, both through q
queer witches + me = match made in heaven

side note: you have no idea how fuckin happy i am right now. all ive ever wanted was a unstoppable girl gang who kiss each other sometimes but are unashamedly themselves. GOD IM SO EXCITED!!
Elle (ellexamines)
"in which a group of high school girls face up to the consequences of a disastrous magical accident resulting in a dead boy on prom night" and also there are girl friendships and gay witches. and also I love this author’s short fiction. hm. yes? ...more
Lady H
Mar 15, 2020 rated it liked it
Shelves: read-in-2020
This is the kind of book Teen Me would have loved, but that sadly left Adult Me feeling a bit underwhelmed. It's nothing to do with the book, which is wonderful and full of diverse characters and shades of queerness and cool magic and an interesting plot. But I think I've just reached an impasse with the tone of most YA books. However, I would recommend this book to teens in a heartbeat, and I will say that my favorite thing about it was the depiction of female friendship and support. ...more
Mar 15, 2020 rated it did not like it
This review has been hidden because it contains spoilers. To view it, click here.
rachel ☾
this book opens with a boy dying because his dick literally explodes, and a girl calling her magical, witch friends to help her hide the body... i have a good feeling about this one.

◯ Review copy provided by the publisher in exchange for an honest review.


The Nerd Daily
Feb 23, 2020 rated it it was amazing
Originally published on The Nerd Daily | Review by Ankara C

“I finally get it. I trust her. I trust her with my secrets, and I trust her with my friendship, and I trust her with my gratitude. I don’t need to apologize for being thankful for her. I don’t owe her an apology—just gratitude.”
Winner of the Hugo Award for Best Fan Writer in 2018, Sarah Gailey’s trajectory does not seem as though it will stop soaring any time soon. Even though Gailey only published Magic for Liars, their first full-leng
May 02, 2020 rated it did not like it
Shelves: lgbtq
Representation is always important, so the fact that this is a YA book about six queer friends, one of whom has same sex parents, is fantastic. All six girls are also magic, each wielding a different type of power. Also fantastic.

So why did a book about queer teen witches fall so flat for me?

The narrator, Alexis, wasn't someone I felt I knew despite being in her head all the way through the book. At the very, very beginning, a boy dies. This isn't a spoiler, it's the whole plot - but none of t
mili &#x1f9a2;
Aug 15, 2020 rated it liked it
queer teen witches yet i don’t know why this fell so flat for me )-:
Alexis made a guy’s d*ck explode- amazeballs (pun SO intended ;). it was all fun and games until none of them cared for his death? you all got super powers but the first thing you think about is to hide the body?? how about trying to bring this poor guy back to life?? not once did Alexis feel guilty about it. she just whines about not deserving her friends’ love and support *eye roll*.

i liked how they could see each other’s ma
Laura ☾
Apr 19, 2020 rated it really liked it
3.5 stars rounded up

I enjoyed this, this was really easy to read. But I kind of wish there had been more - the end was too open for my taste!

May 31, 2020 rated it liked it
Shelves: sapphic, lgbtqiap, ya
All about strong female friendships and diverse representation.
Sep 25, 2019 rated it liked it
Shelves: arcs, poc, sapphic
review on my blog

When We Were Magic was a book I was expecting to give 5 stars, but it ultimately didn’t mesh well with me. The premise had the potential to be a new favourite – a full cast of women, diversity in sexuality and ethnicity, magic, tight-knit, loyal, loving female friendships, and dark humour – but the execution and misleading marketing made it a lacklustre read for me.

Alexis and her five friends have one unique thing in common: they all possess magical powers. On prom night whe
Caidyn (he/him/his)
CW: death, accidental murder, and accidental mutilation

I really enjoyed this! Yet again, Gailey shows me how great of an author they are. I've read their adult fantasy and historical fiction/dystopian novella, and now a YA contemporary fantasy. And, again, they have shown me that they can honestly write everything.

I loved this group of young women (I sound old saying that, wow) and their stories. It was an incredibly diverse group and I loved how there were multiple queer women in the story, esp
ImReadingThough ♡
Okay. Cozy and Cute + murder.
It was more about coming of age & lgbtq. I thought it was going to be more about murder and what not. It did have some thriller aspects but it’s mostly about friendship. I did love the magic part of everything. The whole system. I mean if you want to call it a system but I loved the uncertainty. It kinda carried on but I enjoyed it.
Apr 15, 2020 rated it really liked it
Shelves: 2020
I really really wish half stars existed because this book is a total 3.5. I enjoyed it and I loved a lot of it but I was just missing something. I honestly just entirely agree with Jaye's review (

There is a lot of good and great about this book. The magic in this book is so loose and unrestrained and that's honestly so rare to see these days, as everyone's trying to outdo each other with increasingly complex magic systems. It was nice to see magic just e
Charlie Marie
This book, y’all! I feel like 2020 is the year of reading queer teen witch gangs (see also: The Scapegracers) and I am here for it.

