Wednesday, November 27, 2013

Wish Not, Want Not

Published:  March 21st, 2013
The Art of Wishing (The Art of Wishing #1)
By: Lindsey Ribar
Dial Books for Young Readers
ISBN-13:  9780803738270
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.
     This is a book dealing with a normal teenage girl who gets the dream that everyone fantasizes about at least once or twice in life - a genie who is going to grant her three wishes!  Of course, everything had consequences, even things that seem perfect in theory.  So when Margo McKenna starts to know Oliver, her genie, for himself and not just his powers, it's not especially surprising that all Hell breaks loose.  Oh yeah, and there's a murderous madman after Oliver.  A fellow genie who wants to get rid of every other genie.  So there's that!  I really went into this one liking the way it kicked off.  A heroine who knows what she wants - to have a career in music.  She's got some family problems and is kind of awkward, so she isn't a Mary Sue (which I am eternally grateful for as a reader who detests them).  But Margo's entire life changes when she finds out that Vicki, the girl who gets the role of Mrs. Lovett in Sweeney Todd instead of her, used magic to get people to like her and be in the musical!  This seriously pisses off Margo.  I totally understood that reaction.
     But once Margo comes upon Oliver's genie ring in the girl's bathroom and becomes his new 'master' things started to devolve.  I thought that the gradual development of a friendship between Oliver and Margo was very sweet.  She's feeling ignored by her Mom now that her parents have re-married, after so many years of it just being the two of them.  He's never had someone really take the time to get to know him.  Plus, Margo is taking her time and being extremely careful about her wishes.  She doesn't want to make any serious mistakes the way that Vicki did when she wished that more people would like her.  I understood the slow build and I liked the reality of Oliver's old mentor genie being a dangerous threat, who wanted to kill Oliver.  The dark edge to the book was interesting and fresh.  The focus on Margo's relationships with her Mom, best friend Naomi and her new one with Oliver made things stay interesting.
     Once the romance started to take over though, I lost interest.  It wasn't quite insta-love, but it wasn't too far off when you figure that Margo and Oliver had known each other less than an entire week!  So when things start to go down with the aforementioned villain, it felt like everyone else completely disappeared from the book and Oliver was the only one left - especially in Margo's view of things.  She basically tanks her future music career, her part in the musical, her friendship with Naomi AND her relationship with her Mom, just to save Oliver.  And as I saw mentioned in someone else's review, she could have just wished for him to become mortal instead of becoming a genie herself!!!  Not to mention the whole thing with her Mom struck me as vaguely weird, especially how jealous and resentful she was of her Dad.  She didn't even try talking to her Mom about things and hated that they got back together because it took her out of all the decision making processes.  I don't know about you, but it was kind a "duh" moment!  I thought Margo was kind of stupid honestly to expect her Mom to still treat her like another adult in charge of things once she remarried (never should have in the first place, honestly speaking).  The romance derailed the interesting part of it for me, which was the magic and the resolution of the parental/musical issues.  A cute book, but overall not what I was expecting from the synopsis.  I probably won't be reading the next one, cause I don't really care what happens next. 
VERDICT:  2.5/5  Stars

**No money or favors were exchanged for this review.  This book is now available in stores, online, or maybe even at your local library.**

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