Love Sugar Magic: A Dash of Trouble

"What's the point of having magic if you can't use it to fix things?" Eleven-year-old Leo Logroño has spent her life trying to catch up to her four older sisters. Her family's bakery, Amor y Azúcar Panadería (Love and Sugar Bakery), has hosted the local Día de los Muertos festival "for as long as there had been a Rose Hill, Texas, to celebrate it," but, much to Leo's chagrin, she will once again be left out of prepping for the festivities. This year's festival has a tent she's forbidden to enter and whispers in Spanish that everyone knows she doesn't understand. Determined to uncover the secrets and not be left out any longer, Leo goes snooping and discovers that the women in her family are all brujas (witches). Their magic "comes from the magic of sweetness; sweetness from love and sweetness from sugar" and training begins when a Logroño girl turns 15. But then Leo's best friend gets in trouble. Leo finds the family recipe/spell book and sets out to use magic to save the day.

First in a promising new series, A Dash of Trouble by Anna Meriano is refreshingly fantastical, marrying the realistic lives of Leo's Texan ,Mexican-American family with "love and sweetness"-based witchcraft. Leo's lack of formal training results in some hilarious--and regrettable--high jinks, as the rules of magic slowly unfold. Inspired readers can even try their hand at a few of the Logroños' (magical) recipes scattered (in both Spanish and English) throughout. While the root of the Logroño family's magic is all the same, each sister's distinct power makes her a formidable force on her own. Full of spirit and humor, A Dash of Trouble truly is love, sugar and magic. --Kyla Paterno, former children's and YA book buyer

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