Thursday, June 12, 2014

You Wish (2010)

You Wish. Mandy Hubbard. 2010. Penguin. 304 pages. [Source: Review copy]

Kayla McHenry is the heroine of You Wish. It is Kayla's sixteenth birthday. If Kayla was getting to spend the day as she wished, she might not mind her birthday quite so much. But Kayla doesn't have any say in her birthday party. Her mom is an event planner. And her daughter's sixteenth birthday party is the perfect place to showcase her skills to clients and potential clients. Yes, most of the guests are strangers to Kayla, and the one person Kayla herself invited to the party oh-so-politely requests permission to not come so she can go on a date with her boyfriend. Yes, from the start readers know that Nicole is NOT best friend material.

Kayla makes yet another birthday wish as she blows out her candles. But for the first time in sixteen years, it actually comes true. For better or worse. Her wish that was granted? That ALL her previous birthday wishes will come true. A roomful of gumballs. Her rag doll coming to life. Ken as a boyfriend. The sudden ability to speak Italian fluently. Almost all of Kayla's wishes are regrettable. But the one she most regrets, OR, should I say the one she most WANTS to regret, is her wish that BEN would kiss her. Ben has been her dream guy for several years now. Nicole got up the courage to ask him out a few months ago, now he is HER boyfriend.

Kayla's life has become crazy since her sixteenth birthday. And since the wishes are coming true one day at a time, Kayla knows that almost anything could happen in the next two weeks...

I wanted to like You Wish. I did. I thought the premise was wonderful. Some of the wishes were very well done. Like when Kayla went from flat-chested to full-figured overnight. Like when KEN showed up and started following her around believing that she is Barbie. But despite all the fun, I thought the novel was very weak in terms of characterization and relationship building.

Stuff happens to Kayla because of her wishes. The end. No other characters are given any depth at all in the novel. Especially Ben and Nicole. Readers are treated to almost three hundred pages of Kayla obsessing over Ben. In a way, it was nice that readers never got to see Nicole as an actual human since the whole plot is about how Kayla and Ben are meant to be together forever. But I can't really enjoy a novel with no characterization. Yes, it was fun and playful and a quick read. But a favorite? I just can't.

© 2014 Becky Laney of Becky's Book Reviews


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I am interested in reviewing books and audio books. This blog focuses on books written for middle grade on up (essentially 10 to a 110). I review middle grade fiction and young adult fiction (aka tween and teen).

I also review adult books.

I read in a variety of genres including realistic fiction, historical fiction, mystery, romance, science fiction, fantasy, literary fiction, and chick lit. (I've read one western to date.)

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I am more interested in strong characters, well-written, fleshed-out, human characters. Plot is secondary to me in a way. I have to care about the characters in order to care about the plot. That being said, compelling storytelling is something that I love. I love to become absorbed in what I'm reading.

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