*I was given a free copy of this book by the publisher via Netgalley in exchange for an honest review. It has in no way affected my opinion.
Ugh, I’ve been doing so well avoiding half stars, but As You Wish by Chelsea Sedoti really got me conflicted! I liked it more than other three star books I’ve read, but it wasn’t worthy of a four star review, because those are usually for favorites of mine. And don’t get me wrong, I really enjoyed this book. It was creative and unique and a touch magical, but it was not four stars.
Eldon lives in a tiny, middle of nowhere town in Nevada called Madison. They may present themselves as an ordinary town, but they have one secret: they grant wishes. Not just willy nilly though. On your eighteenth birthday, you get one wish. It is the wishes to end all wishes, the one you think long and hard about. The problem is, as Eldon’s wish day approaches, he has absolutely no idea what to wish for. He doesn’t want to regret it, yet that seems to be a common occurrence. He decides to interview fellow town members and discover what their wishes were to try to get an idea of his own.
I liked Eldon, I really did. But he pissed me off some (read: most) of the time. He is just very oblivious and selfish and a pretty bad friend. However, he has a very redeeming quality: how strongly he loves. This love is most evident through his relationship with his sister Ebba, who he loves more than himself. But he also cares strongly for Merrill, his best friend, and Norie, a new best friend of his. And he even cares for his parents, even though they have a messed up relationship.
Everyone, let’s give a high five to Merrill for being THE BEST best friend. He really has Eldon’s back 100% of the time, even when Eldon is being oblivious to Merrill’s problems. Sure, he’s a jokester, goofball, and conspiracy theorist, but Merrill has got a big heart and is willing to listen to Eldon whenever he needs. And for some reason, his dream of being a pilot yet having bad eyesight breaks my heart. I don’t know why, I think because it is just so simple and sweet and innocent.
And really, what a great bromance this book has. Merrill + Eldon 4 Lyfe! In all actuality, I really appreciated this part of the novel, because a friendship between guys where they listen to each other and share their feelings is so rare yet so necessary.
“’Wishing made it a sure thing though.’
‘But who wants a sure thing? Life is about gambles’.”
Mostly, I love the messages this book sends. It discusses choices and regrets and greed. Everyone has a choice, but that choice always affects others. Take Eldon’s mom, who’s choice to pursue love took away the ultimate choice of Eldon’s dad. And take Eldon, who’s choice to save the town may have destroyed some within. It also sends a message about the power of unlimited choices and greed. If you have the power to have whatever you want in the world, like you do on Wish Day, your greed will get the better of you, and you will end up unhappy in life, like most of the town’s residents do. This seems like a simple theme, yet is complicated by the ending. Because as Juniper displays, not all choices were used for greedy purposes, so does Wish Day automatically make you regret your choices? It was food for thought in the book and honestly I’m not sure which side I agree with.
Also, side note. Why, in a town where wishes are so important, do the characters use I wish lightly?????? Maybe I’m just being anal, but I feel like that is a word you wouldn’t use in casual conversation if you know how much power it can hold. I mean, it even causes problems for one of the characters. Just a peeve of mine during this book. End side note.
So far in this review, I haven’t written many cons. And that’s because there weren’t many. But why the 3.5* review, you ask? Maybe it was just me, and I wasn’t in the right mood for it, but to me there was nothing overwhelmingly special about it. There was nothing bad about it either, but I didn’t relate strongly to one character, or have some epiphany whole reading it. It was a good book, and certainly unique, but to me it just didn’t scream “Wow!”.
P.S. This book is published January 2, 2018.
Have you read this book? What would you wish for if you had your own Wish Day?