Reviewer: Amy Lignor
Title: You Wish
Author: Mandy Hubbard
Release Date: August 2010
Genre/Sub-genre: YA Fantasy Fiction
Publisher’s Age/Grade Recommendation: 12 and up
OUAR’s Age/Grade Recommendation: 12 and up
Year/Setting: Present Day/Enumclaw, WA
Overall Rating: 5.0
Sexual Content Rating: None/Subtle
Language (Profanity/Slang) Content Rating: None/Mild
Violent Content Rating: None
Mandy's Website/Blog: www.mandyhubbard.com
Have you ever heard that line, Be careful what you wish for? Well, this fantastic novel puts a whole new spin on it.
It's Kayla McHenry's sweet sixteen and, boy, she couldn't be having a worse one. Nicole, her best friend for the last six years, has been acting extremely funny lately. Not to mention, Nicole is also dating Ben, who is the guy that Kayla has been in love with since time began. Kayla also has a good mother, but all she does is work constantly as an event/party planner, and never seems to have any time to spend with Kayla and her brother Chase. It's as if Mom is striving to be better than she's ever been before, perhaps to make Kayla's father jealous and regret the fact that he abandoned his family and went back to Italy when Kayla was just a young child.
In school, Kayla is the offbeat, funny one. She likes to be different. For years she and Nicole have been cracking jokes about the "perfect people" who dress in their Old Navy clothes, tease their hair, and walk around the hallways with their noses so far up in the air, they need to look down to see Heaven. They're on the "other" team - the ones who are unpopular and have to deal with being on the outside looking in. Kayla's never been bothered by that, though. In fact, she and Ben get along so well as friends because they both like to tell lame jokes, dress the way they want to, and just be themselves. Perhaps, that's why Kayla believes they're perfect for each other...but, alas, Nicole has him.
Mom decides to throw a sweet sixteen party that Kayla really doesn't want. Mom invites a lot of business clients to the party in order to generate more income for the family, so the design, music, guests - even the swirly pink cake - is not Kayla's taste AT ALL. In fact, Kayla is so angry that Mom seems to know nothing about her own daughter, that when she goes to make her wish on the pretty, pretty princess looking birthday cake, she wishes that all her birthday wishes actually came true! And, by the next morning, Kayla has to pay for that mistake.
This book is absolutely hysterical as a bright pink My Little Pony comes to life and goes racing by Kayla's window; a snowstorm of gumballs appear all over her room; and, a new friend named Ann sits in her closet looking slightly...shall we say...Raggedy. Kayla's birthday wishes - all of them she's ever made - begin to come true. Even a blond-haired, blue-eyed boy named Ken - with muscles that would put everyone's favorite Twilight werewolf to shame - comes racing up in his fancy car one day and talks about Kayla's "Dream House." (Get it?)
Not only are certain wishes truly hysterical, but some are the most heartfelt and kind that I've ever read in a book - young adult, or otherwise. Kayla, through conversations with real people as well as some pretty intellectual dolls, finds herself trying to figure out how her family can become a family again; how to keep a best friend who is slowly growing up and changing into one of the "popular" girls they'd always despised; and, how to deal with the fact that she's truly in love and has no idea how to tell him.
The author has outdone herself with this book; the story is one that truly speaks to all ages and teaches some wonderful lessons about how we should never be in a hurry to grow up. My mother has always said to me that youth is wasted on the young; that once we get older we'd be able to appreciate youth so much better and be able to have WAY more fun. As we grow older, life hits us upside the head alot, and we forget that happiness - true happiness - doesn't depend on whether or not people accept us or how responsible we believe we HAVE to be. Happiness is always on the inside - in our souls. We have it in there at the age when we wish for A Raggedy Ann doll, and it's STILL there when we're twenty years older wishing that Jack Bauer would appear at our door. :)
On a personal note, I've had a rough time of it for the past few months. I've lost some happiness along the way, so this was a perfect gift for me. Mandy Hubbard most definitely gave me back the ability to smile, and offered me a chance to clean the slate. So...Happy Valentine’s Day...and, thank you.
Until next time,
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