by Jackson Pearce
First sentence: “All I’ve learned in today’s Shakespeare class is: Sometimes you have to fall in love with the wrong person just so you can find the right person.”
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Viola has a problem: seven months ago her boyfriend of two years (and best friend since they were little) broke up with her after admitting to himself that he was gay. Even though they’re still friends, Viola’s crushed. The fact that she doesn’t feel like she fits in at school anymore just adds to her depression. All she really wants is to belong.
She inadvertently wishes for this so strongly that she summons a jinn. Who then grants her three wishes. Which is all fine and good — the jinn just wants to grant the wishes and get back to his home in Caliban, after all — except that Viola can’t decide what to wish for. In the process of deciding, and making those wishes, she discovers that the one thing she really needs to make herself more complete is the one thing she can’t have.
I’ve been eagerly waiting for a chance to this book, ever since Abby raved about it ages and eons ago. And, as she pointed out, it does not disappoint. Pearce has written a captivating first novel, one full of humor, angst, friendship, magic, and romance. I just ate it up. (Seriously: it’s been forever since I sat down to read a book and didn’t get up until I was done.) For me, there wasn’t a single misstep: it wasn’t just about the plot, which was basically a clever twist on a generic romantic comedy. It was more about the characters. They were so vividly drawn that I couldn’t help but care what happened next.
I understood Viola’s insecurity and appreciated that Pearce had her — eventually — find that wholeness comes from within and not from without. I loved her best friend/ex-boyfriend Lawrence; you really couldn’t hate him, he was just so earnest, and he did love Viola, just not in that way. And Jinn… let’s just say that he provides everything needed for the epic romance Viola was pining about at the beginning of the book.
I’m sure there are flaws in the book — no book is absolutely perfect — but let’s just say that I hit this at the perfect time. Sigh and swoon, indeed.