Monday, March 29, 2010

Review: Wish

By Alexandra Bullen
Publication date: January 1, 2010
My rating: **** 1/2

My review:

Olivia is mourning the loss of her twin sister and best friend Violet when her mother accepts a job in San Francisco, uprooting the family and moving them across the country. At her new school Olivia struggles to fit in. Violet was the outgoing one, the life of the party, and the center of her family while Olivia was the invisible one who liked to play things safe. Olivia doesn't know how she will continue without Violet in the new life she must build for herself. Then after a chance visit to a hole-in-the-wall alterations shop to get a dress repaired, Olivia receives a different dress by mistake. While wearing the dress on a night of social humiliation, Olivia wishes she could have her sister back again. The next morning she is shocked to see that Violet is back although only Olivia can see and hear her. It turns out that the dress is magical and she has two more magical dresses and two more wishes to make. Now that she has her sister back even if it is only in ghost form, what more could Olivia wish for?

On the surface Wish might seem like a shallow fairy tale retelling but to judge this book by its cover would be a mistake. The magic is just a means to an end and not the important part of the story. The focus of Wish is the relationship between Olivia and Violet, Olivia's grief, and the way Violet's family seems to be adrift without her. I liked the character of Olivia. She is shy and bookish which I can relate to. Violet is also likeable as she coaxes Olivia out of her shell, encouraging and helping her to make friends and move on. The best part of the book is seeing this close friendship between the sisters. It is very sweet and moving. Olivia's parents are also grieving although her workaholic mother Bridget doesn't show it and her father Mac is coping by slowly working on their house and retreating into silence.

At school, Olivia doesn't have any friends except for geeky Miles and his outgoing younger stepsister Bowie. With Violet's help, Olivia is able to overcome her shyness and forge friendships with some of the popular kids at school and she even has the chance for romance. Unfortunately the new friendships that Olivia makes take a back seat in comparison to her friendship with her dead sister. Her romance with a forbidden boy at school is sweet but some of the other social interactions seem forced like Olivia is behaving the way Violet would and not being herself. Overall I really liked this book, particularly the closeness between Olivia and Violet and the end relationship between Olivia and her parents. That is the strength of the novel-not the romance or Olivia's school life but in the quiet memories and family moments. I look forward to reading more books by the talented Alexandra Bullen.


  1. If I hadn't read your review I would automatically think this book is light and insignificant. But it's good to know that it actually has a substantial plot! I want to read it now.

    from Une Parole

  2. This sounds really good! I love the cover, but think Emidy is does look a lighter read than it seems.

  3. You really can't judge a book by it's cover LOL! I agree with the Emidy and Rhiana it does look like a fluffy feel good. I would have passed it up before reading your review. Thanks for the heads up!

  4. Great review, sounds like there is more than meets the eye!

  5. Great review. I love the cover for the book and it's one I'll hopefully buy at some point!

  6. Not one I would pick up based on the cover, but your review makes it sounds worth reading.

  7. I loved this book too! I can't wait to see what she has up next. Great review.

  8. Great review! Now I want to read it even more :)

  9. Oh hey I read this book for my blog too.
    it was a good book. just like ever book you read that has a wish tag-line.


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