5/5 – This book won’t be easy for me to talk about. It’s about a girl with a mother who isn’t a mother. It’s about a girl who had to grow up too fast. It’s about a girl making the decision to put herself first. This book hit me personally. It was well written and we need more books like this. More books with queer characters because one day a queer girl like me will read this and it will inspire her and she’ll be able to relate to it. The good and the bad. There is so much that this book did right and I’m going to lay it out there for you so that you will go read this book and hopefully love it.
Lemme just get this out there because this is important: THERE IS BISEXUAL REPRESENTATION ON THE PAGE.
How To Make a Wish surrounds the relationship between Grace and her mother Maggie. It’s always been the two of them since Grace’s father died when she was two. Her mother, not prepared to take on the responsibility of being a mother stops being a mother. Instead, she relies on Grace at a young age to take care of her. She’s an alcoholic and is incredibly selfish. Grace feels obligated to stand by her mother even when she hurts her and ultimately hurts others. As a result, Grace reconsiders her plans to go to college in New York, to be a pianist, because she cannot leave her mother behind. Because who knows what she would do without her. No matter how many times her mom disappoints her, she won’t let her go.
This in itself is heartbreaking. What makes this story better, is Eva. A girl who has just lost her mother unexpectedly and finds comfort in Grace’s mom because she too has lost someone. From the moment they meet, Grace is drawn to Eva and eventually, a romance develops between them. Throughout the book, their relationship begins and stalls, they have ups and downs, but it always comes back to how they help each other cope.
For the record, I absolutely love them as characters and as a couple. Be still my fucking heart, these two are such a great couple. They are one of my favorite couples of all time because they are just so great and so sweet. Grace might not be the most likable character, she’s “prickly” and her unwillingness to cut ties with her mom is frustrating, but I understand her. It’s not easy to walk away from someone you love, especially your mother, so I understood the dilemma she was going through. Not everyone will. Eva is just fucking adorable. She’s funny, a bit weird, and has such a big heart. She sees that someone is hurting and she can’t help but be there for them. I thought the characters were well written and even the dialogue at times was well done. We talk a lot differently than we write and that’s often hard to get right.
I can see some people complain about insta-love or that the romance happens too quickly. I’m not sure about the exact time frame but it happens within the span of a month, I’d say. Here’s my argument against calling it insta-love. No “I love yous” are ever exchanged between them. We are in Grace’s head and while she does admit to possibly loving Eva, at least being able to love her, it’s never said out loud. The other thing is, they are both going through similar things. Eva’s lost her mom unexpectedly while Grace feels obligated and tethered to her mom, in that way she’s lost her mother as well. With each other, they are in their own world where those issues don’t matter. They are each other’s escape from those things. They allow each other to exist without being overwhelmed with grief or anger. To brush that off as insta-love takes away from their deep connection whether or not we understand it or experience it.
One more thing, one more reason I loved this book. You know how in almost all YA novels when there is a boy and a girl who are friends how they almost always become a thing? This does not happen in this book and I LIVE FOR IT. Luca is (as far as we know) straight. Grace is bisexual. They are best friends and have been for a long time. There is no romantic inclination between them, they even refer to each other as siblings. This is how things are in real life. Not every guy and girl are meant to be in a romance and it’s one of the more frustrating things about YA. However, this book throws that shit in the garbage and they both end up with someone other than each other. It’s all a girl can dream about.
I really loved this book. It had everything I loved in a book and none of the garbage that usually comes with YA. Go check it out if you haven’t because this book deserves all of the praise. It has a 4.2 rating on Goodreads and honestly, that’s too low. Can we please have more books like this?