Monday, July 11, 2016

The Wish by Gail Carson Levine, 2000

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Wilma Sturtz is invisible and miserable at school. So when an old lady on the subway offers her a wish, Wilma immediately asks for popularity -- in fact, she asks to be the most popular kid at school.
Suddenly, Wilma has more friends than she can keep track of, forty dates to the Grad Night Dance, and a secret admirer writing her love poems. Everything is great, until she realizes there's a loophole in her wish, and her time in the spotlight has almost run out.

(243 pages)

The first time I started this book was probably about five years ago, when I had just finished Ella Enchanted for the first time and was devouring everything by Gail Carson Levine that I could get my hands on. I only "started" it, not "finished," however, because the boy-girl stuff got too icky for me. I put the book down halfway through, told myself never to read it, and moved on to the infinitely superior Fairest.

This summer, however, I forgot just how much I'd disliked The Wish; I figured my disgusted reaction all those years ago was just because of my age (all twelve years olds think romance is icky, right?), and that now I was finally old enough to read and enjoy this book by the author of several of my favorite books.

Then I started reading again, and only finished because it was late and I was at my aunt's house and I didn't have anything else to read. The "girl-boy stuff" truly was too much (Wilma and her new boyfriend - both not even in high school - go to the park, lie on a blanket, and kiss passionately for over an hour after dating for like two days. I can only assume this is where I stopped last time). Reading past that to finishing the rest of the book, though, I also realized that Wilma is frankly just unlikeable. She's so obsessed with being popular that she doesn't even care that people only like her because they're being forced to. She claims to feel bad about it, and apologizes when they find out and are mad, but when given the chance she's still perfectly ready to force them back into being her friends-on-command. How can I like or respect someone like that?

Gah, I don't know what else to say. I really just want to get this review written so I can stop thinking about The Wish. I hate writing negative reviews, but I had to write this one. Please, steer clear of this particular book by Gail Carson Levine. And if you've read it and found more to like than I did, please take the time to explain to me what there is to like here.

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