Published: April 20th, 2012
Three Wishes (Originally Published as: "Karma Beat")
By: Juli Alexander
Not every seventeen-year-old girl works part time for the U.N.I.V.E.R.S.E., but when you’re a genie, you have obligations. I’d rather spend my time rocking with my older brother’s band. I’ve been waiting years to replace the last drummer. Just when it’s looking good for me, Leo Fuller shows up, and this bad boy genie’ s after more than just my drummer gig. Male genies are dangerous, volatile, bad-boy types, and I’m finding him way too attractive. If we’re caught together, we could both lose our powers and be banished to the other realm. I know helping Leo will be a really bad idea. What I don’t know is why I’m doing it anyway.
Jen just wants to have something normal in her life, now that a good portion of her time is spent working and granting wishes on behalf of the genie U.N.I.V.E.R.S.E. So when the drummer in her brother's band quits, all Jen wants is a chance to replace him. She's understandably pissed off when her brother goes behind her back and fills the spot before she even has a chance. When it turns out that Leo is not only her replacement as potential drummer, he's also a male genie, Jen is in deep trouble. Because it's against the laws of the genie authorities for male and female genies to be around each other and have contact. They could both lose their powers and be banished to the other realm for good if they're caught. Leo desperately needs Jen's help though, so that he can clear his Dad's name before he gets banished for crimes he didn't commit. Sneaking around in through her Mom's office, reading classified documents and going on spy missions together only brings Jen and Leo closer together. Can they solve the mystery, save Leo's Dad and not manage to get their hearts broken when it's time to say goodbye?
I really enjoyed this book! It reminded me of everything I like about fantasy-infused, contemporary YA lit. It was absolutely fun and every once in a while it's nice to just stop overthinking and read a book that reminds us to love life. Jen was the typical teenager, just wanting to hang out with her friends and have fun for a change. Her parents were somewhat overprotective, but you could tell they really loved her and both her brothers with all their hearts. Their lives were very average American, even with Jen's Mom working high up in the genie regulation business conducted by the U.N.I.V.E.R.S.E. Also, her Mom is (if I remember right) the Vice-President of the cover for the genie higher ups, a booming cell phone business. Jen's older brother is kind of a douchebag and it would've been nice to see some deeper emotion behind him. Her younger brother hacking into her chattroom cracked me up, but I LOVED her parents' punishment for him to only be allowed to read "girl" books like Esperanza Rising and writing book reports. I laughed so hard over it! All the family interaction in this book was a refreshing change to me, upon the heels of so many books where the hero/heroine's family is MIA or just completely awful or bland.
The explanation of the U.N.I.V.E.R.S.E. might have been kind of vague, but I was kind of glad that with the light-hearted tone of the rest of the book, that Ms. Alexander didn't bog down us readers with an overload of detail. I got the basics: if you get enough karma points you get three wishes, Jen was genie through her female heritage (skips every other gen.), male and female genies are too volatile together and the rulers of the genie organization were famous dead people. I thought it was quite interesting. It created a believable jump off point for the romantic tension between Jen and Leo, the somewhat R&J vibe and the awkward hesitancy of it all. I did think that Leo going to Jen for help was a little bit farfetched, but it fit in well enough with the rest of the plot that it wasn't majorly out of place. I really wasn't surprised at who the perpetrator of the frame job was but I did like the conclusion to the mystery and how it was carried out. The ending leaves things wide open for a sequel. I truly would love to read one. I had a blast and I highly recommend it to those who would like a fresh take on genies, a mystery and a nice sitcomy type romance/family comedy story.
VERDICT: 5/5 Stars
*I received an Advanced Reading E-book Copy from the publisher, via NetGalley. No money or favors were exchanged for this review. This book was published on April 20th, 2012.*