Wow, wow, wow!! I can not begin to describe how much I loved this book. “How to make a wish” turned from a fun, light-hearted read to a book I had been looking for for years.
All seventeen year-old Grace Glasser wants is her own life. A normal life in which she sleeps in the same bed for longer than three months and doesn’t have to scrounge for spare change to make sure the electric bill is paid. Emotionally trapped by her unreliable mother, Maggie, and the tiny cape on which she lives, she focuses on her best friend, her upcoming audition for a top music school in New York, and surviving Maggie’s latest boyfriend—who happens to be Grace’s own ex-boyfriend’s father.
Her attempts to lay low until she graduates are disrupted when she meets Eva, a girl with her own share of ghosts she’s trying to outrun. Grief-stricken and lonely, Eva pulls Grace into midnight adventures and feelings Grace never planned on. When Eva tells Grace she likes girls, both of their worlds open up. But, united by loss, Eva also shares a connection with Maggie. As Grace’s mother spirals downward, both girls must figure out how to love and how to move on.
How to make a wish features a f/f romance- and a biracial one, nonetheless- a romance that is so rare in YA literature that you need to be actively looking for it in order to find it in no more than 10 books. The relationship that develops between Grace and Eva is beautiful, is natural, is effortless. But the most important part is that both girls have their own individual personality traits and are not reduced to caricatures as gay characters so often are. Blake does not write about two queer girls. She writes about two girls, two unique, strong, endlessly fascinating girls who just happen to fall in love. They exist outside their sexual orientation and their relationships with other characters, their worries and arcs are not just about their sexuality. In fact, there is no big coming out moment, no chapter that revolves around them worrying about someone else’s reaction. This book is not a coming-out-story; it is a coming-of-age story, a story about family, and loss, and grief, and first love.
One of the key elements that made the book for me was the relationships and dynamics between the characters. Grace’s relationship with her mom is as important to the story as is her relationship with Eva. Eva and Maggie also share a deep connection, as do Grace and Luca, her childhood best friend and her number one supporter. Even the dynamic between Luca and his mom or his brother and Grace’s relationship with them, are well-developed and depicted throughout the course of the book and end up playing a vital role in Grace’s character growth and final arc. Their bonds are complicated, forged under the pressure of an irresponsible mother, a child forced to grow up too fast, and their undying,endless love for one another.
Blake’s simple writing complements her story. The absence of pretentious, overly sophisticated words and expressions lets her characters shine and develop in what can only be described as a beautiful story of love and family.
Now, I need to highlight some parts of the book that I adored, because I so rarely find them in any YA book.
- Grace and Luca are childhood best friends and there is no unnecessary romance or awkward, unrequited love developed between them. Because hey, boys and girls can actually be just friends.
- Grace and Jay (her ex boyfriend/ new roommate) actually get some kind of closure and come to realize their mistakes
- No tearful coming-out story!!! I can not stress this one enough, it’s so important to me
- A beautifully developed sapphic romance!!
- Eva actually addresses the racism and body-shaming occurring in the ballet industry and how that’s affected her.
So, if you weren’t already planning on it, read ‘How to make a wish’ when it’s released (May 2nd) and, I promise you, you are bound to love it.
**An ARCopy of this book was provided via Netgalley in exchange of an honest review**