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When We Were Magic

4.07  ·  Rating details ·  69 ratings  ·  48 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
Hardcover, 352 pages
Expected publication: March 3rd 2020 by Simon Pulse
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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. :)
Sarah Gailey It's about 6 friends! That description had a typo in it, thank you for catching it!

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Average rating 4.07  · 
Rating details
 ·  69 ratings  ·  48 reviews

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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!!
Chaima ✨ شيماء
Sarah Gailey wrote books about a queer private investigator with an acerbic sense of humor and no magical powers (Magic for Liars) and queer librarians on horseback fighting fascism (Upright Women Wanted) and now queer teen witches involved in some murder?

It's like they know all my heart's desires or something huh...
Elise (TheBookishActress)
"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?
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.


queer witches and an accidental murder A.K.A. sign me tf up


insta | twitter | blog | booksirens | duolingo
anna (½ of readsrainbow)
i trust sarah w my gay life & this sounds delightful
Sep 25, 2019 rated it liked it
Shelves: rep-wlw, arcs, rep-poc
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 when
Amber (The Book Bratz)
The full review + more can be found at The Book Bratz

*Thank you so much Simon Pulse and NetGalley for the advanced copy of WHEN WE WERE MAGIC. All thoughts and opinions are my own!*

When We Were Magic was the first book I finished in 2020 and I am so happy it is. This book is full of such a diverse cast of characters who love and support each other no matter what. Plus this book and it’s cover scream girl power! This story is about a group of witches, like c’mon!

All Alexis wanted to do on prom
Jen Ryland
Feb 12, 2020 added it
Shelves: lgbt
Wow - really enjoyed this! It was unique and interesting and very memorable.

Loved the female friendships. It had a darkly humorous tone but was also psychologically complex. It felt like magic was being used allegorically and maybe as connected to sexuality (?) will have to think on that more and look at other reviews to see if anyone agrees with me.

I do wish the magical elements had been explained a bit more, but I feel like this was more of a friendship/coming of age/coming out as queer
Sara (A Gingerly Review)
Feb 12, 2020 rated it really liked it
Shelves: 2020, physical-2020
There were so many things about this story I adored:the importance of friendship and family, and the importance of being true to yourself. Plus the wit and snark was awesome.

Feb 11, 2020 rated it liked it
I didn't hate it, but I didn't love it. The book starts off with a PUNCH and I thought it was going to be dark humor and a lot of fun...but it wasn't. I also didn't really feel a connection with any of the characters. They each get a few pages of description so the reader can "get them" but I was still getting all of them mixed up by the end.

The love story is a slow burn but you know it's coming and literally every character except the POV knows its coming which I found frustrating. But it still
Leah (Jane Speare)
Nov 19, 2019 rated it really liked it
Alexis and her friends are magic. Their magic is mysterious, enchanting, helpful...usually. But when she gets in a bind on the night of prom, her friends’ loyalties become as stretched as the upcoming summer days, and they all find themselves in the middle of a situation soaked in murky moral waters. Every teenager will benefit from reading this book. It deals with the uncertainties life discourteously throws at you, and the messy (but necessary) ways you’ll inevitably have to cope with them. ...more
Joanna Szabo
Dec 25, 2019 rated it it was amazing
When We Were Magic is about trust—not just between friends and family (though very much that too) but also between the author and reader. There were times when I wondered how this book could possibly reach a satisfying conclusion, given everything the characters go through, given all the ways they’re fractured, given this completely bonkers premise, but don’t worry—Sarah Gailey is worthy of your trust. They do things in this book that are unexpected and wild and magic, digging deep into my ...more
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
Sep 28, 2019 rated it really liked it
Thank you to Edelweiss and Simon Pulse for the opportunity to read and review When We Were Magic by Sarah Gailey.

I am sitting here debating on how to start my review. I honestly liked this novel for all the topics that it touches upon even though it is fantasy. Sarah Gailey uses her ability of writing to go beyond so much more than what is on the surface though. I liked the plot, but I liked these characters so much more. The diversity and humanity that Gailey brings to her
Feb 09, 2018 marked it as desperately-waiting-for
simon pulse if you're reading this I will give you my future first-born child for an arc
Feb 25, 2020 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Thank you to NetGalley for the opportunity to read this title. My review is my honest opinion.

