Spellbound: review

May 10, 2011 1 star books, cara lynn shultz, Wendy, witches 1

Spellbound
by Cara Lynn Shultz

The beginning of this book is pretty good. There’s a little bit of set up that explains Emma’s nervousness over attending an exclusive school in a new city, plus some funny one-liners that make her seem pretty likable. But on page 15, Emma meets Brendan and everything goes downhill from there, because her whole life, including the scant paranormal aspects of this book, then revolves around getting him. Here is a sketch of the story, with some spoilers.

Here’s what we know about the main characters:

The Girl

Emma is a high-school junior who lives near Central Park. She likes Brendan. A lot. Immediately after she meets him, she starts obsessing over everything he says and talks about him with literally everyone she knows. When he blows hot and cold, she gets upset. She feels “absolutely crushed” when she walks into a classroom and he’s not there.

Emma likes music and she likes to run. (This might be a metaphor.) Her daddy left when she was six and her twin brother died when she was fourteen. Then her mom got sick but found a boyfriend to marry so her daughter wouldn’t have to be alone. Emma doesn’t like to drink because she was in a car accident with her drunk step-daddy, which is why she’s now living with her aunt, who gives her money and doesn’t set a curfew. Emma is embarrassed by all this so she lies to everyone about where she came from, although she actually doesn’t seem very upset that her entire immediate family has been wiped out. None of this actually has anything to do with the story except that it explains why she is living in the most expensive city in America without a whole lot of adult supervision.

Because she has a necklace that has the same symbol as something Brendan owns and has a couple of weird dreams, Emma is sure that she and Brendan are soul mates who have been searching for each other for 1000 years. Seriously, 1000 years. But her dead twin brother occasionally pops up and makes the lights go out and warns her that their relationship is cursed. This really, really sucks, but her boyfriend is hot so there’s got to be a way to make it work. Oh! And she might also be a witch. Her witchy schoolmate looked up some information online and said so.

The Boy

Brendan lives in a multi-million dollar home in Manhattan, where he has an entire floor to himself. He is “spellbound” by Emma as soon as he sees her. He is awesome because when they’re out, he only does a couple of shots and then drinks water for the rest of the night so that she doesn’t feel uncomfortable about only having one beer. He gives her his hoodie when it’s cold, which is the sign of a true gentleman. Brendan is also a deejay (cool job) and he buys her a diamond Claddagh ring (generous guy) and picks her up in a limo (generous guy with style). When Emma feels insecure about the sneering, baby-pink-gloss-wearing Kristin who’s after him, Brendan says “Emma, don’t even compare yourself to them. It’s like comparing a diamond to…I don’t know…a booger.” He’s also really suave.

The Summary

This is essentially a book about a girl obsessed with a boy with some convenient “story-enhancing” paranormal elements thrown in. There are cartoonish teenage villains, friends who appear then disappear never to be seen again (and there is no witchcraft involved!), girls who are called sluts, and a drunk, conceited boy who tries to rape girls and hits people, then yells at them for not cooperating.

There’s also off-kilter adult behavior, repeated references to the title of the book, some really odd mentions of Martin Scorcese (which I’ll give you, but…it’s weird to also mention Thelma Schoonmaker later on for no reason), an eye-rolling climax straight out of a television movie, and most mystifying of all, the assumption that $20 will cover a night out in New York.

If you hadn’t already guessed it, in a book like this, whether your crush is ignoring you or whether there are unworthy people trying to get in your pants or whether there are Twilight Zone forces trying to keep you and your boyfriend apart, love will totally conquer all. After all, that’s pretty much the whole point of being alive. And definitely the whole point of being a woman.

Release Date: June 21, 2011

Rated 1 out of 5 stars

30-second synopsis: contains unrealistic views of the cost of living in NYC and a boy-obsessed girl who won’t let a 1000-year-old curse get the way of true obsession love. She may also be a witch. But no one’s really sure, because she doesn’t do anything. Seriously…she doesn’t do anything.


An advance copy was provided by the publisher for this review.

One Response to “Spellbound: review”

  1. candyn

    Okay, I don’t know if I’ll actually read the book, but I read your review twice. So funny!