My Rating: 5 Stars
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?
Beware spoilers ahead!
Trigger warning: Death mentioned, mention of cancer, bullying, physical violence, and abuse of magic powers.
A Dash of Trouble was read for the theme January Jam Jar. For a book group called Devour Your TBR on GR.
Leo’s family runs a bakery. As she is too young Leo isn’t allowed to partake in the bakery activities. Leo soon realizes that there might in fact be another reason to it. With the help of her best friend Caroline, Leo discovers that her family are practicing magic!
Behind her families back Leo begins to practice magic on her own. Leo decides to use her first spell to help Caroline. Rather than doing any good Leo instead creates a big mess. Can Leo right her mistakes with the help of her family and Caroline?
I heard about A Dash of Trouble through Twitter. The cover and the synopsis was cute so I decided to purchase myself a copy. I am happy to say that I loved it! The book is written in third person limited following Leo. There are chapter titles, and chapter numbers along with an illustration. There are poems. The spells were mostly in Spanish. At the end of the book there’s a section labeled Leo’s Lucky Recipes. And lastly baking similes.
This was such a cute book! While also being unique. I loved the magic system and how the baking was involved. All the baking terminology and process was accurate. I also liked how present the culture was even in the spells!
I loved the family aspect! Leo is very close with her family. I liked how unique all the sisters’ were. Isabel the kind oldest and calm one. Marisol the second oldest while a bit rude still caring in her own way. Alma and Belen the twins who are the closest in age to Leo. Thus are a bit closer. I also liked Leo’s parents and aunt Paloma.
Leo and Caroline’s friendship was also well done! Caroline’s mother passed away due to cancer prior to the book. Sometime after that Caroline and her father moved. The family returns back home. And it’s like no time has passed at all between the girl’s. There’s also Brent whom I took some time to warm up to. Regardless he grew on me.
I absolutely loved the diversity! Leo’s family are Spanish. There culture is present in their magic, as the women are Bruja’s. Caroline is half Colombian. She helps Leo translate some spells. The book actually begins with The Day of the Dead festival.
I felt that the author wrote realistic middle graders. All the social problems even felt so. Especially with Brent and the peer pressure he felt in leaving Caroline. Which also ties in to the magic mishaps. Leo decides to put a love spell on Brent so he would go back to being friends with Caroline. Of course this doesn’t end well. And it effects the social hierarchy system.
I really liked Leo’s growth! Throughout the book Leo believes she can solve the problem on her own. In doing so she lies to her family and Caroline. Even to herself. All under the assumption that if her family found out rather than helping her they would stop her from using magic. Leo sees the error in her ways and confesses to everyone. While also owning up to her mistakes.
Overall I loved A Dash of Trouble! I highly recommend this series.