Title: As You Wish by Chelsea Sedoti
Publisher: Sourcebooks Fire
Genre: Contemporary, Young Adult, Magical Realism
Length: 432 pages
Book Rating: B+
Complimentary Review Copy Provided by Publisher Through NetGalley
If you could make one wish that was guaranteed to come true—what would you wish for?
Rules for Wishing:
- Never let an outsider find out about wishing. (Zip your lips and throw away the key.)
- Wishes that would impact the world are off limits (i.e. no bringing back the dinosaurs).
- Do no harm. (Murder = no bueno.)
- No time travel. (What’s done is done, pal.)
- No bringing back the dead. (Come on. You’ve seen what happens in THE WALKING DEAD.)
- NEVER BREAK THE RULES. (Seriously. We mean it. See Rule #7.)
- There are always consequences.
Madison is a small town in the Mojave desert on the road between nothing and nowhere. It’s an unremarkable speck on the map, which is perfect for protecting the town’s secret. Because in Madison, everyone can make one wish on their eighteenth birthday-and that wish always comes true.
Most of Eldon’s classmates have had their wishes picked out for months, even years. Not Eldon. He’s seen how wishing has hurt the people around him. His parents’ marriage is strained, his sister is a virtual ghost in their house, his ex-girlfriend is dating his ex-friend…where does he even begin?
One thing is for sure: Eldon has only twenty-five days to figure it out—and the rest of his life to live with the consequences.
As You Wish by Chelsea Sedoti is a clever, well-written young adult novel that is quite thought-provoking.
The small town of Madison, NV has a secret its residents must protect: everyone gets to make a wish on their eighteen birthday and each wish comes true. With his eighteenth birthday fast approaching, Eldon Wilkes is agonizing over what to wish for. He knows what his mom would like him to request but he also knows the wish won’t make the difference she thinks it will. His principal is a wanna be psychologist who loves to hand out advice and he recommends Eldon talk to the other residents about their wishes to get a feel for how well their lives turned out when their wishes were granted. With the help of his best friend, Merrill Delacruz and their new friend, Norie Havermayer, Eldon tries to decide whether or not he will make his wish and if he can live with consequences no matter what he finally chooses to do.
Up until his senior year, Eldon lived a pretty charmed life. He was a popular football star with a gorgeous girlfriend. After an unexpected personal tragedy, he lost the girl and months later, he is still jealous over her new relationship. Eldon struggles with anger issues despite counseling and helpful advice. He is initially not easy to like but over the course of the novel, he matures and changes as he gets to know the other residents in town. Eldon remains far from perfect, but he becomes more self-aware which in turn makes him much more sympathetic and likable.
The wish element of the storyline is very well executed. Several of the wishes that have been granted over the years ended with unexpected consequences and many residents have regrets about their wishes. Seeing so much unhappiness makes Eldon’s decision even more difficult and as his wish day approaches, he is even more confused than ever. He makes an ill-fated choice that takes his wish decision out of his hands yet he still remains conflicted about the ability to make a wish. Not everyone is happy with his final decision but Eldon will surprise everyone with how he chooses to handle the aftermath of his choice.
As You Wish by Chelsea Sedoti is a poignant, thought-provoking young adult novel that is quite unique. The storyline is entertaining and surprisingly insightful but Eldon’s journey is what makes the story so compelling. Will he transform from a self-absorbed and arrogant jock into a thoughtful young man who finally faces the consequences of his decisions?