You Wish by Mandy Hubbard
Number of pages: 272
My copy: paperback, bought from Fully Booked
What if all your wishes really came true?
Kayla McHenry’s sweet sixteen sucks! Her dad left, her grades dropped, and her BFF is dating the boy Kayla’s secretly loved for years. Blowing out her candles, Kayla thinks: I wish my birthday wishes actually
came true. Because they never freakin’ do.
Kayla wakes the next day to a life-sized, bright pink My Little Pony outside her window. Then a year’s supply of gumballs arrives. A boy named Ken with a disturbing resemblance to the doll of the same name stalks her. As the ghosts of Kayla’s wishes-past appear, they take her on a wild ride . . . but they MUST STOP. Because when she was fifteen? She wished Ben Mackenzie would kiss her. And Ben is her best friend’s boyfriend.
* * *
Totally honest moment: I know I said I hardly buy books because of their cover, but the main reason why I wanted to have this book when I saw it is because of the pink. This is probably the brightest book in my shelf right now, and I’m pretty sure my guy friends would not get this book because of that cover (unless you believe that real men wear…er, read pink-covered books?). But I just love it. The pink, the cupcake, the pony — it’s like a little girl’s dream birthday cake on a book! :)
But Kayla McHenry, You Wish‘s protagonist hated the pink. She hated everything during her sixteenth birthday party where her mom used it more as an event to market herself as an event organizer for the sweet sixteen birthday market, and her best friend ditched her for a date with her boyfriend, who incidentally, Kayla has been in love with for the past three years. (Okay that sentence was mouthful) It was a truly sucky birthday, and I couldn’t blame Kayla for acting that way, and wishing that wish that changed everything.
And wishes. I’ve written about how I used to make wishes with my review of Jackson Pearce’s As You Wish, but Mandy Hubbard’s newest novel literally takes the cake at wish fulfillment. You Wish is a sweet, sort of coming of age story with lots of fun, toys and lessons learned for girls who are growing up. The entire story kind of reminds me of 13 Going on 30, but perhaps it may just be because of the pink and yes, the wish. For the next two weeks after Kayla’s disaster of a sixteenth birthday, one wish from her past birthdays come true, with hilarious results. It wouldn’t have been a big deal if Kayla wished for mere toys as she grew up (like what kids would wish for birthday gifts or Christmas gifts at redenvelope.com), but she had to wish for more outrageous things. A real pink My Little Pony? Raggedy Ann Doll coming to life? A shower of gumballs? Become a mermaid? Have bigger breasts? Practically everything that a little girl and a teenager would wish for as she grows old came true for Kayla, and it wasn’t fun at all. Not to mention that Kayla’s best friend is slowly drifting apart from her, and she feels more and more attracted to Ben…Kayla had to find a way to undo the wish, and fast, before her last wish for Ben to kiss her comes true.
I haven’t been reading much contemporary YA lately because I feel like almost everything has been overdone. Come to think of it, I think this may pass as speculative fiction given the magical elements, so yeah, I guess I still stayed away from them! But I digress. I love how the author tackled the story without magic overpowering everything. True, having all those wishes coming true at that extent is unbelievable, but at some point in the story, I started to believe that those things were actually happening to Kayla. The magic wasn’t a way to escape, too, but to show Kayla how much she’s changed, and how much things are changing around her. However, these wishes also taught her that she also had the power to change herself and somehow effect the same change around her if she really wanted it.
Kayla’s character development was painful to read for me, because I know how it feels like to “lose” a good friend because she suddenly had a boyfriend. I wasn’t in love with her boyfriend, mind you, but she was so in love with him that our friendship was…well, discarded. Thinking about it still kind of stings until now, and unlike Kayla, I haven’t had the chance to repair that discarded friendship because the other party doesn’t seem to want to (or maybe she’s kind of oblivious). I wanted to reach inside the book and comfort Kayla in her lonely moments, but I was glad at how the author handled that in the story, by not pointing the blame at a single person. Friendship issues are never uncomplicated, because as the saying says it takes two to tango. Kayla and Nicole’s friendship in the book was at the stage where they could choose to grow in it or just leave it, and Ms. Hubbard resolved it beautifully.
As for the romance aspect, I liked it. Ben wasn’t my type of guy, but I thought his chemistry with Kayla felt real. It didn’t make me all tingly all over, but it was a pretty cute high school romance. :)
I’d totally recommend Mandy Hubbard’s You Wish to all girls and girls at heart (and yes, even boys, too, if they can stomach the pink!). You Wish is a thoughtful novel about friendship, family, body issues, conformity, clean slates, and yes, wishes. Be careful what you wish for, because you never know when another wish could make them come true! :)
My copy: paperback, from Fully Booked
Cover & Blurb: Goodreads