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When We Were Magic

3.94  ·  Rating details ·  417 ratings  ·  137 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
Published March 3rd 2020 by Simon Pulse
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Popular Answered Questions
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 3.94  · 
Rating details
 ·  417 ratings  ·  137 reviews

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Chaima ✨ شيماء
queer teen witches involved in some kind of murder? its 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, 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
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!!
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 authors short fiction. hm. yes? ...more
Star Rating: > 4.5 Stars

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 queer rep AND cultural rep... about MAGIC (which is also extremely diverse ! Each
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.

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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 dont need to apologize for being thankful for her. I dont owe her an apologyjust gratitude.
Winner of the Hugo Award for Best Fan Writer in 2018, Sarah Gaileys trajectory does not seem as though it will stop soaring any time soon. Even though Gailey only published Magic for Liars, their first full-length
Caidyn (SEMI-HIATUS; BW Reviews; 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,
☾ h a d e e r ☽
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.
queer witches and an accidental murder A.K.A. sign me tf up ✓✓✓✓✓


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anna (½ of readsrainbow)
i trust sarah w my gay life & this sounds delightful
Anna ☾
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 its 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.
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,"
Mar 16, 2020 rated it it was amazing
Shelves: favorites
did someone say magic and queer combined????????????????????? I AM HERE FOR IT!!!!!!!!
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 didnt 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
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,
Maraya21 (The Reading Dragon)
Photo by Sarah Gailey

Exploding Penis(?)

*Adds to TBR*
Amelia Oswald
This was such an amazing read !!
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 its cover scream girl power! This story is about a group of witches, like cmon!

All Alexis wanted to do on prom

When We Were Magic has one of the most explosive, most darkly funny openings Ive ever read. You definitely cant say that Gailey doesnt 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 Alexs 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 does
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.

Mar 15, 2020 rated it did not like it
This review has been hidden because it contains spoilers. To view it, click here.
Mar 08, 2020 rated it it was amazing
How much would you be willing to give up to help your dearest friend? Would you give up your dreams? Your color vision? Your memories? Your tears?

I've had a growing love for Sarah Gailey's writing ever since I read Magic for Liars and some of their short fiction. (Though I wasn't much of a fan of their hippo novellas, I must admit.) When I read their Magic for Liars I immediately felt it had a kinship with Alice Hoffman's look at sisters and magic. Not derivative mind you, but as skilled in
Mar 12, 2020 rated it liked it
This review has been hidden because it contains spoilers. To view it, click here.
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
Mar 10, 2020 rated it really liked it
Shelves: lgbt, read-in-2020
like 3.75
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 youll inevitably have to cope with them. For ...more
Mar 22, 2020 rated it really liked it
The first paragraph of the 'Acknowledgements' perfectly summarises this book:

'This book is about the friends and family that hold us together. It's about uncertainty. It's about learning to accept love and support. It's about how scary that can be, and how hard a skill it is to learn. It's a book about doing hard things unalone.'

'When we were magic' was such a light read. I absolutely loved the message this book carried, it left me with a smile on my face.
Of course, I have a few criticisms, such
Mar 09, 2020 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Every book I read by Gailey keeps showing improvement. In this one, here usual interesting high concept and world building was matched by fully fleshed out characters who all had room to breathe. Although I'm not a teenage girl (and never was), I loved the strength of the bonds between the main friend group. Sure this is a book about the power (for good and bad) of magic but it's really about the power (for good!) of friendship. As a side note, I loved the portrayal of the protagonists parents ...more
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