Wish by Alexandra Bullen

I am very excited to be the second stop on Alexandra Bullen’s blog tour for her debut novel, Wish!  Tomorrow, Alexandra will be sharing a guest post about her numerous jobs and how they have influenced her writing.   (Be sure to check out her first stop at Pop Culture Junkie today!)

I loved Wish and can’t wait to pass it on to my students.  It’s being marketed as YA but I didn’t find anything in it that would prevent me from handing it to my older middle grade readers.  It’s got romance, family, drama, some tearjerking scenes, and a great “live life to the fullest” theme.

Olivia Larsen is the new girl in San Francisco.  Her mother is spending 23 hours a day at work and her father is completely focused on renovating the large house they inherited.  The three pass each other like ships in the night, never acknowledging the huge hole in their family.  You see, before the sudden move to the West Coast, Olivia’s twin sister drowned.  Olivia relied on Violet her entire life, for her friends, her social life, and the stability she provided.  Without Violet, Olivia feels invisible in her new school.

When her mother announces that the whole family absolutely must attend a welcome party in her honor at work, Olivia decides to wear Violet’s favorite dress.  She finds a small seamstress’s shop down the block and drops off the dress.  A few days later, a garment bag is delivered to the house, but when she opens it Violet finds a completely gorgeous gown.  A completely gorgeous gown that is definitely not her sister’s.

And then it turns out that the dress doesn’t just make her look ethereal and other-worldly…..it is other-worldy.  When Olivia makes an offhand comment wishing that her sister was back, a small monarch butterfly emerges from the folds of the dress, flitting off into the night.  (As a huge monarch enthusiast, you can imagine my excitement when I got to that part!)  Suddenly, Olivia has been given her dream come true and Violet is by her side again.

Together, the sisters discover that Olivia has two more wishes left.  What would you wish for if you were given the opportunity to make all of your dreams come true?

At the same time, there is the cute boy at school who just happens to be dating the most popular and gorgeous girl in school- the same sweet girl who has taken Olivia under her wing.  Does Olivia throw away her chance at true friendship for a guy?  And what about the “nice guy” who is too shy to make his feelings known?

What I loved about this book is that it is a low fantasy- Olivia gets her three wishes.  But she learns that magic can’t make everything better.  She has to learn to love, laugh, and LIVE.  And that can be harder than just fading into the background.

I really loved this book.  I’ll be honest and say that I didn’t expect much from it.  I loved the cover and figured it would be a cute romance.  But Alexandra Bullen really surprised me!  She weaves a fantastic story that is grounded in realistic fiction but has just enough fantasy to make a romantic’s heart flutter.  I think I will have a long waiting list for this one in our classroom library!

Wish book trailer:

Be sure to check in tomorrow when Alexandra Bullen will be posting a guest blog and Scholastic has generously donated a signed copy of Wish to give away with her post!