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Literature / Bras and Broomsticks

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Bras and Broomsticks is a teenage novel by Sarah Mlynowski, revolving around the life of Rachel Weinstein and her younger sister Miri who is a witch.The sequel, Frogs and French Kisses, is about a love spell Miri accidentally put on Rachel's crush's brother, Rachel becomes a witch at the end., and the third book, Spells and Sleeping Bags, is about Rachel at summer camp dealing with a malelovent witch who turns out to be her cousin. The fourth book, Parties and Potions, is about Rachel discovering the secret world of witches.



  • A-Cup Angst: Rachel, full speed.
  • Alpha Bitch: London Zeal in Bras and Broomsticks and Frogs and French Kisses. She graduated before Spells and Sleeping Bags and is replaced by Cassandra Morganstein in Parties and Potions. Liana in Spells and Sleeping Bags.
  • Blithe Spirit: Wendaline in Parties and Potions. While Rachel is desperately trying to keep her magic a secret, Wendaline wishes to be open about hers.
  • Compelling Voice: Carol very briefly uses this to get Liana to tell her where her mother Sasha is so they can sort out their issues.
  • Cute Witch: Miri and eventually Rachel.
  • Crystal Ball: Liana has one, but she simply used it to spy on Rachel.
  • Despair Event Horizon: Rachel crosses it in Spells and Sleeping Bags. After having been bullied by her from the day they met for several weeks, Liana finally pushes Rachel over after getting Allison kicked out, making out with Raf and convincing Rachel she was hallucinating, making a camper and a counselor kiss in front of the whole camp which almost gets them kicked out, and most heart-wrenchingly, turning Miri against Rachel, she finally gets Rachel to switch bodies with her. She further pushes Rachel past the DEH when she reveals that she has no intentions of giving Rachel her life back,and if not for Miri finally seeing through Liana's lies, she may not have gotten her life back again.
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  • Embarrassing First Name: Carolanga aka Carol Graff, Rachel and Miri's mother.
  • Equivalent Exchange: If someone uses magic to get something, that thing will be taken from wherever it comes from. For example, Miri multiplies an orange to give to the homeless, but there is an orange shortage in stores in the area.
  • Evil Former Friend: Not so much evil as she is bitchy, Juliana aka Jewel. She takes this Up to Eleven in Frogs and French Kisses when she's clearly enjoying London's bullying of Rachel.
  • Fair-Weather Friend: Jewel to Rachel. They're gung ho in the first book when Rachel is A-List due to her (magically acquired) dancing skills earning her a spot in the fashion show, but when Rachel's mother cancels out the dancing spell which results in Rachel performing abysmally at the final show, Jewel ditches her for Melissa and the A-List again.
  • Flying Broomstick: Witches in this universe use their Mind over Matter powers to fly on broomsticks.
  • Grand Theft Me: Happens in Spells and Sleeping Bags. Liana slowly drives Rachel to despair in order to trick her into a body swapping spell. Liana's endgame is that she gets to live with a loving mother and sister and Rachel gets sent to a shitty boarding school and a mother that hardly pays attention to her.
  • Hot Witch: With as much as Rachel plays up her attractiveness, Melissa will eventually become this.
  • I Just Want to Be Special: Rachel spends most of the first two books angst-ing over not having her powers yet. Melissa is revealed to be in this same position in Parties and Potions.
  • Impostor Exposing Test: In Spells and Sleeping Bags, Liana-as-Rachel is asked a math question. Rachel, who is shown to have amazing mental math skills would have been able to answer immediately. Liana tries to count with her fingers, alerting Miri that she's not really Rachel.
  • Long-Lost Relative: Liana to Rachel and Miri. She's their cousin, the daughter of their aunt Sasha who their mother hardly talks about.
  • Mage Species: Being a witch is portrayed as a cross between genetic abilities and being an ethnicity.
  • Mind Manipulation: A spell exists for this, but Liana couldn't use it to make Rachel switch bodies with her.
  • Mind over Matter: One of the powers witches can use. There is an exercise Miri teaches Rachel in the third book called 'megels', which is her using her 'raw will' to lift objects, hold them in place, then lower them.
  • Muggle-and-Magical Love Triangle: In the fourth book, Rachel has one between her human boyfriend Raf and a warlock named Adam.
  • Muggle–Mage Romance: Rachel and Raf. He turns out to be an Understanding Boyfriend after being told about it.
  • Non-P.O.V. Protagonist: The first book is mostly about Miri getting her powers, but is in the point of view of Rachel.
  • Omniglot: Rachel and Miri take the Babel potion in Parties and Potions to learn the ancient witch language Brixta. The potion has evolved to the point where it grants the user knowledge of ALL languages in the world.
  • OOC Is Serious Business: Rachel notices Miri growing more and more withdrawn during the summer in Spells and Sleeping Bags. It's also due to this trope that in the same book Miri realized that Liana really did force Rachel to switch bodies with her.
  • Puberty Superpower: Magic abilities seem to be this. Miri gets powers before Rachel and is said to also have been an early bloomer in terms of puberty.
  • Rite of Passage: The Samsorta.
  • Single Girl Seeks Most Popular Guy: Rachel and Raf. Raf genuinely likes Rachel and is very understandably upset when she stands him up for Spring Fling in Bras and Broomsticks then starts dating his brother (via a love spell gone wrong) in Frogs and French Kisses. They start dating at the end of Spells and Sleeping Bags and are still together with Raf knowing about Rachel's powers at the end of Parties and Potions.
  • Speaking Simlish: Brixta, the ancient witch language.
  • Spot the Imposter: At the end of Spells and Sleeping Bags. Rachel has been tricked into switching bodies with Liana. Liana almost gets away with it, if not for Rachel and Miri's mother asking her a simple math question that Rachel would get right immediately. This helps Miri realize that Rachel was telling the truth and that Liana tricked her into the switch.
  • Squishy Wizard: Magic does not make witches invincible. They can still easily be injured just like a regular human.
  • Telepathy: In the second book, Carol (Rachel and Miri's mother) reveals that witches can read other people's minds.
  • The Call Put Me on Hold: Parties and Potions reveals that Melissa comes from a witch family, but still hasn't gotten her powers. She's fifteen.
  • Utility Magic: There are spells for almost anything, from transportation to changing the color of a dress.
  • Understanding Boyfriend: Raf when Rachel reveals her powers at the end of Parties and Potions.
  • Vain Sorceress: Rachel's mother becomes this for some time in Frogs and French Kisses. Liana and her mother Sasha as well.
  • Wicked Witch: Liana is a teenage version of this towards Rachel.