Friday, March 16, 2018

Review: As You Wish

As You Wish
Chelsea Sedoti
Published January 2, 2018
What if you could ask for anything- and get it?

In the sandy Mojave Desert, Madison is a small town on the road between nothing and nowhere. But Eldon wouldn’t want to live anywhere else, because in Madison, everyone gets one wish—and that wish always comes true.

Some people wish for money, some people wish for love, but Eldon has seen how wishes have broken the people around him. And with the lives of his family and friends in chaos, he’s left with more questions than answers. Can he make their lives better? How can he be happy if the people around him aren’t? And what hope is there for any of them if happiness isn’t an achievable dream? Doubts build, leading Eldon to a more outlandish and scary thought: maybe you can’t wish for happiness…maybe, just maybe, you have to make it for yourself. - from Goodreads
Imagine that on your 18th birthday, you could enter a magical cave and wish for practically anything you wanted (because, rules) and you would get it.  Money, beauty, athletic prowess, a new pair of shoes - whatever.  What would you wish for?  As You Wish takes a look at a town where practically anything is possible, through the eyes of Eldon Wilkes, who is about to turn 18 and get his wish.

Eldon is not the most likable of main characters - he's kind of a jerk, used to getting his way, popular and a great football player.  Until everyone in his class starts making their wishes, and suddenly he finds himself at the back of the pack. Unfortunately, he's also dealing with his sister Ebba's accident, which has left her brain-dead.  His mother is pressuring him to use his wish for money, so they can get Ebba better care, but Eldon knows nothing will help his sister at this point.  But he still has to make a wish, so he decides to start talking to other people around town about their wishes - and the consequences.

The premise is so interesting - what may seem to be a good wish at 18 may not pan out the way you hope in 10, 15, or 50 years.  It seems like practically everyone regrets their wish.  And honestly, some of the wishes seem so unfair - there's a rule that you can't affect the world at large (i.e. you can't wish for world peace), but it doesn't prevent you from affecting the life of another individual.  Eldon's mother used her wish to gain the love of Eldon's father, who was never interested in her - now he's forced to love someone he wouldn't even have given the time of day to.

The story was more melancholy than I expected and even had some controversial topics - suicide, wishing away homosexual feelings, and religion.  I appreciated that what could have been a light-hearted book actually had a lot of depth.  Although the book was quite long, it never felt that way.  I really couldn't put it down; I wanted to know what Eldon's wish would be.  Although the main character was believable as a 17-year-old boy, I thought there was maybe a bit too much cursing, and I still have mixed feelings about the ending.

4 stars

26 comments:

  1. I didn’t love it as you did but I enjoyed it enough. It was very thought provoking and many controversial issues going on. Elwin was a jerk but I didn’t seem to mind. He was growing so there were growing pains.

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    1. Yeah, I cut him a little bit of slack because he really did have a lot of crappy things going on.

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  2. The premise sounds really interesting-- I've always liked it when a book explores the complexity behind what feels like a win-win (The Magicians by Lev Grossman comes to mind because it's about a boy who thinks his life will be 1000% better if magic was real...but then when he finds out it is, all of his problems don't just suddenly disappear)

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    1. Exactly - the townspeople are usually so sure about their wishes, but down the line, it turns out most of them actually regret them.

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  3. kind of love the sound of the concept, I'll have to see if I have this. I know there is a bit of mixed reviews on it. Glad you enjoyed it for the most part, now I wonder why you weren't sure about the ending.

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    1. I hope you enjoy it if you read it, I'd be interested to hear what you think about the ending!

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  4. This does sound interesting, but you know that it is always too good to be true when you get wishes. I like that it takes on more controversial topics too.

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    1. Exactly - I mean, if I were a 17-year-old kid about to make a wish, I'd probably be terrified.

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  5. This sounds super intriguing, Angela! I love listening to YA novels on audio; I'll have to add this one to my list.

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  6. The premise totally has me intrigued. I saw this on the library site so I might try it. Great review!

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    1. Thanks, Grace! I hope you enjoy it if you read it!

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  7. You liked this slightly more than me, but I honestly think my issue was that Eldon was unlikable and I am such a character driven reader. I did like the premise and there was growth, and as you said, lighthearted but with depth. I almost feel like it would have won me over if it had been edited a little, because I remember the middle dragon a bit.

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    1. Yeah, the middle part really was a bit repetitive, but I was able to power through it pretty easily.

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  8. Eldon sounds like he has things to work through, so I could see why acted like he did. But I would probably get frustrated with him if there was change from him. I am curious as what he wished for. Great review!

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    1. Thanks, Jenea! Wanting to know what his wish would be really kept me speeding through the book.

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  9. Oh wow!! Stories about wishes are always so interesting to me!

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  10. This is definitely a unique premise, and now I want to know what he picks too! And the idea that a wish that seems like a good idea at 18 may not be so great later in life- how true that would be. Glad this was good, and I can totally see where a book like this would have a mixed ending...

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    1. Yeah, he was getting so much advice from others and getting pushed by his mother to make a certain wish, I really wasn't sure what direction he would end up going!

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  11. What an interesting and unusual premise this is. Does make you wonder what you would pick, doesn't it??

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    1. It does, and honestly, I have no idea what I would pick! And at 18, I don't know that I would have trusted myself to make a good decision!

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  12. The whole premise behind the wishes is so unique. I also like that it had so much more depth to it than you were expecting. That's always a nice surprise. I'm going to have to pick this one up because now I have to know what Eldon ends up wishing for, lol.

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    1. Haha, I can't wait for you to find out!

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  13. Oof, given the premise, this sounds surprisingly dark! I'd have expected something much lighter based on the description. It does sound fascinating though!

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    1. Yes, it was definitely darker than I expected, but I think that was a good thing!

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I'm so glad you stopped by, and I would love to hear your thoughts! Comments are always greatly appreciated!