Book Review

Book Review: Just Like Magic by Sarah Hogle

Rating: ★★★★
Audience: Holiday Romance
Length: 368 pages
Author: Sarah Hogle
Publisher: Putnam
Release Date: October 4th, 2022
Image & Other Reviews on: Goodreads


Bettie Hughes once knew the comfort of luxury, flaunting a ridiculous collection of designer shoes and a stealthy addiction to CBD oils. That is, until her parents snipped her purse strings. Long obsessed with her public image, Bettie boasts an extravagant lifestyle on social media. But the reality is: Bettie is broke and squatting in Colorado, and her family has no idea.

Christmas, with its pressure to meet familial expectations, is looming when a drunk Bettie plays a vinyl record of “All I Want for Christmas Is You” backwards and accidentally conjures Hall, an unexpectedly charming Holiday Spirit in the form of a man. Once the shock wears off, Bettie knows she’s stumbled upon the greatest gift: a chance to make all her holiday wishes come true, plus a ready-made fiancé.

But as the wiles of magic lose their charm, Bettie finds herself set off-kilter by Hall’s sweet gestures. Suddenly, Bettie is finding her heart merry and light. But the happier she gets, the shorter Hall’s time on earth grows. Can Bettie channel the Christmas spirit and learn to live with goodwill toward all men? Or will her selfish ways come back as soon as the holidays are over?

From the author of Twice Shy comes a sprightly Christmas novel, a rollicking romp through the absurdity of family holidays and the hope of new love.


Oh my goodness, this book was wholly different than any other holiday read I have come across before. And I adored it???

We have a completely unlikable main character who has some major growth and things to work through. Enter in the book personification of Buddy the Elf and you have the love interest, Hall. I liked these two together! The reverse grump / sunshine trope worked perfectly here and I thought the ending was sweet.

Plot wise, I can’t say much was going on that I could gather. It’s a bit scattered for awhile and yet I burst out laughing more than once. The quips and one liners and all of the name drops somehow fit right in. The quirkyness of the story allowed a lot of free flow.

The spirit of the holiday season was brought to life. I loved many of the second half sentiments and now I feel like I am ready for all things Christmas after this book. Perfect for the season if you’re looking for something lighter and fun.

Overall audience notes:

  • Contemporary Holiday Romance
  • Language: a little
  • Romance: kissing
  • Trigger/Content Warnings: brief mentions of psychological abuse from a previous relationship

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