Wednesday, November 11, 2009

As You Wish

As You Wish
By Jackson Pearce
HarperCollins, 2009. 298 pages
Young Adult Fiction

Viola, an artist, would rather sit back and watch her high school peers than interact with them. In particular, Viola is entranced by the beautiful and popular set that she calls, “royalty.” Viola is still devastated by her breakup with her hot best friend Lawrence, who is now part of the royal group. Ever since Lawrence surprised everyone, especially Viola, by announcing his homosexuality his popularity has soared. While sitting in English class one day Viola wishes she didn’t feel invisible. A beautiful young man with dark curls appears to grant her wish. Jinn comes from Caliban, a world where there is no individuality or love. When summoned by a human he must grant three wishes and then return rapidly to Caliban or die. However, Viola doesn’t want to make the wrong three wishes. As Jinn is stuck in Earth, chained to his “master”, he and Viola have long conversations. Eventually Viola wonders if she really wants her wishes granted and Jinn to return to Caliban.

Although there is some cleverness in this novel Jackson Pearce is a young author. The primary character, Viola, doesn’t feel she will be complete or belong to anything unless she has an extraordinary boyfriend. To her credit, the author does have Viola eventually speculate on why she feels so hollow in the first place. But I felt like Pearce’s answers to Viola’s problems were too shallow and based on the philosophy that a boy will solve a girl's problems. That said, the characters were mostly likable. In addition, Pearce does write some discerning dialogue about the difference between what we wish for, and what desire that wish really represents.


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