HOW TO MAKE A WISH
Author: Ashley Herring Blake
Genre: YA, Contemporary, Romance
Pub Date: May 2, 2017
Grace, tough and wise, has nearly given up on wishes, thanks to a childhood spent with her unpredictable, larger-than-life mother. But this summer, Grace meets Eva, a girl who believes in dreams, despite her own difficult circumstances.
One fateful evening, Eva climbs through a window in Grace’s room, setting off a chain of stolen nights on the beach. When Eva tells Grace that she likes girls, Grace’s world opens up and she begins to believe in happiness again. How to Make a Wish is an emotionally charged portrait of a mother and daughter’s relationship and a heartfelt story about two girls who find each other at the exact right time.
I was destined to love this book. I firmly believe this.
Why? Oh, let me tell you why.
I didn’t like the author’s first book, I’ll be honest. I thought it was cliche and as someone who has experienced something very similar to the things the main characters do, I thought it wasn’t well handled at all. And yet, I still wanted to read this book. Like Suffer Love, I have a very personal connection to this book.
I thought this would be easy to read. I thought I could pick it up and read it in a couple hours and be done.
I was very, very wrong. This book was beautiful and everything I could ever want it to be, but it was a heavy read for me.
My mother and I have a complicated relationship much like the one Grace has with Maggie. There are quite a few big differences too, but overall, it’s pretty much the same. Grace often says she worries about going to college, not because she’s scared like a normal high school girl, but because she’s scared what will happen to her mother when she leaves. That’s not normal for most people, and yet, this is *exactly* how I feel. I related to Grace constantly throughout this book, whether it was with her thoughts on her mother or her sexuality or something else. I loved her as a character–actually, I loved all the characters. I thought they were all well rounded and easy to relate to.
The plot was also great. It reminded me a lot of Ramona Blue, another book I recently read and loved. There isn’t a ton of actual tangible plot events, but it never felt slow. It was just like taking a glimpse into a pivotal part in Grace’s life and following along with her. I was never bored; everything Grace felt, I felt.
I personally believe Grace’s sexuality was handled very well and respectfully. Her bisexuality was written like it wasn’t a big deal–that’s just how Grace is–and I really appreciated that. In my opinion, I don’t think every queer book has to place a big emphasis on a character’s sexuality. Sometimes teenagers are comfortable with who they are and their sexual identity isn’t a big deal. That said, I also really loved some of the discussions the character’s had regarding sexuality, and again, I felt like everything was done really respectfully.
As a white girl, I’m not the chief voice on rep, but Eva’s biracial (white and black), and I thought it was handled so so so well. I understood all of her struggles and it felt very real and authentic. She’s also a lesbian (she uses the label). There are so many diverse characters in here you’re bound to relate to at least one of them in one way or more.
*swoons* THE ROMANCE!!! I absolutely loved Eva and Grace together. They weren’t polar opposites, but they also weren’t super similar; they fit together perfectly. The progression of their relationship from strangers to hesitant friends to something more was *so* cute. I found myself squealing over their big relationship milestones, and related to that, I felt like the pacing of their relationship was so realistic. A lot of YA books make it seem like people get together SO fast and then they’re suddenly in love, but I felt like HTMAW did a great job at showing the are-we-together-or-what period that happens after the first kiss but before they “officially” get together. Basically, everything about Grace and Eva’s relationship was A+.
Also, consent!! Consent is so important in YA, and I was so happy to see it brought up in a natural way in the book.
I have no complaints about this book. I can’t tell you if that’s because I related to it so much I overlooked its flaws, but honestly, it was perfect to me. There’s nothing I would change or add to it (well, more kissing would have been nice, but *shrugs*).
Overall, How to Make a Wish was a shining star of a book. With a cast full of relatable characters, a swoony f/f romance and a complicated mother-daughter relationship, it’s everything I could want and more. Even if you don’t have a complicated relationship with your mom, or you aren’t bisexual or lesbian, I honestly believe you’ll love this book, too. Please, if you have the chance, you should definitely give it a chance, because I promise it will steal your heart, too.