Expected publication: April 26th 2016 by HarperTeen
Format read: ARC via publisher
When Lennie brings a few jars of her uncles’ moonshine to Michaela Gordon’s house party, she has everyone who drinks it make a wish. It’s tradition. So is the toast her uncles taught her: May all your wishes come true, or at least just this one.
The thing is, those words aren’t just a tradition. The next morning, every wish—no matter how crazy—comes true. And some of them turn out deadly. But once granted, a wish can’t be unmade…and Lennie has to find a way to fix the damage.
(And no, I’m not going to tell you why – you’ll just have to read it to find out! *grin*)
With that being said, Down With the Shine was my first Kate Karyus Quinn book – despite people urging me to read her work before - and now I can safely say, I HAVE been missing out.
Quinn introduces us to Lennie, a girl who has always been something of an outsider in her small town. Months after a traumatic event, she decides to try and change her social status by attending a party with several jars of her family’s (in)famous moonshine in tow.
Little does she know that her family’s traditional toast of making a wish, isn’t just a tradition…
Wow. Just wow. Where do I start with this book? It’s crazy, ridiculous fun, with a bit of a thriller mixed in. Quinn basically throws readers into a scenario where we get to see just what happens when every careless wish you could ever make is granted, and the resulting fallout.
Shine really emphasizes the idea that with great power comes great responsibility, and Quinn does a nice job of analyzing how the individuals of Lennie’s family have chosen to follow that path both positively and negatively, and her own legacy within that spectrum, even as she’s fighting off some of the worst possible results of her wish granting.
Along the way, Quinn makes it a point to emphasize both Lennie’s adaptability in handling increasingly bizarre situations, but also pauses to recognize the guilt that Lennie has been carrying around from a previous trauma. Lennie's forced to confront that guilt in the most unexpected way and in-your-face way possible, and her eventual approach definitely emphasizes her growing maturity and sense of responsibility.
Between Lennie’s journey, and an external cast of bizarre characters including Cheetos! Bird men! And more, this is a bizarre, hilarious and inventive book that capture the imagination of every reader.
Quinn’s mad literary romp of careless magic and family drama – with a bit of murder thrown in for good measure – is a book that will make you grimace, laugh and shudder, most likely all within the same chapter.
Lennie’s journey is a weird and fantastical one, as she struggles to combat an array of wishes gone awry, and a family legacy that she never expected. But Quinn gives readers every reason to root for her every step of the way, with a definite wink and a nod toward the idea that with great power does come even greater responsibility.
Though the book ends on an unexpected note, it’s a satisfying one. Readers will likely want to read and reread this crazy, inventive tale. Highly recommend for all readers, full stop. You need this one for your shelves.