Rating: 3.5 stars
As You Wish was a quick, fun read! I’m actually surprised by how much I enjoyed it.
Everyone in Madison, Nevada gets one wish that comes true. That’s an interesting premise and I was interested to see how this played out. On their eighteenth birthday, Mayor Fontaine walks the wishers to the wishing cave and it’s quite a hike. You wish alone, although it wasn’t always the rule. The rule changed due to an accidental wish. It was so tragic! Wording of the wish is everything, because if you word it wrong, you won’t get what you really wanted. Some people made the mistake of thinking that their wish created an either-or scenario, but it didn’t. They also made the mistake of not being specific. There were so many awful outcomes! Some of the wishes were typical such as money, beauty, athletic ability, intelligence, etc. All wishes had to be approved by the Mayor at least a week in advance. There were a couple of exceptions to this and it didn’t go well with the Mayor. There are rules, but the rules are flawed. I’m assuming that they’re intentionally flawed.
Some of their rules are:
1. You can’t tell anyone outside of Madison about the wishing cave.
2. You can’t wish for anything that impacts the entire world.
3. Your wish will only be in effect in Madison (mostly).
The story is narrated by Eldon Wilkes, a high school senior who’s considered an arrogant, selfish jerk even by his own friends. At first, his bad attitude was off-putting, but after a while, he just sounds like a typical, annoying teenager who is often sarcastic. There were a lot of interesting characters, some were really cool with distinct personalities such as Archie Kildare, Fletcher Hale, Eleanor “Norie” Havermayer, Merrill Delacruz, Eldon’s parents (Luella and Harmon), Mr. Wakefield, Juniper, Penelope Rowe, Abby, and a bunch of others. Throughout most of the novel, I hated Luella Wilkes, Eldon’s mom. God, she was such a selfish, bitch!
I loved how the subplots and backstories gave the wishing storyline more depth. There’s a tragedy that directly impacts Eldon and his family, and it involves one of his classmates. You see a compassionate side of Eldon and that made it so much easier to sympathize with him. By the way, I correctly guessed his wish! God, I was so excited when he said his wish! There’s typical high school drama such as broken relationships, boys on the football team fighting with each other, secret relationships, plus there are subplots with a drunk Uncle who Luella and Harmon are always rescuing, and some interesting backstories related to some of the characters’ wishes. I loved how the author worked in Area 51 and UFOs into the story!
The novel moves at a nice pace. It has 432 pages, but it didn’t feel that long to me. I still finished it in two days.
There were a few lines that sort of got my attention such as these. I’m paraphrasing the first one.
Stop taking your anger out on people who don’t deserve it. It’s an unhealthy coping mechanism.
You can’t see something you’re not looking for.
Helping people is good, but it’s also a two-way street. You can’t save someone who doesn’t want to be saved.
There were a few things that I didn’t like. As I mentioned, the rules were (probably intentionally) flawed. I don’t know if it made part of the story feel forced or if it just made the leaders in this town look like a bunch of idiots. There wasn’t any rule stating that you couldn’t wish for something that directly impacted another person in town. Think about some of the consequences that can lead to! One wish can completely alter another characters entire future and there’s nothing they can do about it, unless their wish comes afterwards, and then maybe they can undo it.
Another thing I didn’t like was the ending. I didn’t feel that resolve that makes you feel completely satisfied. I understood Eldon’s decision, but I still felt like there was something missing. I needed more tidying up.
Overall, it was enjoyable and even with the cons, I’d still recommend it.