This book has dark humor, talking animals, exploding dicks, the most loving friendships, a whole cast of diverse identities, the sweetest queer parents ever, rad and specific magic, an adorable falling in love with a best friend romance, and all the end of high school feels.

Sarah Gailey is magic, and I will follow them anywhere. I’m off to read their alternate histo
anna (½ of readsrainbow)
i trust sarah w my gay life & this sounds delightful
this book was amazing. but amazing in a way that snuck up on me, when at first i just thought it was okay, interesting if a little strange, and then halfway through i realized i loved it, and then when i reached the end i didn’t even have words anymore.

this was a book about magic and queer witches and accidental murder, but it was also a book about friendship and everything was so soft and healthy and wonderful.

and the romance was beautiful, and it was described the same way as the magic, and it
queer witches and an accidental murder A.K.A. sign me tf up ✓✓✓✓✓


insta | twitter | blog | booksirens | duolingo
Maraya21 (The Reading Dragon)
Photo by Sarah Gailey

Exploding Penis(?)

*Adds to TBR*
Mar 15, 2020 rated it liked it
- finally a book with phrase “darkly funny” in the synopsis and is actually ... darkly funny (without being gross or containing commonly triggering topics)
- Just a girl gang ... doing their best
- I always welcome f/f, even unexpectedly .. and under developed
Apr 20, 2020 rated it really liked it
As I was reading the last chapter, I was thinking about what I wanted to write in my review. I was thinking how this is a story about friendship and magic. But that it is also a story about family - the kind you're raised with and the kind you chose. It's about finding love - in all the ways that love can be found. It's about doubting yourself, and feeling like a burden, but learning and growing from that and trusting that you're worthy of the support and love you are given.

And as I finished th
Jaye Berry
Mar 18, 2020 rated it really liked it
Shelves: paranormal, 2020, ya
3.5 stars??? I guess??? This was WILD but I was mostly into it.

When We Were Magic begins with a girl named Alexis accidentally killing the boy she was about to hook up with at an after-prom party. Alexis and her girl squad friend group are magic though so they cast a spell to fix it, but it backfires. When they cast another spell to fix that one, it makes everything worse. So now each girl has a piece of the dead boy to magically dispose of in hopes of fixing everything.
"It's gonna be okay,"
Michael Araujo
Jan 05, 2020 rated it really liked it
Shelves: lgbtq, magic-casters
**Originally posted on The Fandom**

Alexis has everything she could possibly want in life. She has her amazing group of friends. College is right around the corner as she counts her days to graduation day. She has magic that can help make her life easier and can even kill a boy accidentally. Wait… that was never part of the plan! When her magic goes awry, Alexis and her friends realize that they might not have that much control over their magic (and their lives) as they once thought. Together, th
Oct 04, 2020 rated it it was ok

Six witches struggle to come to terms with a murder that takes place on prom night leaving them to dispose of the body. The meaning of true friendship is put to the test as the group tries to finish off high school and deal with their true feelings towards each other.

Personal Opinion

I really loved the diversity of the girl group! Unfortunately I think I might have enjoyed this more as a teenager, but it was not for adult me at all for multiple reasons.
The five girls, plus the MC, were
consider reading this review & others on my blog here !

rep :
🔮 queer sapphic mc
🔮 bi / pan afghan-american mc / li
🔮 filipino-american mc
🔮 mc questioning gender
🔮 muslim-american mc
🔮 side mlm married characters



sapphic witches are supposed to be my thing so why is it that this didn't work out for me the way i thought it would ?

alexis was honestly the last person who should've been chosen to be the narrator. yes, i know that she's the cause of the death that forms ten
Sep 16, 2020 rated it it was amazing
4,5/5⭐ as a whole, but 5/5⭐ for emotions and feelings and everything this book represents
Emma L.
*** This review includes spoilers ***

Rating: 🌟🌟🌟 (3/5 stars).

When we were magic was one of my most anticipated releases of 2020 and it might even be one of my most anticipated books ever. Like girl gaang of witches, tight friendships, WITCHES, magic, and queer as fuck? That truly sounds like one of the best books ever. Besides, I'm always looking for books about female witches in a kind of fantasy contemporary setting but so far all the ones I've read ended up disappointing me, including this
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