Happy MMGM, guys!
This week, we're reviewing Wishing Day by Lauren Myracle!
I liked this book, but I didn't love this book. I think part of the reason was because it's the first in a trilogy, and consequently, it felt like Myracle was slowing down the pacing to make sure there was enough story for three books.
MMGM is a feature hosted by the fabulous Shannon Messenger on her blog every week!
Published May 3rd 2016 by Katherine Tegen Books
Format read: Finished copy via publisher
The first wish is an impossible wish.
The second is a wish she can make come true herself.
And the third is the deepest wish of her secret heart.
Natasha is the oldest child in a family steeped in magic, though she’s not sure she believes in it. She’s full to bursting with wishes, however. She misses her mother, who disappeared nearly eight long years ago. She has a crush on one of the cutest boys in her class, and she thinks maybe it would be nice if her very first kiss came from him. And amid the chaos of a house full of sisters, aunts, and a father lost in grief, she aches to simply be...noticed.
So Natasha goes to the willow tree at the top of the hill on her Wishing Day, and she makes three wishes. What unfolds is beyond anything she could have imagined.
So I was actually excited for Wishing Day, but I ended up finding the story good, but not great. Myracle introduces us to Natasha, the oldest girl in a family that lives in Willow Hill - a place known for granting wishes on a young girl's 13th birthday.
Natasha ends up (slightly dubiously) making three wishes, including an impossible wish, a self-fulfilling wish, and a wish deep in her heart. When one of her wishes comes true, Natasha wonders if the others will come true as well...
So there's nothing really wrong with Wishing Day, I think that it just wasn't sure what it wanted to be. To paraphrase a fellow reviewer, it felt like Myracle had a number of great ideas - e.g. a story about magic; a story about a missing mother; slightly magical things happening in her day-to-day life - and wasn't necessarily sure how to balance them in the narrative, leaving the story feeling disjointed.
Which is a shame, because everything that Myracle is known for - great characters; interesting world-building - is all here. All of the characters like the aunts, Natasha and sisters Darya and Ava, are beautifully, thoughtfully drawn, with interesting ideas and destines waiting for them all, and readers will likely anticipate where the story goes from here.
The book ends with a bit of a cliffhanger, which is one of my biggest pet peeves in literature. However, despite my quibbles with the structure of the story, Myracle has ultimately created a world I'm more than happy to visit again.
Bottom line: Wishing Day is a story that is uncertain of what it wants to be, but it's undeniable imbued with beautiful characterizations and thoughtful world-building. Give it a try, especially if you're a fan of magical realism.
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About the author:
Lauren Myracle is the author of many books for teens and tweens, including Shine and the New York Times bestsellers ttyl, ttfn, and l8r, g8r. She lives with her family in Fort Collins, CO. You can visit her online at www.laurenmyracle.com.