June 4

The Art Of Wishing By Lindsay Ribar Review

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.

So, since I’m trying to give my reviews a more even feel to them I thought I’d be extremely obvious about the positives and the negatives in this book.

The Positives.

Ribar seems to make a strong attempt at abandoning a lot of the tropes that are common in recent paranormal Young Adult novels.  Margo, our heroine, has hobbies. She loves theater and wants to become a song writer. She has friends and during the novel her best friend and her fight, not over a guy, but because her friend believes Margo…betrayed her. Margo isn’t defined by her relationship with Oliver– or her relationship with any guy. She’s had boyfriends before. Oliver is far from her first…interest.  Margo does not wait around to be rescued.  In fact, she rescues Oliver twice. Margo has realistic doubts about Oliver.  When she realizes that Oliver can transform himself to suit his mater’s wants, she questions how he really feels about her.  Is it all an act?  Something that’s against his will because of the master/slave genie thing?  Or is it genuine.  She also freaks out when he finds out how much of an age difference between them their truly is. Margo has issues with her parents, which are seen consistently throughout the book and not just in one or two throw-away scenes.

She’s snarky and witty.  So we get some interesting lines like:

(….) Oh god. I’m one of those girls.”
“What girls?” he asked, perplexed.
“Those girls. The ones in all those books and TV shows. Some dumb high school girl falls in love with some supernatural guy and he’s all, ‘Behold, I am five million years old!” and she’s all, “Oh my god, how can you ever love pathetic little me!” and he’s like ‘Because of destiny!’ or whatever. It’s just so…ew. You know?”
There was a pause. When I finally chanced a look up at him, he was biting his lip, like he was trying really hard not to laugh.
“What?” I said defensively.
“You’re in love with me?”
“Pffft. No. I’ve known you for like a week.” Another pause. “You’re a really good kisser, through.”

Ribar also has some passages in her book that poke fun of other books of various YA genres.

A minute or so passed by–not long but long enough to make me wonder whether Oliver was setting up mood lighting or hiding dead bodies. Or if someone was up there awaiting to stab me again. o r is someone was up there to hand me a crown and tell me I was the long-lost princess of Genovia. Or if I’d tumble into a pit of lava, only to get saved at the last second by a flying carpet.

The hero, Oliver, is not a certifiable jackass.  He is deeply into photography, waffles and getting a reaction out of Margo. He seems to be a genuine good guy and a role model for how boys should treat a girl and what a girl should expect from a boy.

 

The Negatives.

Although Oliver didn’t come across as flat to me, I felt his character, especially his past could have been deepened significantly in this book. We get the gist of his story but it’s obvious their could have and probably is a lot more.

Their were areas in the book that I wanted clarification on.  Genies can have genies for masters? How does that work?  And areas where I wasn’t sure of the time rush.  Why was Xavier in such a rush to get the ring? I mean, 3 wishes and he can have it again.  The only reason I can think of was that the book needed some tension and Xavier was convenient   Honestly, Xavier reminded me a lot of Akasha (in the book, not the movie) or even Yaksha who was after Sita, goal-wise anyways. I didn’t know the character quite well-enough to understand his deeper goal so he came across as cartoonish.

Although Margo and Oliver did not have “love at first sight”,  their was some “insta-love” in the book.  At first they were awkward, “Shit you’re a genie,” moments between them.  Then they became friends and then all of the sudden they’re kissing and in love.  I suppose considering how short the book is that’s the only way they could get to the “love” state.  But it seemed too sudden for a realistic relationship.

The ending….
Without ruining anything the ending was…well…a trope.

Can’t say anything else without ruining it.  But it ends in a place where it makes it obvious a sequel is on its way.  But if this had to be the last book you read…you’d be…okay with it.  Their was enough of a conclusion, a sense of what would happen to consider it a stand-alone.

Overall

I found the book entertaining.  I read it while in an airport or on a plane.  It’s a simple, light-hearted read. I have issues with aspects of it, but that’s expected with a debut novelist and, I’m hoping that those “issues” will be addressed in the sequel. I will be picking the sequel, The Fourth Wish, up when it comes out. It’s a cute book that takes a step in the right direction of where books needs to go.

