Title: How to Make a Wish
Author: Ashley Herring Blake
Published by: HMH Books for Young Readers
Publishing date: May 2nd 2017
Genre: Contemporary, Young Adult
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.
*I received an ARC through Netgalley in exchange of an honest review. The release date for this book is May 2nd 2017*
How to Make a Wish is a character driven book with a really quiet story, it takes turns being heartbreaking, honest, complicated, adorable and heartwarming. Something that makes this book incredibly special is the fact that it’s #ownvoices in terms of sexuality, both the author and the main character are bisexual. The way in which Grace’s bisexuality is describe in the book feels real and honest and the way her bisexuality is treated and viewed by other characters as something normal is so meaningful. The representation in this book is accurate and thoughtful and it’s not limited to bisexuality, there’s also amazing representation with the love interest, Eva, which is a biracial lesbian girl and I think this is especially important because there’s so little accurate representation of biracial people that having such a positive and relevant representation means a lot.
One of the best things about this book is the romance, Grace and Eva are really cute together and their interactions are really smart and entertaining. There are some steamy moments in this book; there are make out scenes and a sex scene and I think there is so much sex positivity and also it’s amazing to see how Grace and Eva always make sure the other is comfortable with what they are doing, they always ask for verbal consent and I think the fact that that is portrait makes this a really valuable book. Also, there’s female masturbation in this book and again the sex positivity is off the charts, it’s shown like something natural and normal and that’s incredible. Furthermore, it’s delightful to see an amazing platonic relationship between a girl and a boy being present in this story. Grace and Luca are best friends, there are no secondary motivations, neither is in love with the other, they are just friends and that is refreshing.
Now, for the heartbreaking part of this book, one of the main parts of the story revolves around this raw, painful and honest depiction of the relationship between Grace and her mother. Maggie, Grace’s mother, is an unreliable parent, she’s reckless, unpredictable and clueless, she puts her child in impossible situations and this part is so well-written that it’s easy to feel and connect with Grace’s anger, sadness and her feelings of helplessness. There’s so many moments between Grace and Maggie that are so profundly heartbreaking that they make reading this book really hard. On the other hand, there’s Eva, who’s mother just passed away and this book explores grief in a devastating way. There’s this scene in the beach when Grace and Eva first meet that it’s so heartbreaking and raw, that it’s hard to imagine how someone is able to write a scene that can make the reader feel so much. Another thing that it’s magnificent in this book is the fact that as much as Grace makes Eva feel better, Eva’s grief doesn’t go away, it’s always there and that so incredibly honest and sad.
Overall, this was a fantastic book with a diverse cast of characters and a story that at times makes you feel devastated and at other times can be heartwarming.