Wednesday, March 9, 2011

Review: Wish

Alexandra Bullen
336 pages
Rating: 4 out of 5 stars

For broken-hearted Olivia Larsen, nothing can change the fact that her twin sister, Violet, is gone... until a mysterious, beautiful gown arrives on her doorstep. The dress doesn't just look magical; it is magical. It has the power to grant her one wish, and the only thing Olivia wants is her sister back.With Violet again by her side, both girls get a second chance at life. And as the sisters soon discover, they have two more dresses-and two more wishes left. But magic can't solve everything, and Olivia is forced to confront her ghosts to learn how to laugh, love, and live again.In a breathtaking debut from Alexandra Bullen, WISH asks the question: If you could have anything, what would you wish for?

My Thoughts:
Just for a moment, before I go into my thoughts on the book, can we just have a moment of cover love for this book?  Isn't that cover awesome?!  I have to admit that I first was attracted to Wish from the cover.  I am that fickle person that judges a book by its cover, I confess, and this one is amazing.  I love the color of the background.  Love the disappearing, starry dress.  Love the font.  Love all of it.

I went against sort of a standard of mine and read several reviews on Goodreads before I started this book.  I saw this book on someone's blog (really need to get better about keeping track of that!), thought it looked good, and did mean theoretical jumps in the air when I realized that Amazon had it for free one day specially for kindle.  How awesome is that!  Anyway, I read several mixed reviews about this book before I dove into the "pages" of my kindle.  Eh, I think I'm going to go back to not reading reviews, because I went looking for flaws.  Wish I had just read it and made up my mind on my own.

That being said, I still really enjoyed Wish.  I was expecting to find things wrong with it from some of the reviews, but I really didn't.  And those things that I found, I probably wouldn't have noticed if I hadn't been looking with a microscope, so to speak.  The basic story of Wish is that Olivia, new to San Fransisco due to the recent death of her twin, stumbles upon a magical dressmaker.  She wears a pretty dress, makes a wish, and then is surprised to find that it's come true the morning after.  Then she finds out only that she has two more wishes and that she can't wish for the same thing twice.

The story is a lot less fantasy-ish than it would seem.  Really, Olivia gets three wishes, but they aren't big crazy things.  It's more like a Sarah Dessen reality teen novel than a Maria V. Snyder different world fantasy type novel.  And it turns out that Olivia's wishes are what help her cope with all the recent changes in her life.  It makes for a very interesting read.

I read this novel in two days.  I even stayed up until 4 am one night reading it.  Though it had lull times, I did not find it slow paced.  I was originally expecting more action, but once I settled into reading it as a reality-type novel, I really enjoyed it.  I related well to Olivia, especially since I was the quieter of my sisters.  I also went through a rough time in college when I had to learn to make friends without my sister, who normally was the fun, giggly sister.  Olivia was relateable and generally a typical teenager who was going through a rough time.  Even for those who have not lost someone close to them, I think she provided some good insight into coping and living life.

I also really enjoyed the sideline characters in the novel.  I wasn't sure where Bullen was going with the different types of friends, and I was glad that it did not turn out to be simply a "popular people are evil, uncool people make better friends" type thing.  I loved Miles and thought that he was a fun additional character that showed how dysfunctional can be used to mean so many different things.  I also loved Calla.  At first, I thought that that group of girls was going to be back-stabling, drama central.  But I really enjoyed that Calla, though beautiful, was shown to have depth of character.  She really sympathized with Olivia at times, and it was wonderful to see Olivia make actual friends and not only have the boy at the end of the novel.  In real life, a person like Olivia would really need girl friends, especially having lost a sister.  Sometimes guys just can't solve everything.   And it's unrealistic to think that teenagers can only have the boyfriend, especially when boys and relationships can be fleeting.  I admire Bullen for adding a friend element - it really added to the novel in my book.

Ok boy time:  Soren.  First of all, sweet name!  Secondly, I love that he wasn't all smooth, wonderful, sweep-you-off-your-feet type of a guy.  He seemed really cute in that he was awkward and nervous and adorable that way.  I didn't really like that he already had a girl at the beginning of the novel, but it wouldn't have added that part of the story, so I guess I could see it.  The whole Soren-Calla-Olivia thing did seem a little too high school-y, but it definitely was not the focus of the book.  And Bullen made a great conclusion/ending to the whole thing, which added an additional element of showing what's truly important in life.

All in all, I thought this was a great book.  I wouldn't quite put it up there with Sarah Dessen, but I do believe that Bullen is getting close.  I will definitely be reading more of her novels, and I look forward to seeing how her work develops as she continues to write for young adults.  I found Wish to be an excellent story with some depth, especially relating to teenagers learning how to live life and cope with changes.  I would recommend this novel for any young adult fiction fans.

More of Wish and Alexandra Bullen:
Goodreads: Wish 
Goodreads: Author Alexandra Bullen
Review: Wish by Nice Girls Read Books
Review: Wish by The Story Siren
Interview with Alexandra Bullen by Ravenous Reader
Guest Post with Alexandra Bullen about Wishful Thinking by The Story Siren
Review: Wish by A Foodie Bibliophile

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