If magic was real, it would be exactly the way this book describes.
We open with Bridger, who is in the middle of answering a craigslist ad for a job. Bridger wants to go away for college. He wants to leave suburban Michigan and start fresh somewhere else, where he can figure out what his giant crush on his new, football playing neighbor means without worrying about being judged by the people he’s known all his life, even his best friend. But college is expensive; more than his single mom can afford. So Bridger has decided to get a job to start saving money to supplement loans and (hopefully) scholarships.
Which brings Bridger to a plain looking house with the instructions, “enter through the blue door.” But the front door isn’t blue. In fact, the only blue door on the outside of the house is a small door on an upper floor balcony. After a sweaty, exhausting climb, Bridger finds himself hired for a well paying but very odd job as an assistant to Pavel Chudinov.
Bridger tries to ignore the incorporeal voices, acidic goop, and other oddities of the house, but he can’t ignore being attacked in the lake during a beach day his crush, Leo, invited him to. Though he lies about what he saw when surrounded by concerned friends, Bridger confronts Pavel the next time he is at work. Pavel reveals that yes, Bridger was indeed attacked by a mermaid. But it shouldn’t have happened. The world of myth and legend does in fact exist, but something is going wrong with it. Pavel recruits Bridger to help him find the source of the increasing attacks and incorrectly timed migrations.
This book is hilarious, heartfelt, and romantic in all the ways that count. Pavel, acting as the classic grumpy old magician, leads Bridger into interactions with Myths that are as hilarious as they are dangerous. Bridger’s determination not to come out until he leaves Michigan, combined with his need to lie about his job, causes a rift between himself and his best friend that begs questions about found family, trust, and honesty. And in Leo, Bridger finds temptation that turns into an epic love story for the ages.
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