3.5 starsThis is a good book, and I do recommend it. The world is fantastically original, the characters are (mostly) interesting and not annoying. The novel flows from beginning to end without any of those jarring plot holes that I find so prevalent in many YA novels. The prose is overall descriptive without going over the top.That being said, there are a few things in this book that I just could not reconcile with.1) There is a fair amount of the narrative where the author is telling us things about Sera that would be best left to unfolding within the story. For instance, regarding the complex relationship Sera has with her father she says, "Two loose strands of hair have escaped my bobby pin. One is dyed purple. [My father] hasn't noticed it yet. I wonder when he will and how long he will ground me when he does. At least, eventually, it will make him see me." And then, "Ray puts an awkward hand on my shoulder. He doesn't normally show affection toward me, so this is a breakthrough." It isn't necessary to TELL us why she dyed her hair or that her father doesn't normally show affection toward her. It's already obvious from the other clues the author left us. (This is just one example. There are others, but in the interest of saving space, the readers will have to discover them for themselves.)2) Some of the dialog could use some polish. It's not ALL bad. I want to emphasize that. But some of it was stilted. "She's evil, like the devil," I say, looking at M."How dare you! Leave!" M. screams, pointing to the door.3) The final and most cringeworthy thing to me was how the author personified Gabe's character. This is the one that I kept wishing had been edited from the book over and over again. Let me just say, Gabe is gay. He is probably the most gay and stereotyped character I've ever read. I'm sure (because why would it be otherwise?) that the author meant him to be comic relief. The way she writes him leads me to believe that he is probably one of her favorite characters. But he is SO OVER THE TOP. Let me just give a few examples (emphasis mine):"It's my job to make sure everyone is having a FABULOUS time!" he explains WITH A FLIP OF HIS HAND.When we catch up with him, he's PRIMPING in a nearby mirror, crunching his light yellow curls. He swings around to face us. "Sorry, just a maintenance check."Gabe's character, who shows up a third of the way into the book, and is mentioned in about 6 or 7 scenes in the book. Not a main character to be sure. He says the word Fabulous 6 times, and 3 of them are made up phrases like "Gabe-fabulous" "super-fabulous" and "fab-rageous!". He "flutters", "plies like a ballerina" and perches. He "can't reign in his dramatics for long".Maybe others will find this part of the book amusing, but I just couldn't. There are several things I didn't understand, but wouldn't rate a book lower for. For instance, why is it necessary to tell us how she burned her mouth on the cheese pizza and wouldn't be able to taste the rest of her meal? Why does her father, Ray, show up in the middle of book, unannounced, and disappear just as quickly? There is no reason for it in the story, so far as I can figure. Why does there have to be a blonde bitch who picks on her? Why does she INSIST on calling her dad Ray and her mom Eliza? Why not just call them Mom and Dad? It's not like her dad is a horrible dad and she has to call him Dad anyway. So why confuse the readers by going back and forth between the two. And even that doesn't explain how she refers to her mom.Why is there a fire alarm at a magical school? If Terease had to argue with the Fire Chief about them going in the building, then why would they have one?Why would she call Mona a good parental figure when the woman just gave her permission to wander, at NIGHT, through a city she is unfamiliar with, BY HERSELF? I just don't get it.I will read this author again, for sure, but maybe a different series.