There was some sort of fable I remember reading as a kid where this poor peasant got three wishes and the first two he messed up so bad that he had to fix them with the third wish. Which basically means he wasted all his wishes - except perhaps he came out the wiser for it.
I spent days and days after that thinking about what I would wish for that wouldn't backfire on me.
The Art of Wishing is a new release YA that I bought the moment it came out - for three reasons:
1) for the reason I described above - a girl gets three wishes. She's sure to mess at least one of them up, but will she get at least one of them right in a satisfying way?
2) The title. The Art of Wishing. It's just perfect. I can't even put into words why I love this title. It implies so much.
3) it's about a high school girl who falls in love with a high school boy WHO ALSO HAPPENS TO BE A GENIE. I love me some modern updates on mythical creatures! And falling in love with one of them? Ooooh, a little scary...because think about the rules a genie is bound to, and how that would affect you if you loved one of them.
I may have also bought this book because the main character's name is Margo. Ahem, that's an awesome name, isn't? However it was a little weird constantly hearing other characters calling my name. I got used to it eventually.
So, Margo's choice of three wishes show up early enough in the book that I don't think they are spoilers. She inherits the ring that controls the genie (Oliver) from a girl who messed up her second wish so badly that she practically abandoned the ring (though there's more to it than that, but that *would* be a spoiler). But anyway, Margo knows that if she doesn't pick carefully, she's going to mess up, so she takes her time picking. Also, Oliver gives her some good advice prior to her wishes:
Trust me: wishes that affect other people aren't ones you should make lightly.Hmmmn, think about that advice for a minute.
Her first wish: to become a great songwriter. I totally get this, because I'm a writer. Other than my family, my greatest personal fulfillment comes from writing well, so being a great writer would be one of my wishes too. And I just loved how Oliver fulfilled this wish for her. She already had the potential within her - he just helped her make a connection, of sorts.
Her second wish: world peace. Ah, I love this girl. I'd wish for that one, too. Unfortunately, a high school genie just isn't up to this task. He felt kinda bad about it. So she eventually picks a different wish instead, but can't give that one away. Let's just say it didn't turn out so well.
Her third wish: to set Oliver free. (Yes, there are quite a few references to Disney's Aladdin movie in this book). Except here's the interesting twist: Oliver vehemently does NOT WANT to be set free. Hmmm, why, you ask?? Well, sorry. Can't tell you, too much of a spoiler.
But oh I love a good unexpected twist on fairytale "rules".
Given that my genie wouldn't fulfill his own freedom, either, then I would wish for all the best for my family (including myself). Though at this point I've been around the block enough to realize that "the best" is certainly not always what we expect. In fact, "the best" sometimes comes cloaked in the scary disguise of "the worst." Only with time is it revealed how undesirable circumstances actually work out for the best in the end, eh?
Anyway, back to that interesting twist with Oliver not wanting to be set free. There's another standard genie wishing rule that this book breaks too, oh my goodness did it make me sit up and go "wow" when the author reveals this twist. I can't tell you, but I can give you a hint because it's right there in the last line of the book's blurb: "it will take more than three wishes to save him."
So, those three reasons why I picked up the book? Did the book deliver?
The Art of Wishing gives us some artful wishing, some complicated wishing (by the end, my head was almost spinning from the complications), and some delicious romance.
The best part of the romance between Margo and Oliver was the dialogue between them. I LOVE a cheeky dialogue, especially when the character's reactions are well done. Oliver was utterly lovable because he was so sure of himself, and then he'd be unexpectedly alarmed by Margo's off-the-wall questions. I loved how she kept him off-balance. She even kept herself off-balance:
As I pulled up in front of his building, I racked my brain for a good parting line, something that would make me sound witty and thoughtful and, most of all, worthy of kissing again in the future. After a long moment, I finally came up with, "Um."
I'm looking forward to another genie story coming out soon: The Binding Stone by Lisa Gail Green, which features a female genie (djinn) instead. I mean, whoa. Just look at this cover!!
Since I shared my three wishes, I'd love it if you left a comment with a wish or two or three of your own!