May 5

Love of Reading

Had to write a few essays and thought I’d share what I came up with.  I could have added a lot more details to this particular one, perhaps enough to fill a book, but decided to focus on words and trigger books, which fit the essay topic better.  Here’s what I wrote:

I learned to read early. I was two when I started recognizing words.  However, several moves and some horrible school systems resulted in me hating to read for several years.  My grandmother sent me a lot of books for my tenth birthday and out of complete boredom I decided to try reading one.  That one book hooked me and my family has never been able to get my nose out of a book for any length of time. 

Shortly after re-developing my love of reading, I started going to my brother’s first grade class during my recess.  I would pull students out of class, especially my brother Drew, for a few minutes and have him or her read books to me.  At the age of ten I found I enjoyed helping people learn how to read more than running around outside. So I took advantage of the opportunity, every chance I had. 

We moved several more times and my interests went elsewhere for a while. However my enjoyment of helping people read never stopped. I gave several people books I absolutely loved, despite knowing some of them hated reading. If they gave the book a chance, they usually started reading regularly.  As I grew older, I seemed to become increasingly skilled at identifying ‘trigger’ books for people. 

I remember going to the bookstore, one of my favorite pastimes. My youngest brother, Cory, was with me, despite the fact you could barely get him to read anything.  He kind of wandered around, waiting for me to be done.  But, following some instinct, I went to the middle-grade books instead of my usual YA or even Adult Romance section.  There I found a book that, though I wouldn’t normally read, I thought Cory might enjoy. 

With that thought I made a deal with Cory.  We’d each pay half for the book, about two dollars each, and share the book.  I’m not sure if I’d made Cory curious about the book enough for him to agree or if he simply thought he was helping me feed my addiction.  I may never know, but he agreed. 

I read the book quickly that night then gave it to Cory to read. I left for school.  Apparently I’d found his trigger book.  The next thing I heard he was reading other books, some were three or four hundred pages long.  He still reads regularly and our tastes have often crossed paths. My mother jokingly complains that she has to spend money on books for Cory now. It used to be just her and me. 

Katelynn was born a few months before my eighteenth birthday.  Thanks to her mother’s recreational activities while she was pregnant, my half-sister was born with disabilities.  She’s now in second grade and in special-ed.  After living with me and her father for a year, I’ve been told I’ve corrupted her. 

When she first arrived in Idaho, her reading level was at a level zero, not even a Kindergarten level. The first day she arrived, I took her to the library and got her her own library card.  I’ve never known anyone to be so excited over having a library card. She really didn’t use the card however, until school started up for her. 

 The school, her father and I have worked with her over the last year. Within three months of school starting, she was reading at a level of someone who’d been learning to read for nine months. She checks out books from the library whenever she can, not just movies. 

I often find that when Katelynn sees me reading, she’ll pull out her own books and read them aloud. The longest she’s done this for was an hour. She insisted on having her own journal after seeing me write with so much frequency.  She does spend some time writing, but she’s still challenged so doesn’t write as much as I think she will once she gets more comfortable with the concept. 

With her I don’t imagine I’ll need to find a trigger book.  But I don’t think she’d have made as much progress in school if it weren’t for me spending time breaking words down into simple letters, or using tricks that helped me when I was learning to read.  Sometimes all she needed was to see the word upside down to figure out what a certain one was. Sometimes she needs a more complicated trick to help her figure it out. And I enjoy seeing her pride when she does recognize or figure out what a word is.

I still love helping people with words. However, outside of working with Katelynn, I don’t really have the opportunity any more.  The majority of my friends are avid readers now.  Drew, my oldest younger brother, does not have an interest in reading or getting into the habit and his daughter, as cute and sharp as she is, lives 2,000 miles away and is a little young to focus on teaching her how to read yet. But the moment she’s old enough and Daddy’s back is turned, I plan on corrupting my only niece with the love of words like I have so many others.