Title: Wish
Author: Alexandra Bullen
ISBN: 9780545130952
Pages: 323 pages
Publisher/Date: Point, an imprint of Scholastic Inc., c2010.

“Nobody skips town in the middle of the school year for no reason,” he continued, narrowing his eyes into little slits.
Olivia shrugged, crossing and uncrossing her ankles and staring at a patch of weeds pushing up between the crooked stone tiles.
“So what was it?” he demanded. “Messy divorce?”
Olivia shook her head and swallowed.
“Trouble with the law?” His voice was light and easy. A glimmer of a smile was twitching its way across his lips.
She swallowed again. This was the part she hated the most. The fact that no matter what she said, no matter how she said it, that smile would vanish in an instant. She would feel awkward. He would feel like an ass. And they’d finish what was left of their lunch in an uncomfortable silence. […]
Olivia steadied her shaking hands against the table. “My twin sister died.” (11)

Olivia has made the trip from Boston to San Francisco with her parents after her twin sister passes away in a swimming accident. It’s impossible for Olivia to forget her vibrant and outgoing sister Violet, who navigated their old high school and made enough friends for both of them to share. While Miles, her mother’s coworker’s son, tries hard to make her feel welcome, Olivia has her sights set on the popular and gorgeous Soren, who she’ll never have the guts to talk to because he is most definitely taken. That is, until a wish while wearing a mysterious dress brings the ghost of Violet back to the real world for only Olivia to hear and see. With Violet’s assistance, Olivia starts to come out of her shell, but is she really living her life, or an imitation of the one Violet can no longer live? And are Violet’s suggestions the best for Olivia and her grief-stricken family?

Gorgeous cover alert. Gorgeous cover alert. I love the way the dress evaporates into the background, the title’s iridescent font, and how the shooting star dots the “i” in the title. Whoever was the graphic designer for this did a fantastic job on incorporating elements from the story into the cover art. Although, I kind of wish the author credit was incorporated a little more into the design, as it seems to jar with the rest. Overall though, really eye-catching and appealing.

I think I was instantly intrigued by Olivia because she is trying so hard to get over her grief for her twin. Although, I seem to be reading an awful lot of death stories lately… is that the trend now, to kill off the best friend/sibling before the story even starts? Are we harkening back to the Grimm fairy tale days when the mother is dead and the evil-stepmother has entered the picture?

Anyways, Olivia knows she’s supposed to move on, but is understandably having difficulty doing so because of her introverted nature. Violet was the outgoing twin, the one that Olivia deferred to when placed in uncomfortable, awkward, or new situations. As a new student at a new school, transitioning to an only child status and dealing with argumentative parents, she’s faced with multiple instances of all three of those situations. Add to it the fact that her sister’s ghost magically appears after a wish, and she’s handling things as best she can. Her uncertainty towards her friends and her love interest, especially with magic being in the mix, is reflected honestly.

Olivia is trying to find herself, just like most teenaged girls. And she does a remarkable job of accomplishing what she sets out to accomplish. It’s somewhat predictable in the way that she grows into her own skin and begins to rely on Violet less and less as the story progresses. But that’s why we’ve picked up this book in the first place, is to see a coming of age story of a shy girl who exits her cocoon a butterfly. And while I wish, I really wish that everyone paired up like a Shakespeare comedy at the end (one boy in particular deserves it), the story rings truer that there are some single people left over and they aren’t afraid of their status as “single.”

The back cover asks “If you could have anything, what would you wish for?” Readers though are left wondering if getting what you wish for is as satisfying if you don’t have to work to get it. And that’s an important lesson to remember in life, and one I find myself trying to remember throughout this past week.

What about you… If you had the opportunity to wish for anything, would you later question whether you could have gotten it without magical means?