Rating: Significant Shortcomings
Reading/Interest Level: Young Adult
Author: Lori Goldstein
Publisher: Feiwel and Friends
Azra knows that when she turns sixteen she will be able to use her Jinn powers. However, since her best friend died when they were younger and magic couldn’t save her, Azra doesn’t want to be a Jinn. She doesn’t get along with the sisterhood of Jinn her age, and granting wishes is more complicated than she had expected. As she gets used to her magic, she starts to learn about the secrets of the powerful Afrit, the Jinn ruling class, and that her magic is different and more dangerous than the magic of her Jinn sisters. She has to learn how to grant wishes, keep the secrets of her magic powers, work at her first job, and decide between the boy next door and the lifeguard. Most of all, she has to learn that there is always a trick to the Jinn powers and living her life the way she wants to will put the people she cares about in danger.
Becoming Jinn contains many YA clichés. The love triangle feels unnecessary, the character is born with unique magic powers that are better than the magic powers of others, and Azra spends a lot of time complaining about her life. Most of the secondary characters who should be more important are not well-developed. In some ways, the book feels like a magical dystopian where Azra tries to figure out the strange rules about why she has to live her life according to the Afrit, but in this book she is mostly angry about it instead of trying to find solutions. The book discusses death and acceptance of death, but the end message of grief being magically erased does not feel accurate or wise, even with the magical perspective of the characters. Although the idea is intriguing and fun to read, it does not stand out in young adult fantasy.
*Mild language, sexual content, and some substance abuse.