Book Review: SECOND CHANCES by Victoria Schwab (Middle Grade Monday)

Title in flowing white against purples and blue
Genre: Contemporary
Age Range: MG
Star Rating: 4 stars
Series: yes - second book

*SPOILER ALERT: may contain SPOILERS for NEW BEGINNINGS*

Synopsis:

Book cover for EVERYDAY ANGEL: The outline of an angel against a blue sky above a few houses with windows. The title in swirling yellow

There’s more to Aria than meets the eye. She’s a guardian angel. And to earn her wings, she’ll have to help three different girls. . . .

This time, Aria comes to Caroline Mason. At her all-girls’ prep school, Caroline is being bullied. She eats lunch alone and is picked on by her classmates every day. The ringleader of the mean girls is Lily Pierce. But Lily isn’t an ordinary bully: she used to be Caroline’s best friend.

When Aria arrives, she can see Caroline is suffering. But, to Aria’s surprise, so is Lily. What is the story behind Lily’s cruel actions? And can Aria help guide Caroline out of the darkness . . . and into better, brighter future?

Synopsis taken from Goodreads. Add to your shelves here.


Review:

This sequel is just as delightful as the first book. I raced through it in an evening, wanting to know how the seemingly impossible task of helping two girls would be achieved – particularly considering helping one of them risked hurting the other.

There is less magic in SECOND CHANCES compared to NEW BEGINNINGS, which helped differentiate two. Plus it felt like Aria learnt more about people because she also wasn’t learning about her minor magic could do. If it weren’t for the magical tree house (who doesn’t want it?), it would feel like a pretty normal contemporary about middle school.

I liked the nuance in Lily also being in need of Aria’s help. Lily is hurting, and she’s taken the wrong way to let that out – not that it is excused. Lots of books just leave the bullies as mean kids (sometimes with why) but this doesn’t.

I could really feel Aria’s surprise when she discovered she needed to help Lily too, which set up Aria’s character development for the book. As she’s so new to life, she sees things pretty black and white, and this book forces her out of that mindset, particularly as she sees her actions drifting towards trying to get petty revenge early on.


Read my reviews of other books by Victoria Schwab:

Middle Grade:

Everyday Angel (this series):

City of Ghosts:

Young Adult:

The Archived:

Standalones:

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