This book has been on the TBR long enough that it doesn’t have a date attached, and the blog whose review inspired me to add it appears to no longer be a blog! So I don’t really remember what it was that originally caught my fancy.
While in some ways a typical YA, this book does have a fun little premise and, on the whole, is executed well. Margo McKenna is our narrator and heroine. She’s a typical high school senior – good grades, loves math, and is really excited about landing the lead role in this year’s musical. She totally nails her tryout, but the role goes to a sophomore instead, leaving Margo feeling confused – especially when it turns out that Vicky is kind of terrible at singing and acting. But when a series of coincidences mean that Margo ends up with a ring that was once in Vicky’s possession – Margo finds out that Vicky had a little help… magical help.
I think that the main reason that I enjoyed this book is because I liked Margo herself. Throughout, Margo is trying to make decisions that are not just good for her (or for her love interest), but for a variety of people in her life. I also really appreciated the way that she works hard at becoming a better person. There are several times that, instead of caving into the temptation to be bitter and angry about the fact that Vicky has the lead role, Margo makes a conscious decision to not let that bitterness rule her. Instead, she is unfailingly polite to Vicky (and not in a sarcastic way), and completely throws herself into the (secondary) role that she is supposed to play. I love that Margo wasn’t “naturally” nice about the situation, but worked hard at approaching the situation maturely.
While there is a bit of insta-love between Margo and Oliver (who turns out to be a genie), it ends up making sense within the context of what is happening, and I actually liked a lot of the way that their relationship panned out, and I felt like they had some good discussions.
The bad guy was a little over the top, and I didn’t really like the violence that went with his character. I also felt like it was really weird that Oliver acted like it was pretty normal for his “masters” to request/expect sexual favors while they were in control of their wishes. Like… why would one of only three wishes involve having sex with a total stranger…??? It wasn’t this huge part of the story, but it was all part of Oliver explaining how the whole thing worked. I think he was trying to emphasize the fact that he has to do whatever his master wishes, but it still felt kind of weird. His stories about having to kill people/arrange for their deaths seemed to make that point more poignantly to me.
While there were the expected unintended consequences of wishes, I felt like some of those areas were explored thoughtfully, in a way that made me wonder what I really would wish for if I had three wishes – because who knows what the long-term consequences are when you start meddling with fate? I really liked the bit where Margo was trying to decide whether or not she should make her wish change the mind of someone in her life – her thought process through whether or not it was fair/right to force someone to do something they wouldn’t have actually done – even if it’s the best decision from Margo’s perspective – was really interesting.
The ending was good, with a bit of kick and only slightly rushed. While it felt like this book worked well as a stand-alone, there is a sequel, so we will see where that leads.
All in all, this was a pretty solid 3/5 read. It was entertaining and fun, had a decent story, and involved characters who were around 18 instead of 15, so their actions and decisions made a lot more sense.