by Mandy Hubbard
Reading level: YA
Kayla McHenry's life kind of sucks. Her father's left the family, her best friend is spending too much time with her new boyfriend, and her mother's throwing her a sweet sixteen birthday party that she doesn't want. When she makes a wish on her birthday candles -- that birthday wishes really did come true -- she never expects that anything will come of it.
But Kayla's birthday wishes do start coming true and she wakes up each day to find that a wish from a past birthday has been granted. Realizing this, Kayla is desperate to find a way to stop the wishes... because when she turned 15, she wished that Ben would kiss her. And Ben just happens to be her best friend's new boyfriend.
I will admit that I thought the premise of this book sounded so cute and funny. And the premise was a good one. Unfortunately, the book was so full of mistakes that I was too distracted to really enjoy the story.
The first major boo-boo was that Kayla and her friends were supposed to be starting their sophomore year of high school. Apparently, at their particular school, everybody is held back a year, resulting in a bunch of 16-year-olds in the tenth grade. (I did the math a few times to be sure. If these kids were all 16, they should have been starting their junior year.)
And that was just the start of things to come. I couldn't figure out how Kayla and her brother ended up with hair that's "something between that and blond, which is completely blah" if their mother had "beautiful deep-brown hair" and their father was a dark-haired Italian. Kayla's hair did change to dark brown on page 66, which threw me yet again. And what the heck was up with her father? A born-and-bred Italian with dark hair and an accent to boot... and his last name is McHenry? And his middle names are Preston and Lewis? That sounds more Scottish than Italian to me.
Then there's the bane of my existence as a reader: the first person, present tense point of view. I dislike it at the best of times, even when it's done really well. But here, there were some tense issues that made for a few really awkward turns of phrase. I really don't understand the appeal of this point of view and why it's used so much in young adult books. The story could have been told just as well in the past tense... and there wouldn't have been as much awkwardness.
I also wasn't impressed with the character dynamic between Kayla and her supposed best friend, Nicole. I say "supposed" because we don't really see them acting as best friends. By the beginning of the story, Nicole has already grown distant, so we only have Kayla's word that they were once really close. It's almost as if the narrative started a bit too late. As a result, instead of being shown these things, we have to be told about them instead.
While the story was cute and pretty funny in places, I found that all the errors broke the flow and detracted from the story too much for me to really enjoy it. If you don't notice that kind of thing, you'll probably like You Wish. But I just couldn't get past all the lapses in editing, which sort of soured me on the whole thing.
Overall: 3 out of 5