Publisher: Dial (March 21, 2013)
Format: Kindle Edition
Reviewed By: Judith
You know what paranormal entity we have not yet read about, folks? Yes! You are so right! Genies. Let’s all take a deep breath and admit the three basic truths about Genies that we know already: 1. They’re awesome. 2. They grant you three wishes but something stupid always happens where they take what you wish for way too literally or for example when you say to your little sister, “God, I wish you’d be quiet and let me think!” they use that as one of the three 3. There are not nearly enough (read: none at all) books written about the coolness that is Genies. Here’s one that was cute and well written. And we don’t ask for a whole lot more than that around here.
Plot: [from the publisher] Margo McKenna has a plan of attack for everything, from landing the lead in her high school musical to dealing with her increasingly absent parents. But when she finds herself in possession of a genie’s ring and the opportunity to make three wishes, she doesn’t know what to do. Especially since Oliver–not blue-skinned, not bottle-dwelling, but a genie nonetheless–can see more than what she’s willing to show him. With one peek into her mind, he can see the wishes that even Margo herself doesn’t know she wants.
But Oliver comes with more than just mind-reading abilities, a flair for magic, and the prettiest eyes Margo’s ever seen. Someone from his past is hunting him–someone bent on killing him, along with all the other genies in the world, for the sake of honor. And as Margo soon discovers, it will take more than three wishes to save him.
A whole lot more.
Review: This is paranormal YA at its finest. Cute and endearing, The Art of Wishing gives you something to dream about but doesn’t take itself too seriously. You won’t cry, you won’t wish you could read more about the characters, and most importantly, you won’t ask for your money back. What you will do is finish reading this book with a huge grin on your face and the thought “Old school YA still does exist!” running through your head.
In a lot of ways, The Art of Wishing reminds me of books I read as a teen in the 90s. There’s a lot of action, some love, a villain, and a lot of high school shenanigans. There’s no intimate moments with the main characters and love, while abundant, is not the focal point. This is ultimately the story of what you (should you inhabit the body of a teenage girl) would do if granted three wishes. It’s a tough question for anyone to be faced with and obviously a lot of us would go for the easiest answers: fame and fortune, true love and high romance, the ability to end all war and suffering. Our heroine, Margo, however just wants to be an amazing songwriter and that’s what she gets. I adored the fact that she makes such an offbeat wish. In the end it’s a smart wish because it gives her what she most wants in life while also allowing for fame and fortune sometime in the future.
I really enjoyed the relationship between Margo and the genie, Oliver. There’s an undeniable attraction between the two but as the book progresses you begin to question if it is real or just a creation of the genie himself. A defense mechanism if you will. The nuances and mythology of genies was a fascinating read and unlike vampires, werewolves, witches, etc, it was a realm wholly untouched by mainstream YA. This allows the author to create a very unique backstory for Oliver as a result. He’s a difficult character to pin down though because his personality is constantly changing and reflecting what his masters most want to see/hear. His true personality was masked a lot throughout and it really begged the question about what we show others and what we most want to see.
The only gripe I had with this book was the ending. All I’m going to say is, “What was that?! HUH???” and leave it at that. If you haven’t read it, wait til you get to the end cause it really came out of left field for me. Maybe I am really dense and missed the signs that it would happen but the end really surprised me and not in a good way. I wasn’t too happy with the outcome and felt like it was mashed together hurriedly cause the author couldn’t figure out how to get the characters out of the predicament they were in. I mean, maybe it was
deliberate, but it just felt like all the action was jam packed in the last third of the book in order to lead up to this grand finale which left a ton of questions and loose ends. But if you like cliffhangers and the unknown, well then, you are gonna love this one!
All in all, I’m giving this 8/10. It was just plain fun!
Based on the following criteria:
How much did I like the heroine: 8. Margo knows what she wants and makes an amazing choice with her wishes. She doesn’t waste them or use them carelessly, instead really taking her time to get the wish just right. She’s a very likable heroine with a whole secondary cast of characters that she has a fun and easy rapport with
How much did I like the hero: 10. Oliver is difficult! He’s extremely sweet and sensitive and not at all whiny about the fact that he’s a genie. In fact, he seems to love being controlled by others. But the only problem is, he’s not really a real person. He’s just a reflection of his masters so it really makes it difficult to understand his character. I liked the complexity of him a lot and his subtle humor. Plus he sounds smoking hot with the ability to grant a ton of wishes. Perfect combo!
How believable is the plot: 8. It’s paranormal YA so realism isn’t the strong suit here but the world is fully realized and the genie mythology is very well laid out.
How much did I like the writing style/editing/etc: 10. This is really well written and light. I’ll dub it, YA Breezy because it flows easily from chapter to chapter and there’s nothing really that detracts from the plot and the flow of the words. No issues with editing, no issues with word choice or grammar, just a really well edited and YA Breezy book.
How much did I want to keep reading: 9. The ending doesn’t leave a lot of room for reading more but it’s engineered to make you dream about what happens next. That kind of annoyed me so I pointedly didn’t imagine what happened next and was then annoyed with the ending itself. Catch 22 Judith Style?
Final Score: 8/10. I’m not gonna lie: this is one pricey YA novel. When you’re confronted with a book that’s over $5 you gotta be in the know in terms of writing style, plot, etc. This is consistently good, well written, and entertaining. It’s not deep or life changing but it will leave you with a big old grin and some interesting new mythology. Go get it!