Chance César has been different ever since his earliest memories where he had strutted around the house in his mother’s high heels, but how that he’s a senior in high school, he is starting to question who he really is. When he meets the gorgeous Jasper Donohue at the annual pumpkin carving contest, he creates a plan to win his heart following a ten step article he finds online. But making Jazz fall in love with him isn’t as easy as he thought, and with Jazz seemingly ignoring his advances, Chance worries that Jazz won’t like him for who he is, and with the pressure of fitting into a label Chance wonders who Jazz wants him to be.
When I saw that this book involved a character who was both gender fluid and gay I knew I had to read this book. It’s extremely difficult to find a YA love story that doesn’t involve a straight cis couple so reading a romance novella that was neither of these things was a breath of fresh air. Chance is extremely camp and flamboyant, and although he fits into the gay stereotype to a T, he is an extremely likeable and funny character. Although Chance expresses his feelings on not feeling like he fits into one gender, I felt that like Chance himself, gender fluid was not the correct term for what he was despite the blurb stating that. Although Chance wears make up it is always clear what gender he is, as he never goes so far as to wear feminine clothes or even talk about that being a thing he wants to do. To me Chance seemed like he constantly wanted to be a male but sometimes wanted to look a little more feminine rather than identifying as female, as Chance says that he doesn’t ever allow anyone to call him by female pronouns.
I was slightly disappointed that the book didn’t involve more about gender fluidity, as the main plot of the story is Chance trying to get a boy who goes to his school to fall in love with him. I did however enjoy the chase, as Chance trying to flirt was hilarious, especially as he was following an online article on how to get a man to fall in love with you word for word. I felt that an important point the book made was to be yourself, as once Chance stopped lying to Jazz he started to like him more.
Although the book is a novella I still would have liked to have seen more of Jazz’s personality. We learn the moment Chance meets him that Jazz is amazing at carving pumpkins, but his creativity isn’t mentioned again at any point in the book. I would have loved to have seen more of Jazz’s creative side such as him drawing, painting or sculpting. Although Jazz is extremely busy with school and looking after his little sister, it still would have been possible for him to draw or paint while babysitting. As he tells Chance that he carved the pumpkin for his little sister, it would have made sense if he had also created drawings for her.
I was confused at some points in the story, such as Jazz almost full out telling Chance in the library that he liked him, but Chance being almost oblivious to this. As a character who was meant to be smart, I thought it was strange that Chance didn’t catch on.
I wasn’t a huge fan of Emily, as she seemed quite judgemental, especially with telling Jazz to leave Chance alone when he was trying to be friendly and telling Chance that Jazz was dumb. From what we learn about Jazz, the reason his grades seem to be slipping is because of having to spend a large amount of time running errands for his mother and babysitting his sister leaving him no time to study. Jazz is also extremely talented in pumpkin carving, so Emily insisting he is “dumb” is obviously her judging Jazz without knowing anything about him.
I felt that the book could have gone on a little longer as I would have loved to have seen how Chance and Jazz’s relationship progressed. I think that an epilogue would have been a good idea to tie up loose ends such as if Emily got into Julliard and if Chance and Jazz’s relationship would have survived once they had graduated high school. Although I did enjoy the book and loved the gay romance story, I felt that the promise of a gender fluid character fell a little short.
Love Spell is now available to purchase!