How to Make A Wish

How to Make A Wish by Ashley Herring Blake

Seventeen-year-old Grace only has one wish: to get accepted into the prestigious music program at a top New York school. Getting accepted means that Grace will have the chance to get out. Not only get out of her small town, but she’ll also get the change to leave behind the life she’s living.

While Grace loves her mother, she doesn’t necessarily like everything about her. She doesn’t like how she moves them from one home to the next without regard for how Grace will feel. But when Grace finds out that she’s moved them in with her latest boyfriend, the father of Grace’s ex-boyfriend, she’s truly fed up.

Grace doesn’t know how to make things better, not for herself or for her mom. She she waits, and she wishes. Until the day that Eva, a perfect stranger shows up and turns Grace’s world upside down.

Eva has her own issues. And while she could use a bit of saving herself, she isn’t here to save Grace. But together they just might be the wish they were both making.

How to Make A Wish, written by author Ashley Herring Blake, is a issue heavy contemporary young adult that will leave reader’s feeling well … weighed down.

While I felt that author Blake’s writing was strong, How to Make A Wish was an “issues” book. But I’ll get to that in a moment. Back to the writing. Blake’s writing is strong and inviting. What she does impressively well is that her way with words makes reader’s care – about the characters, about the issues and their resolutions, and the overall plot line.

Okay, back to the issues. There were a lot. And as a reader I often felt that these issues bogged down a potentially great book.  There was the issue of Grace’s mother, Maggie. Maggie was simply terrible. As a mother she was irresponsible, selfish, and above all else, unfit. Reader’s will easily understand why Grace is so desperate to escape her life. And they won’t blame her when she finally does. To say the least, she is completely and utterly unlikable.  From the moment I met Maggie I didn’t like her, and felt that ultimately Grace was better off without her.

Then there was the issue of Grace’s best friend, Luca, who I felt stifled her at times. On paper they appeared to be tried and true best friends, but as the plot developed I felt that he wasn’t as great a friend as Grace thought. Grace is broken, and I often felt that he was only her friend so he can swoop in and save her. He never realized that Grace was smart, strong, and capable of saving herself.

I’ll save this up front (in case you couldn’t already guess): I didn’t How to Make a Wish. And there were several moments where I was going to make it as a DNF. But there were two reasons why I kept reading: main character Grace and her love interest Eva.

Grace is a truly genuine and strong character. She is the kind of character that, as a reader, I couldn’t help but want to see good things happen to and for.  And then there was Eva, who was Grace’s equal in every sense of the word.  She’s smart, strong,  and together these two characters seem to bring out the best in each other.

Besides Grace and Eva, another aspect that I appreciated was the romance. It wasn’t overly done. And it wasn’t insta-love. Instead it was slow and sweet.  It was raw and honest, and above all else it was realistic.

I wanted more from Blake’s How to Make a Wish. My expectations were high, but sadly they weren’t met. There were too many issues and too few solid resolutions for me to overlook.

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