Cover Image: How to Make a Wish

How to Make a Wish

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Member Reviews

I tried reading this book but sadly I didn't make it very far while reading this book. I think that the different point of views made it a bit difficult to understand . I usually love this author's books and I hoped that this one would work out for me.
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DNF @ 17%

Unfortunately, I tried to read this a long time ago and forgot to send in the feedback for it. I definitely think it was my mood and not the book, so I'd like to try it again someday. But for now, I've set it aside.
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I wasn't able to get into this one.  I tried until 44% and decided it just wasn't for me.  Thank you for the opportunity to read this title.
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It’s been a few weeks since I read this one, and I’m still not sure exactly how I feel about it. So let’s start with what I’m certain of.

I’m certain that Blake is a beautiful writer. Each of her sentences flows into the next like waves. It’s the reason I read this book in less than a day. It was surprisingly captivating for a contemporary and I could not put it down – I had to know what was coming next.

The plot was so heartbreaking. I wanted to reach into the pages and hug Grace or slap some sense into her absentee-mother. I was never bored.

The romance was simple in the way that most high school relationships are – and in a good way – if that makes any sense. While I love books like that, Grace and Eva weren’t promising forever and ever to each other or acting like they were their whole worlds. It was just really sweet and slow and beautiful. And real.

“Each bubble eventually burst.

Each firework fizzled out.

Each lens got stripped away, and each girl saw the world like it was, all nakedness and reality and live action.”

Alright, so onto the part I didn’t enjoy? Grace. Don’t get me wrong, I didn’t dislike her but… she got on my nerves. Quite a bit. At the root of her character, I found her really entertaining. She was sarcastic and funny.

But her decision-making, her impulsiveness drove me up the wall. I do understand why she tried to believe in her mother, even when she had no reason to. She was her mom. But Grace constantly acted like she was alone in the world. Like she didn’t have a best friend in Luca and Eva and a maternal figure in Emmy. Grace is surrounded by so much love, but she shuts out everyone all the time and instead runs back to the woman that keeps on hurting her. At some points, it was understandable, but at others, when she had other, safer, better options and people to turn to, it didn’t.

Something I did love about Grace was that she is a pianist! I don’t talk about it a lot on here, but I’ve been playing the piano basically all my life and it’s so rare to see a YA character doing the same! I related a lot to the way she talked about her music.

“Schumann’s Fantasie unfurls from my fingers. It’s soft and haunting and I love it. I pour myself into it – every wish, every shitty duplex, a girl named Eva, a mother who steals from her daughter – it all rises and falls with the piece’s dynamics.”

And even though I really did enjoy this book, I just feel a little bit… off about it. I think there was so much hype surrounding it and I was a little bit disappointed. But, as I said, it was still an awesome read! It has great f/f rep and a biracial love interest!

Overall, this book was beautiful, easy to read, and left me feeling very, very satisfied.
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I really loved this one! It had family problems, a young girl finding herself, and a sweet f/f relationship. It's the perfect summer read and I think everyone should put this one on their shelves!
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The story and characters pulled me in. This is great for fans of The Fault in Our Stars by John Green.
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Ashley Herring Blake is quickly becoming a favorite author of mine. I love her characters and their journeys and I hope you guys will all pick up her books and give them a chance. They're both heartbreaking and hopeful. Especially this one in particular, if you're looking for diverse books, you need to read it. It's a fantastic coming of age story that deals with a difficult mother/daughter relationship and how it feels when your hopes and dreams and future pulls you away from your childhood, when you have to grow up sooner than you want, and trying to figure out what it is that you truly want in life apart from your parents and for your yourself. Plus, the romance in this one is absolutely adorable and has one of the best best friend relationships I've read in a while. So put it on your list!
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I had a hard time getting into this book and sticking with it. I'm not going to write it off as  DNF since I think I would like the book if I was in a different mood. Ugh, the curse of being a mood reader. I'm really going to try to pick up soon, especially when I'm in the mood for a contemporary read.
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“How to Make a Wish” is the rare sort of young adult romance that tackles the difficulties of growing up in a dysfunctional family and first love without being melodramatic.  The situations feel awful and real, but not hopeless.  It also has a beautifully executed romance between two girls that places it in the top-tier of books featuring lgbt main characters.  Recommended!
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This was a a very touching and oftentimes emotional book. I am a mother of a three girls-one a teenager-and I read a lot of Young Adult novels because I genuinely like the genre and because I like to keep in touch with my children and the world around me. I feel like this book was very timely in its subject matter and probably very relatable to many young adults searching for a book like this.
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It's official: How to Make a Wish is the first book I've EVER read that portrays a bisexual girl in a realistic and understood way. 