When We Were Magic by Sarah Gailey. I'd previously read Magic for Liars by Sarah Gailey and became an instant fan of her writing. She has a marvelous gift for drawing the reader into the story quickly. She develops characters that I loved spending time with and has a deft hand at pacing her plot to allow the reader a chance to watch the story unfold, form opinions of the characters' actions and never
Feb 25, 2020 rated it it was amazing
Thank you to NetGalley for the opportunity to read this title. My review is my honest opinion.

When We Were Magic by Sarah Gailey. I'd previously read Magic for Liars by Sarah Gailey and became an instant fan of her writing. She has a marvelous gift for drawing the reader into the story quickly. She develops characters that I loved spending time with and has a deft hand at pacing her plot to allow the reader a chance to watch the story unfold, form opinions of the characters' actions and never
Feb 13, 2020 rated it liked it

I looooove books about queer teen witches (there's a growing number of books in this genre), so was excited for Gailey's YA debut. But this is a bit grimmer/more disturbing than the usual YA fare. We start at a prom afterparty, where our protagonist is planning on sleeping with a (male) classmate she barely knows, even though she isn’t really into him, but then he explodes. So she calls in her crew of gal pals, because they’re all MAGIC, and they have to

When We Were Magic has one of the most explosive, most darkly funny openings I’ve ever read. You definitely can’t say that Gailey doesn’t know how to throw you straight into the action.

The book follows Alexis and her five closest friends as they deal with the fallout from a little accidental magical murder. The number of main characters — plus Alex’s dads and brother, plus a handful of side characters — meant that it look me a little while to initially get a handle on each of the girls. Gailey
Feb 25, 2020 rated it it was amazing
Shelves: arcs
When We Were Magic was such an enjoyable read from start to finish. From the writing style, to the plot, to the characters, everything felt both deliberate and like it had a certain kind of flow. It was relatable both in terms of the mundane teenage worries and the larger, more abstract worries that marginalized people face.

Alexis, Roya, Marcelina, Paulie, Iris, and Maryam are six unique girls bonded together by their magic abilities. I cannot gush enough about how well developed each of these
Molly - Baltimore Bibliophile
When We Were Magic tells a magical tale of independence, sisterhood, and growth among 5 female witches in high school. With a first line that will hook you, a first chapter that will blow your mind (literally), and a a magic system that is so unique. The MC Alexis goes through a devastating event, and a journey to set things right while also dealing with life as a high school senior who is secretly in love with one of her best friends. This standalone novel flows so nicely that I read it ...more
Feb 19, 2020 rated it really liked it
Thanks to Netgalley and Simon and Schuster for the advance Kindle copy of this book. All opinions are my own.

/5 for this 3.3.20 release. Alexis and her best friends have a BIG secret in common: they are magic, each in their own unique way. When a prom-night rendezvous ends up killing a guy, the group has to find a way to either hide the body or bring him back. There’s a lot of diversity in this book and a ton of character development; the actual premise of how the guy dies lands this one firmly
Chelsea (chelseadolling reads)
Feb 24, 2020 rated it really liked it
Shelves: queer, 2020-releases
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
Jan 17, 2020 rated it really liked it
When we were magic is the best type of speculative fiction. It experiments by giving this group of teens a twist, magical ability, and examines their lives in that context. The magic and the death of Josh are just vehicles that let the readers experience the complex bonds between a set of young people.
There were a few spoilery points that didn't quite feel authentic, but they weren't enough to mar the overall enjoyment of the story.
Maraya21 (The Reading Dragon)
Photo by Sarah Gailey

Exploding Penis(?)

*Adds to TBR*
Michael Araujo
Jan 05, 2020 rated it really liked it
Shelves: magic-casters, lgbt
**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,
Feb 21, 2020 rated it really liked it
Shelves: kindle, edelweiss
3.5 stars
Feb 04, 2020 rated it it was amazing
I loved it. I loved it. I loved it.
Jan 24, 2020 rated it liked it
Shelves: ebook
It was fine. The stakes felt too low but the friendship love was wholesome and good. I always enjoy Sarah Gailey’s vision of magic. 3.5?
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