The Art of Wishing by Lindsay Ribar

The Art of WishingGoodreads: The Art of Wishing
Series: The Art of Wishing #1
Source: ARC

Official Summary:

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.

Review:

[This review contains slight spoilers.  It discusses some of the questions Margo raises about her relationship with Oliver.]

The Art of Wishing is a fun story that explores the age-old questions of: What would you do if you had a genie?  What would you ask for?  The answers here, of course, are not entirely straightforward, which is what makes following Margo’s struggle with them so entertaining.  She goes a little deeper than most people world, first questioning genies’ attitudes towards granting wishes.  Is it slavery or something they enjoy?  Then she has the problem of deciding what to ask for.  Ribar weaves a delicate system of “genie rules” to background her story, and discovering them along with Margo keeps reading interesting.

The writing itself is also engaging.  Margo has a fantastically realistic voice, as well as a realistic outlook on life.  Through Margo, Ribar manages to poke a bit of fun at the paranormal romance genre in which she has set her debut, as well as fictional romances in general.  Are you skeptical that Margo can love a boy she met a week ago?  Well, so is Margo.

Although I do find most of Margo’s comments on these subjects both clever and amusing, I hold some reservations.  Authors of paranormal romance are noticing some of what many readers see as the major issues of the genre.  One, for example, being the huge age difference between the teen girl protagonist and her supernatural love interest.  Why would he of so much life experience be interested in her?  Margo asks this, too.  But—there is not much of an answer.  For me, the fact that authors are beginning to raise these issues, imply it is true they are issues, and laugh at them a bit, is not enough.  There is a difference between mentioning a problem, saying, “Yeah, you are freakishly older than I am.  How weird!” and managing to write a plot or explanation that actually fixes the problem.  The Art of Wishing is certainly not alone in this technique, but I would love to see YA authors strive further and actually work some issues out.

Romantic issues aside, the plot is  a lot of fun.  It is combination fantasy, action, romance, and serious teen issues.  Tense moments are followed by touching ones, which are followed by funny ones.  I laughed out loud more than once while reading this book.  I was also seriously surprised and horrified by some of the plot twists.  No obvious foreshadowing or cookie cutter plot here!

Overall, The Art of Wishing is a cute and fun read that takes itself just seriously enough.  It is entertaining, but it has a bit of substance to it, as well.  A great debut from someone who obviously knows YA writing.

Publication Date: March 21, 2013

If you were granted three wishes, what would you wish for?

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