Thursday, August 8, 2013

Review: The Art of Wishing by Linsday Ribar

He can grant her wishes, but only she can save his life.

Margo McKenna has a plan for just about everything, from landing the lead in her high school play to getting into a good college. So when she finds herself in possession of a genie's ring and the chance to make three wishes, she doesn't know what to do. Why should she put her life into someone else's hands?

But Oliver is more than just a genie -- he's also a sophomore at Margo's high school, and he's on the run from a murderer. As he and Margo grow closer, she discovers that it will take more than three wishes to save him.

A whole lot more.

Hardcover, 314 pages

Published March 21st 2013 by Dial Books For Young Readers 
(info grabbed from GoodReads)

As I had recently read quite a few Victorian set gothic YAs, The Art of Wishing was like a breath of fresh air -- but not just any breath of fresh air.  This air had the sweet scent of spring flowers on it; lilacs and marigolds floating along the breeze into my senses.  There was sweetness to this story that I hadn’t encountered in awhile, and it was much welcomed.  With a great story and lively characters, this is a book you can’t pass up.

Our main character, Margo is filled with a life not often seen.  She has an energy emanating from her words that is tangible and gives the reader the sense that you can reach out to touch her.  She is an example of a character made perfect by her imperfections; she has very real emotions like jealousy and anger and longing, and she is incredibly relatable because of it.  In a book involving a genie, she holds her own with her unique form of magic: her personality. 

The Art of Wishing stands out from the world of YA by being familiar, and playing with those familiar tropes.  This is not the first YA book with absent parents, but I felt that the way that the parents had an effect on Margo and the plot was a new twist on the old trope.  Margo has to grow and accept within herself her own anger at her family, something I haven’t seen in another book as of yet.  It didn’t feel like the author was simply trying to get the parents out of the way for the story to continue without the issues of parents standing in the way.  It was tied into the story, making it a real issue for Margo and us as readers.  

Another way this book stands out involves its choice of paranormal entity: genies.  For one, genies are not plastered all over the world of YA like vampires, werewolves, witches, and mermaids.  Zombies are becoming quite popular as well.  Genies so far haven’t stepped over that “Omg this is every other book right now” line.  Beyond not being an overly used creature, the author actually addresses the complications of a human having a relationship with a genie.  Margo has legitimate hesitations and thoughts about having a relationship with a genie that I felt were deeper than any other book I’ve read.  I thought her reactions to some of the quirks of being a genie felt like how a real person would feel and think, but really going into it would spoil the reading experience for future readers.

The Art of Wishing is a beautiful addition to YA because of its characters and how it plays with tropes of YA.  It is a sweet story that filled my time reading it with smiles and maybe a slight swoon or two.  I highly recommend it to anyone who reads urban fantasy or paranormal romance, though I wouldn’t say it’s romance heavy.  I’d also recommend it to anyone who reads contemporary, because, like many urban fantasies, it reads more like contemporary with paranormal elements than a fantasy with contemporary elements thrown in.  Either way, it’s a great book that I think everyone should read for the adorable factor.

Final Thought: 13 out of 15 toadstools

This review is also posted on GoodReads

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