Tuesday, January 26, 2010

Review: Wish by Alexandra Bullen

Tags: middle grade, YA, magic, wishes, dresses, grief, sisters

Rating: 2.5 out of 5


Olivia Larsen doesn’t know how she will survive after the death of her more outgoing twin sister, Violet. When her parents move all the way across the country to San Francisco, Olivia stumbles across a mysterious seamstress’ shop and is given three beautiful, magic dresses, each with the ability to grant one wish. What Olivia wants above all else is to have Violet back, but everyone knows that making wishes is more complicated than you think…


Alexandra Bullen’s debut novel, WISH, is a quick and cute read that will appeal best to younger teen readers and fans of modern fairy tales in the style of the movie Enchanted. More experienced readers, however, may be less impressed by the average writing, characters, and plot.

WISH is less a fairy tale than it is a touching story about the complexities and intricacies of two sisters’ relationship with one another. While neither Olivia nor Violet are actually noteworthy as characters, you can’t help but be touched at the way they play off one another, the way Violet looks after Olivia, even after death. WISH is a very human book, and perhaps that may be startling to some, because that is not what we immediately think of with such a fairy tale-esque premise. But the magic element in the novel is muted, allowing interpersonal relationships—with all their ups and downs—to shine through and stand out.

Unfortunately, the writing left a bit to be desired. The prose was uninspiring: there was nothing particularly captivating or enchanting about it. In fact, the blandness of the writing often took away from the cute premise’s potential, leaving behind what felt like an overmanufactured fairy tale.

Still, if you like the idea of a contemporary fairy tale, WISH is good for a quick read.

Similar Authors
Kate Brian (The Princess and the Pauper)
Aimee Friedman (Sea Change)
Jackson Pearce (As You Wish)

Writing: 2/5
Characters: 2/5
Plot: 3/5

Overall Rating: 2.5 out of 5

Cover discussion: 3 out of 5 - Why are all the cover models for these YA books so unrealistically beautiful? That's not how I pictured Olivia looks like at all, though the color, title font, and stars are rather pretty.

Scholastic / Jan. 12, 2010 / Hardcover / 336pp. / $17.99

Received for blog tour from SME and Scholastic.

Stay tuned for an author interview and giveaway opportunity!


  1. Glad I read this review :) Since I trust your judgement I probably won't be running out to grab this one too soon. I agree about cover models...not many girls in my high school were that beautiful lol

  2. Damn, I really hoped this book was good. I've been reading not so great reviews on it, eh oh well I'll read my copy eventually lol, great review!

  3. I read this book and had the same reaction. I found it uninspiring. I thought the author was trying too hard, with really trendy names for her characters, super-fashionable clothing, etc. It seemed like she was aiming for a Disney movie to be made from the book.

    That said- it was nice that all the kids in the book were NICE people :-)

  4. Thanks for the review! I also finished it a while ago and LOVED it, especially the writing - I thought it was beautiful! I really enjoyed the story too and I can't wait for the 'sequel'. :)

  5. Good review. I wa sexcited to read this, but now maybe less so. I think I'll still pick it up though. I really love the cover, especially the shooting star and the way the dress fades.

  6. Oooh... should've read this one first, I guess... lol. Meh, I still think it might be a fun one to read with my girls, and they wouldn't have to work hard to understand it, I guess.

    Thanks for the honesty :-)

  7. Too bad the writing ruined this book for you. I still may check it out because I am a sucker for fairy tales. :P

  8. Ouch, I may have to take this one of my wishlist.

  9. Just entered for giveaway, Great review. Sounds like a winner,

  10. I liked Wish because of its magical element, which did not take centre stage anyway. I found myself drawn in to the relationship between the twins though. It's hard to lose someone close.


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