Genres: Young Adult, Contemporary
Published by HMH Books for Young Readers on May 2nd 2017
Source: Provided by Publisher, Netgalley
Amazon, Barnes & Noble , The Book Depository
All seventeen year-old Grace Glasser wants is her own life. A normal life in which she sleeps in the same bed for longer than three months and doesn't have to scrounge for spare change to make sure the electric bill is paid. Emotionally trapped by her unreliable mother, Maggie, and the tiny cape on which she lives, she focuses on her best friend, her upcoming audition for a top music school in New York, and surviving Maggie’s latest boyfriend—who happens to be Grace’s own ex-boyfriend’s father.
Her attempts to lay low until she graduates are disrupted when she meets Eva, a girl with her own share of ghosts she’s trying to outrun. Grief-stricken and lonely, Eva pulls Grace into midnight adventures and feelings Grace never planned on. When Eva tells Grace she likes girls, both of their worlds open up. But, united by loss, Eva also shares a connection with Maggie. As Grace's mother spirals downward, both girls must figure out how to love and how to move on.
“We’re not Grace Glasser or Eva Brighton. Just Grace and Eva. Two girls who need to feel young and free, need to feel like girls. Need to scream from the top of a lighthouse and eat peanut butter out of a jar and swear and accidentally brush up against each other and giggle about it. So that’s what we do.”
In a way, this book is about mother/daughter relationships. It’s told from Grace’s POV, and from the beginning we see Grace’s complicated relationship with her mother. It’s a toxic relationship, and borderline emotionally abusive towards Grace. The way the author wrote this relationship felt so real and so raw. I could connect with Grace on a deeply personal level in a way, because I’ve been raised by a single mother. I understood Grace’s struggle of loving her mother but also not wanting to be responsible for her.
“… it’s so hard to say it. To confess that my own mother, the woman who gave me life and is supposed to love and cherish me above all else, forgets my age half the time.”
We could also see that Grace genuinely does love her mother Maggie, and it made my heart break for her. We could see that Maggie was unreliable, reckless, and clueless. The way the author wrote Grace and Maggie’s interactions made me ache because they were full of sadness and anger and everything in between. On the other axis we have Eva, who recently lost her mother, so she’s struggling with adapting to being without her, and going through the different stages of grief. This book explored the grief so well, and it even made us see both Grace and Eva’s situations as parallels. What was worse? Having Grace’s absentee mother, or losing Eva’s loving one? This book really made me feel in a way I wasn’t expecting.
It wasn’t difficult for me to fall in love with Grace and Eva, or to immerse myself in their story. They first connect because they can find solace in each other from their grief, but then we see them actually start to open up to each other and fall in love. I’ve seen a lot of reviews criticizing that they wished there could’ve been more development to their relationship, but I personally loved it. Their interactions are sometimes subtle and cute, but they can also turn steamy and tension-filled at any second. I liked that their relationship progressed from friends to lovers and I loved that they were always really honest with each other. Grace and Eva are a perfect match to me.
This book is also very sex positive! There’s a sex scene and they both talk to each other and there’s mutual consent and discussion of what they’re comfortable with and I really enjoyed that. It’s important to have these scenes in YA. There’s also a masturbation scene that really helps with the taboo that is female masturbation, which again, was really well handled and should be more common in YA.
Props to this book for writing the most wonderful platonic friendship! Grace and Luca are best friends, but there’s never any kind of romantic tension between them or anything. They’re really close friends, and Luca is incredibly supportive and kind. His family is even like a second family to Grace, and this was so endearing to me. I loved this aspect a lot because Grace really needed a support system, and it was Luca and his family.
I couldn’t end my review without talking about one of the most important parts. The diversity! Grace is bisexual. Grace’s bisexuality means so much to me, because you can see the nuance with which it was touched upon in the story. Everyone accepts it easily, and there’s healthy discussion about what it means to Grace. The author is bisexual as well, which I’m sure accounts for the really well developed aspect. Other than Grace there’s also Eva, who’s lesbian and biracial. The biracial rep is incredibly important and extremely well done. I highly recommend you seeking out this book if you want to see some really great bisexual or biracial representation.
Overall, HOW TO MAKE A WISH is a poignant novel about mother/daughter relationships, grief, and two girls falling in love. It has ownvoices bisexual representation; lesbian rep, and biracial rep. It’s a book close to my heart that I think more people should read.
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