Friday, February 18, 2011

Wishful Thinking

Wishful Thinking is a YA fantasy, and a sequel of sorts to Wish, by Alexandra Bullen.

Hazel Snow has learned to fend for herself. She was adopted as a baby, but the smiling woman in the pictures holding Hazel as a baby died before Hazel has any sure memories of her - leaving Hazel to shuffle from home to home, person to person. Never feeling particularly wanted or loved.

But on Hazel's eighteenth birthday she is given a startling gift - her birth certificate, featuring the name of her birth mother. She does a search on the name and is shocked to find out that this woman, her mother, is not far from her at all and will be hosting a fancy event - an event she plans on going to - to see her mother for the first time.

Thing is, the only dress she has that is even close to fancy-event material is the one she purchased at a high school thrift store and has a huge rip, making it affordable. But there's a card for a seamstress on the dress, a card she's never noticed before.

However, when the odd seamstress sends her dress back - it includes three original, stunning dresses instead of her mended one. It's not long before Hazel realizes that these dresses grant her a wish each. And when Hazel wishes to know her mother, she's transported to another time - a time before she was born...

Will experiencing the past help Hazel to accept her own? Or will the decisions she make forever alter the future?

Wishful Thinking is a wonderful follow-up to the lovely Wish - and I have to admit that I hope that this won't be the last book in this series of sorts. Alexandra Bullen has a lyrical writing style and heartfelt punch to her stories that is both delicate and strong - a style that I want more of!

Hazel's story starts off with a touching, sad, realistic birthday morning - bringing us the surprisingly grounded quality Bullen is able to provide in a tale about wishes - and the stunning reveal of the birth certificate sets things in motion right away.

Just as in Wish, Alexandra Bullen quickly shows the reader the main character's personality - Hazel's guardedness, toughness, and vulnerability - in a way that gives me a real sense of who she is. The time travel was a surprise to me, but I thought it was pretty cool - and shows that Bullen has tricks up her sleeve with these wishes and could take us on more unexpected journeys.

Plus, she's great at unexpected twists. I did guess one big game changer early on - but it was just a fluke, and still extremely satisfying emotionally and intellectually. I'm sure a bunch of readers won't see it coming and will be completely shocked. But even so, Wishful Thinking is full of enough bittersweet human honesty that even guessing the twist won't mess much up for you, in my opinion. And with the light fantasy touch, you end up with an original read.

I did feel at times that the time travel was going on too long - that we didn't need quite so much time away from the present... However, a lot of what happens in the past become momentous to Hazel and her healing, so I was okay with that. I guess it just at times felt a little laborious around the middle - but not much!!! Don't you get me wrong, you book lovers! I would just say that, being honest, Wish was probably still even better to me than Wishful Thinking. Yet I still want more, and I still recommend Wishful Thinking heavily.

Wishful Thinking is a truly heartfelt, sweet, believable tale - a tale with an inspiring conclusion that left me with goosebumps and tears in my eyes. Alexandra Bullen gives off a sense of maturity and growth to her novels, a sense that makes you sigh with contentment as you close the final page of the book.

I want mo' please. ;)

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