Title: The Art of Wishing
Author: Lindsay Ribar
Publisher: Dial Books for Young Readers
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.
You don’t seem to run across many YA books with genies in them, and that’s just a shame. Also a shame: I just didn’t like this book as much as I was hoping.
Things started off well. I appreciated the fact that Margo wanted to be the lead in the school musical. Why was this such a big deal for me? That would be because I’m starting to get sick of shy protagonists. I am a very shy person, so it’s nice seeing some equally shy protagonists, but at this point too many YA authors seem to think that shy protagonists automatically make them good girls, especially when they include outgoing, more sexually open friends/”mean girls” as foils. So, I was quite excited to actually have a protagonist that seeks the spotlight and feels confident in her abilities and self esteem. Her best friend also seemed like she might be shyer than Margo, at least when we were first introduced to her.
Things also started off interesting. I was intrigued by the genie aspect of the story and I felt pretty invested in Margo’s theatre story. Margo could be mildly annoying, but for the most part I liked her. The genie was introduced and he seemed fairly interesting as well.
Then the romance started. I was expecting it, but I was also expected to at least find it cute. Unfortunately, I just didn’t care for it that much. The romance took over slightly and I didn’t care about what happened between the two of them. Margo also didn’t seem as outgoing as she originally once – she still seemed pretty confident, but she only really had one friend and seemed kind of shy whenever she wasn’t on a real stage. Her best friend also seemed to turn into (or was all along and I just didn’t realize it) a stereotypical YA BFF, one who is way more confident and is always trying to drag the protagonist along to things and the like.
The last third or so just seemed to get kind of crazy. There were some weird, kind of emotional whiplash scenes and some twists that I saw coming. The last twist, the one that sets you up for a sequel, seemed pretty selfish on Margo’s part, although I’m pretty sure it was meant to be viewed as selfless. It seems like the type of ending that would lead to a romantic happy ending, but I’m sure the sequel will set up romantic drama anyway.
In the end, I had trouble connecting with the protagonist. There were times when I felt that she was overreacting, which made it difficult for me to feel sympathetic for her. I was kind of bored and annoyed for probably the whole second half of the book and skimmed slightly so that it would be over sooner. I’m sure some people will find this book cute, but I was underwhelmed by it and don’t plan on sticking around for the sequel.
Also, this book got a redesign for its paperback release, which also goes with the cover of the second book, which is sad – I thought this cover was so adorable! It fit the book that I hoped to find and that I think other people will still find.