Monday, 30 August 2010

Review - You Wish / Mandy Hubbard

Kayla McHenry’s sweet sixteen sucks! Her dad left, her grades dropped, and her BFF is dating the boy Kayla’s secretly loved for years. Blowing out her candles, Kayla thinks: I wish my birthday wishes actually came true. Because they never freakin’ do.

Kayla wakes the next day to a life-sized, bright pink My Little Pony outside her window. Then a year’s supply of gumballs arrives. A boy named Ken with a disturbing resemblance to the doll of the same name stalks her. As the ghosts of Kayla’s wishes-past appear, they take her on a wild ride . . . but they MUST STOP. Because when she was fifteen? She wished Ben Mackenzie would kiss her. And Ben is her best friend’s boyfriend. Goodreads

Review - Who said a light, fun read couldn't be quirky and insightful too?  You Wish is the newest release from Mandy Hubbard and it is unique in that it takes an improbable scenario and makes it resonant while firmly planted in reality.  Yes, there's some magic at play but it doesn't pave the way from instant love connections and convenient fixes.  Hubbard has crafted a story so beautifully bonkers that it is truly difficult not to get swept along for the ride.

At its core, You Wish is a story that chiefly deals with growing up and everything that comes along with that.  We can't spend our lives wanting to be married an anatomy-less plasticy dude.  At some point imagination takes a back burner to the harsh realities of day.  This could be depressing considering the theme or ridiculous with the premise but Hubbard subverts both careening it towards a lovely medium of warmth, humour and lots of heart.

Kayla is a girl who is rather comfortable in who she is but all the change around her is unsettling.  Between her best friend's weirdness, her Ben-lust and her mother's work obsession - life ain't what it used to be.  One of the most horrific birthday parties I have read follows and Kayla's problems compound daily.  Hubbard's protagonist's wishes are typical but what she does with them is fairly brilliant.  The outlandish qualities of the wish fulfillment are grounded by the implications they have on her life.  What they reveal to Kayla and the audience is a magical life check that we all need.

Despite some magical shenanigans there is an ever present sense of humour that entertains and moves the plot quickly.  It serves to highlight events and feelings that were already in play before the wishes arrival..  The narrative juggling is impressive in its use in affecting one another and concepts of abandonment, parent divorce, peer conforming, cheating and body perception are naturally intertwined with a real life doll, a Ken  wanting to woo and candy hailstorms.  Like I said - bonkers, but brilliantly so.

A crafty use of magic to shine a light on every girl's everyday problems.  Funny, introspective and three kinds of wacky.

Published: August 5, 2010
Paperback, 272 pages
Published August 5th 2010 by Razorbill
Source: publisher
Origin: USA


Pam said...

I need to get to this one. I keep picking it up and putting it back down.

Michelle said...

I read this one recently too. It was fun and entertaining, like you I enjoyed the magical aspects and how they were grounded in reality. It was a super fast read that gave a few giggles and had some good teachable moments.

BookChic said...

I really enjoyed this book too. Great review!! :)

Alexander Bennett (Tales of a Teenage Book Lover) said...

I liked this one too. Great review!

Tina said...

I got this book because of the sheer pinkness of the cover. Then the story. Looks like a good one based on your review. :D