Author: Alexandra Bullen
Publisher: Scholastic Point, January 2010
This review is based on an Advanced Reader's Copy. I received this book for free to review.
Olivia has just moved to San Francisco with her parents, several months after the accidental death of her twin sister, Violet. She feels uncomfortable at school and doesn't think she'll make friends easily, since Violet was always the social and fun one. But she soon catches the eye of the most popular guy in school and makes friends with the most beautiful girl. And she is gifted three beautiful gowns by a seamstress, Posey, who says that each gown comes with a wish. Olivia immediately wishes for her twin sister's return, and soon she and her ghost-sister are chatting all the time, and Violet is helping Olivia to live her own life and go after what she wants.
I thought Envious Casca would be my last book of the year, but this one managed to slip through, since I needed a little break from the massive Team of Rivals. I had this one waiting to review, and it was a pretty quick read, so it was the perfect break book.
While reading this, I thought it was the perfect story for a Disney movie. The characters have names like Calla and Soren and Bowie, drive Mini Coopers and Priuses, and chat about the cool new indie bands. It was hard for me to get past those slightly overdone aspects of the story and focus on the plot. While it was an engaging read, this book fell flat for me. Olivia was a nice girl, but I found her to be blah. She is one of those beautiful girls that is (supposedly) in an awkward stage. When a boy shows interest in her, she comes into her own (with a little pushing and shoving from her ghost sister). I understand that that is the way of high school, and it's probably a fairly accurate portrayal, but girls like that just make me sad. Also, Olivia is in AP English and can use four-syllable words to describe Virginia Woolf's To The Lighthouse, but she apparently doesn't know that the world "molding" has multiple meanings. I found that a bit hard to believe.
To me, it seemed like things just cleaned up way too quickly, all at the end. I guess that comes with the fairy tale territory, but it seemed a little trite to me, especially considering how much emotional impact the death of a twin sister could have on someone. Or how the death of a girl could affect parents. I didn't think things would end quite as sunnily as they did.
The book was entertaining. Also, I greatly appreciated that all the high school characters I came across in it were nice people. They weren't horrible, they weren't catty or cruel. They were awkward at times, yes, but that's normal. Cruelty isn't completely normal in high school, and I found it quite refreshing that the "popular" kids in this book were nice and smart and had real goals. I think girls in middle school would enjoy Wish, but I would recommend borrowing it from the library, not purchasing it. Though it has a very pretty cover, and I bet the hardcover edition will have lots of glitter on it.