Title: The Fourth Wish
Author: Lindsay Ribar (The Art of Wishing)
Publisher: Kathy Dawson Books
Here’s what Margo McKenna knows about genies: She’s seen Aladdin more times than she can count; she’s found a magic genie ring and made her three allotted wishes; she’s even fallen head over heels in love with Oliver, the cute genie whose life she saved by fighting off another genie. But none of this prepared her for the shock of becoming a genie herself.
Everything Margo’s taken for granted–graduating high school, going to college, hating math, performing in the school musical, even being a girl–is in question. Just at a time when she’s trying to figure out who she wants to be, Margo is forced to become whomever her master wants. But Margo is also coming into a power she never imagined she’d have. How will she reconcile the two? And where will she and Oliver stand when she’s done?
Fans of Every Day and Anna and the French Kiss will love this romantic, magical, and surprising conclusion to The Art of Wishing.
When I started The Art of Wishing, I really enjoyed it; then I got to the end and wasn’t as impressed. As a result, I wasn’t going to read its sequel, The Fourth Wish – but then I started to hear some really good things about it and thought I’d give it a shot, if only to use for the 2014 Sophomore Author Challenge. Well, I didn’t finish it in time for that challenge, but I am glad that I gave this book, and author Lindsay Ribar, a second chance.
Since I wasn’t the biggest fan of it and it had been a while, I didn’t totally remember everything that happened in the first book, but this book did a pretty good job of pushing me into this story without too much confusion. It also got me interested from the very beginning, which was good considering how disappointed I was by the end of the first book.
Margo spends this book trying to get used to the fact that she’s a genie now, which comes with a lot of changes. We were introduced to Ribar’s genies in the first book, but we really get a chance to see more about them in this book, and it made things really interesting. The plot revolves around Margo trying to adjust to the changes while also trying to live a regular life.
There are some interesting new characters in this book, but the focus is definitely on Margo and Oliver, her love interest. I don’t really remember many of the secondary characters from the first book, so I don’t really know if they grew a lot during this book or not. I was more interested in the main characters anyway, though, so I didn’t care that much.
This is definitely the most interesting part of the book: the genie mythology. Like I said, we got a first look at everything during the first book, but there was a much more in-depth look in this book, and it led to a lot of interesting things about sexuality and gender. For instance, a genie changes for their master each time – everything from looks to their gender. One of the first times Margo sees Oliver is when he’s a she, which definitely throws her off. It has elements of transgender issues, which is sorely lacking in YA, so it was great to see that. Margo also struggles with figuring out how she feels about Oliver when he’s in another body, namely a female one. Margo also learns that being a genie is too close to being a slave at times, and it can end very badly if you end up with the wrong kind of master, as Margo does. There are interesting questions about consent and such, which is another nice element.
The Adult Situation
Margo’s parents don’t have a big presence in this book. I guess this was something that started in the first book, with Margo’s parents newly remarried to each other and often running off on adventures with each other rather than spending time with their daughter. Now that Margo is a genie, though, that also factors into the fact that she just doesn’t need to rely on her parents much anymore. It was kind of frustrating that there wasn’t much done with Margo’s parental relationships, but there were some moments with her mom that were interesting enough – for the little bits that they happened.
As I’ve already mentioned, the romance is a big focus since there are different elements of gender and sexuality questions involved in their relationship. Those elements made me a lot more interested in the romance, to be honest – the romance wasn’t bad or anything, I just really didn’t care that much otherwise. They were sweet enough together, but I was much more interested in the genie stuff than the romance.
I was starting to worry that things wouldn’t get wrapped up the closer I got to the end, but it did. It might have been a little too rushed, but I didn’t mind too much. Things were wrapped up pretty well so that I don’t feel the need for a sequel.
I’m really glad that I gave this book a chance – it was like the beginning of the first book, rather than the end, so now I have a much more positive memory of the series as a whole. It’s not a new favorite or anything, but it was plenty enjoyable, and that’s good enough for me. I’m really interested in seeing what Ribar writes next.