The Art of Wishing by Lindsay Ribar - Sometimes the most terrifying thing is getting what you really want.
Oliver’s skin was still warm, even though there wasn’t a wish waiting to be granted. That strange, spicy-tingly heat spread through my fingers again, and I squeezed his hand a little as we walked. Maybe it was just a reaction to him being inside my head, or to feeling him use his magic, but I suddenly found myself thinking about his pretty eyes, and wondering what it would be like to kiss him. I wondered if his lips felt like magic, too.
He glanced curiously at me, and I remembered: He could hear what I wanted. Our eyes locked, and my heart leaped into my throat. What did I want?
Oliver’s magic binds him to Margo until she makes three wishes. And while she tries to figure out what to wish for she begins to realize he might be what she wants most. From Goodreads.
My ears first pricked up about The Art of Wishing by Lindsay Ribar when I saw it on Dahlia Adler's QUILTBAG Compendium as a book that had a bisexual main character. So when Dahlia had it as one of her book club reads for November, I decided to pick it up and give it a go. The Art of Wishing isn't exactly the book I expected, but I really enjoyed it.
When the main female role in her school's production of Sweeny Todd goes to Vicky, who has zero acting ability, Margo can't believe it. Margo knows she's got the talent for it, and knows that part should be hers. But out of nowhere, everyone loves loner Vicky, and she's constantly followed around by new boy Oliver. When Margo finds a ring Vicky left in a bathroom, Oliver waltzes in, expecting to find Vicky. Margo soon discovers Oliver is actually a genie - the ring his spirit vessel - and Margo is now his new master. Oliver can grant Margo three wishes, but he has to grant them soon. Oliver's life is in danger; an old master wants to make his final, devastating wish. Margo soon realises just how serious this is, but she knows once she's made her wishes, Oliver will disappear. How can she let him go now she's fallen for the guy behind the magic?
The Art of Wishing is a really sweet romance novel - though I had to say I expected there be more magic than there was. Don't get me wrong, there is magic; Oliver creates illusions for Margo to proove he is what he says he is, and he is able to grant wishes. But at the same time, knowing that Margo's wishes are probably the last he'll ever get to grant, he really wants her to pick good ones. So with her thinking about it, and dragging her heels because of how awesome her first wish has played out, there's not a whole amount of magic going on for the most part. It's focus is mainly on the relationship between Oliver and Margo, and how that develops.
Once I accepted that there wasn't going to be magical fireworks on every page, I really started to warm to the story. I loved the world building, and the various genie rules - which I'll let you discover for yourself. There are various pop culture references, like when Margo watches Aladdin to do some research, and when she talks about stereotypes of the YA paranormal romance genre, and how she's disbelieving that that is how this - her life - is supposed to go now she's got a bloody genie in her life? Margo is really quite funny, and all the references made the story that much more credible, and added a great touch of fun to the story. However, I did have a little trouble believing the development of the relationship. By the end of the novel, I believed that both Oliver and Margo had feelings for each other, but I didn't believe the development that led to that. It was like Margo suddenly started feeling something for Oliver, and it came out of nowhere. I didn't feel any chemistry or sexual tension towards the beginning of their relationship. That came much later, once the relationship was in full swing - or what counts for full swing when Oliver is going to leave any day, once Margo has made her wishes. But putting that niggle aside, I really enjoyed this book!
And when things start to get dangerous, I was completely wowed! The Art of Wishing feels like a nice, fluffy romance novel, but once we meet Xavier, Oliver's old master, things turn dark pretty fast. Xavier is bloody dangerous, and so violent. He's really twisted, and will go to any lengths to get back that ring. And what's so weird, once we know what he wants to wish for, and hear him explain it, you can see he really thinks he's doing the right thing. But it's all so screwed up, his perspective is completely skewed. The tension is notched up and you end up reading on the edge of your seat because, oh my god, he could turn up at any time, and there's no telling what he might do! And the final climatic scene was absolutely incredible! I had an inkling I knew how the scne would end, but I didn't know what would happen before it got there, so there were a lot of gasps of astonishment as I was reading! So awesome!
When it comes to the LGBTQ aspect of the story, there isn't a great deal in this one. There are hints that Oliver is bisexual, but it's not a major aspect, and nor is there a big conversation about it either. Though I heard from Dahlia on Twitter that Oliver's bisexuality is in the spotlight more in the sequel, The Fourth Wish. However, there was a discussion about how genies can make themselves look like the type of person their master needs in their life, and that because of this, there have been times when Oliver has been a girl. The conversation became much more, and didn't focus so much on Oliver's gender in his different incarnations but more on him changing in general, but I thought this idea was really interesting. The conversation, at the start, made me think of Every Day by David Levithan, how the body changes but the person is still the same. I also hope this is something that is discussed further in the next story.
Overall, a really fun and exciting read, and I'm so excited to get my hands on The Fourth Wish and see where this story goes after that brilliant cliffhanger!
Published: 12th June 2014
Lindsay Ribar's Website