Love Sugar Magic: A Dash Of Trouble by Anna Meriano (W/ Cover art by Mirelle Ortega)
Publisher: Walden Pond Press
Release Date: January 2, 2018
Summary:Leonora Logroño’s family owns the most beloved bakery in Rose Hill, Texas, spending their days conjuring delicious cookies and cakes for any occasion. And no occasion is more important than the annual Dia de los Muertos festival.
Leo hopes that this might be the year that she gets to help prepare for the big celebration—but, once again, she is told she’s too young. Sneaking out of school and down to the bakery, she discovers that her mother, aunt, and four older sisters have in fact been keeping a big secret: they’re brujas—witches of Mexican ancestry—who pour a little bit of sweet magic into everything that they bake.
Leo knows that she has magical ability as well and is more determined than ever to join the family business—even if she can’t let her mama and hermanas know about it yet.
And when her best friend, Caroline, has a problem that needs solving, Leo has the perfect opportunity to try out her craft. It’s just one little spell, after all…what could possibly go wrong?
My Thoughts: Love Sugar Magic is a delightful and magical novel that follows Leo as she discovers the mysteries and magic within her family + their beloved bakery. There’s baking, delicious treats, themes of family, friendship & identity as Leo uncovers the magic that has been kept secret!
Love Sugar Magic was my 1st full 5-star read of 2018! Its a truly magical and unforgettable novel & easily one of the best middle-grade novels I’ve ever read! ❤
Leonora (or Leo) Logroño comes from a family of bakers. For generations, the women in her family (great-abuela, abuela, aunt, mother & now sisters) have gotten into the business of running the Amor y Azúcar Panadería.
With the bakery being the most beloved in their town of Rose Hill, Texas, Leo has dreamed of the day she will finally be able to help out, especially with the Día de los Muertos festival happening in town the next day. With her 4 older sisters: Marisol, Isabel & the twins Alma & Belén, always asked to help with the baking each year, Leo figures that’s all about to change.
She’s always felt left out of the family business with her sisters + mother always saying she isn’t old enough. However, not being able to take part in such an important family tradition leaves her feeling not only upset, sad + confused, but also suspicious as to what her family is keeping from her.
After discussing with her best friend, Caroline Cambell, on the way to school, she conjures a plan to sneak her way into the bakery to see what her family may be hiding from her.
Finally inside the bakery, she hides from her family and sees a special initiation. Unsure of what it could mean, she believes its best to go back to the source (the bakery) & find more clues.
Isabel, her oldest sister, soon discovers Leo snooping around in one of the offices & finds a special recipe book, it gets revealed that all the women in her family are brujas.
Not long after this bonding moment with Isabel, Leo decides to try out the magic for herself and that’s where the trouble begins.
Now Leo’s other sisters soon figure out about her powers, but as Leo continues to lie about her experimentation with magic, she finds herself getting into some pretty sticky situations. They lies and & trouble she gets into build, until she accepts she has important choices to make and be honest with herself + her family.
Meriano delivers such depth in this novel from the development to the characters, magic system, and themes of family, family legacy, friendship, and discovering who you are.
I found myself in love with each and every aspect of Love Sugar Magic. Being Latina myself, I connected w/ the Mexican-American Rep., traditions of Día de los Muertos, the recipes of the panaderia, and so much more! Regardless of age, there was just countless elements to this middle-grade novel that I easily connected to and it made feel at home.
The magic system was easily one of my favorite aspects of this novel. Introduced to Leo through her older sister Isabel, we learn not only the basis of how it applies to the bakery, but also just how complex it really is. Not only through the importance of being specific with spells, but how unique + different it is for each member of the family (even to how it applies specifically to Leo as the 5th sister!). The depth to this system was so brilliantly done & I loved how Meriano expanded on it from the beginning to the very end.
The theme and importance of family is such a huge part of this novel and you can sense it with each page, from the family traditions of the bakery, Leo’s dynamics with her sisters, to how Leo’s actions + decisions with her magic are done because of her family.
I adored this book so much & am so happy that other Latinx readers will be able to connect to this novel just as much as I did! I laughed, smiled, cried, and felt so connected to Leo & her journey not only to feel closer to her family, but also to see her learn on her own and understand that when moments get to difficult, its important to remember that your family will always be their to guide you.
Love Sugar Magic: A Dash Of Trouble is a enchanting and beautifully written middle-grade novel! Throughout the novel Mariano weaves in spells, family, and friendship. Leo’s growth and journey delivers a special kind of magic itself that readers will easily connect with. Delightful, sweet, and magical, Meriano’s novel is a must read!