I received this book for free from Publisher in exchange for an honest review. This does not affect my opinion of the book or the content of my review.Secondhand Charm by Julie Berry
Also by this author: All the Truth That's in Me, The Scandalous Sisterhood of Prickwillow Place, The Passion of Dolssa
Published by Bloomsbury Publishing USA on 2010-10-12
Genres: Fantasy & Magic, Love & Romance, Young Adult
Buy on Amazon
In a secluded village, magic sparkles on the edges of the forest. There, a young girl named Evie possesses unusually strong powers as a healer. A gypsy's charms-no more than trinkets when worn by others-are remarkably potent when Evie ties them around her neck. Her talents, and charms, have not escaped the notice of the shy stonemason's son. But Evie wants more than a quiet village and the boy next-door. When the prince's carriage arrives one day, and his footman has fallen ill, Evie might just get her chance after all . . . Berry's debut novel garnered glowing reviews and strong sales-and now she's done it again with a beautifully woven tale to keep all readers, young and old, absolutely charmed.
Maundley is putting on a celebration for the king. As the king comes to the celebration, the town is in a whirlwind. Evie, a young (read: teenage) resident, impresses the king with her academic prowess. Her good luck and skills help land her a full ride scholarship to the university provided by the king. What ensues in Secondhand Charm by Julie Berry, is adventure, as Evie journeys toward the University. As for matters of the heart, Evie is at a crossroads where she must choose between the one who is familiar or the one who is royal and can give her anything she desires.
Ultimately, Secondhand Charm by Julie Berry culminates into an incredibly charming story with mythology, that to me, was reminiscent of Marion Zimmer Bradley. As you know, one of the hallmarks of Marion Zimmer Bradley is powerful, magical women. This felt like MZB for YA. That is a huge compliment. Granted, this was only 299 pages (ARC), but it’s a great story. What is examined is luck and charms vs. skills. There is a new magic system called serpentine magic, which I won’t elaborate on because it’s best to discover all this while you read Secondhand Charm by Julie Berry.
Evie is my favorite kind of female lead character. She’s a bit self-conscious. She’s academic, and cares about her family. she is loyal. Evie also possesses a sense of adventure. I love well-rounded characters. With fantasy, I feel that sometimes characterization gets sacrificed for the great grand plot (this isn’t always the case, but I do run into it from time to time). While Evie wasn’t quite fully realized, I thought on the whole, her characterization was quite magnificent.
I very much enjoyed the supporting cast of characters, from feisty town leader Widow Moreau, to a certain character I refuse to name because that would be a spoiler, to sweet and noble Aiden. Also, sidebar, why are most Aidens nice guys? (Think: SATC). I really think the side characters do help make or break a story, and with Secondhand Charm, I loved all of the quirks.
Secondhand Charm is a short book. Also, it is comprised of 49 chapters, and as we all know, books with shorter chapters just read faster (or is that just me?). If you are looking for a rare STANDALONE young adult fantasy, look no further than Secondhand charm for an overall pleasant reading experience.