I've struggled in my life, a lot, to even figure out if (given I have a husband) it matters that I'm also attracted to girls. Ashley Herring Blake has reminded this 34-year-old that is most certainly does. Not because it makes me special, but because it's part of what makes me, me! You may think this is a silly thing to say but I think it's easy to loose track of who we are and not just who everyone else thinks we are. 

Quite often I struggle with contemporary "summer" young adult reads. They are either too annoying, too sappy or poorly written. This book is none of these things. It's a very fast read that is poignant, beautiful and yet totally plausible. 

The ex-boyfriend, the crazed mom, the dead mom, the best friend, the town, the lighthouse, the beach and even the summer job are all elements in the story that fit together nicely. The situations, scenarios and people are real. I wonder if Blake didn't base some of them on real people. 

Overall the biggest things to know about How to Make a Wish are:
1) a gorgeous bisexual relationship emerges, 
2) death and neglect are the major themes; 
but both these things are secondary to the major message which is: be sure to make a wish for something you can control and then work hard to make that wish come true.
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I cannot review this since it is archived.  I downloaded this on August 23rd, but can find it nowhere on my devices.  Now it is archived I cannot read it.
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I seldom do this, especially when given this from Netgalley or another ARC, but I just couldn't get in to this book.  I tried three different times and I couldn't get past twenty pages.  I think I've been stuck in a rut lately and YA is maybe not the place to start out of it.  Watching the coverage of Hurricane Harvey has been where my mind is right now, and trying to figure out how to help people the most.  Reading about a teenager so worried about being around an ex just won't stick in my head at the moment.
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In "How to Make a Wish", what appears to be a simple teenage romance story is actually a very real and raw story about grief, alcoholism, family, friendship and the complexities of sexuality. I was thinking that it was an okay and pretty typical teen love story until about halfway through the book when I was unable to stop reading. Blake manages to include bisexuality and an interracial romance without making those the actual point of story - instead, they are background to Grace's relationship with her extremely dysfunctional mother and her quest to escape her hometown to pursue a future as a pianist. There is no major coming out event or struggle for Grace to accept her bisexuality. Her friends aren't shocked and there is no backlash - I really appreciate this in a book written for a YA audience. I will be purchasing this for my high school library.
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This book was AMAZING. Like holy shit amazing. It was super queer and I shipped Grace and Eva so much. Everyone needs to read it. I loved the way the author developed the characters and tackled the issue of the mom's problematic behavior. The voice was super strong and the characters felt so real.
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I've just read this great contemporary, character driven story about a girl who falls for another girl. There's people of differing colours too as well as elements of child neglect so if you're at all sensitive either of these subjects, this book probably isn't for you. I'd say this book is for aged 14+ because of the slightly more adult subjects brought up. There's also a love scene, it's not described in great depth, but it's there. 

I read this for the LGBTQIA+ read of the Summer Reads challenge on Facebook as well as for NetGalley, who sent me an e-arc copy to read and review here so thanks to them for that! 

5 Stars! 

Grace is the main character of How To Make A Wish. We follow her POV. I enjoyed reading the book from her perspective, as I've never read an LGBTQIA+ book from first person POV before. It was good to read from the point of view of someone who was actually the lesbian/gay or bisexual in this case.  

Spoilers Below...

Grace's mother isn't really present as a mother. Maggie is more trying to be her best friend rather than her parent and she's okay with that. Grace however, is not. 

"I got tired of that script around the time I turned twelve and mom decided I was old enough to hear about her one night stands in between boyfriends, which wasn't really something that I Girl who hadn't even had her first period needed to know"

this is what Grace says to show how Maggie really just treats her as a best friend and not her daughter. This thread carries on throughout the novel. 

"I glance up, half hoping Mom is levelling me a worried look. She's not. She's buried in her phone slurp-slurping away"

is a further example of how Maggie doesn't seem to care about her daughter. However, Maggie does care about Eva so much so that she makes her a necklace that Grace wanted from her mother. 

"So making a necklace for zero profit—even if it is for her own daughter—isn't likely"

is what Grace says before Eva even comes into the story, so when this happens, 

"Yes, the necklace, I'm making it for Eva", Grace is upset that her mother is making a necklace for someone else for zero profit, even if it is to help Eva, a girl who has just lost her mother feel more at home. 

As I said above I read this book for the LGBTQIA+ part of the Summer Flings readathon on Facebook because Grace finds out she is bi. 

You know, I think there's a word for this...You're a baby bisexual" 

Her best friend, Luca tells her this. She starts feeling different feelings when Eva, a black girl who's just lost her mother moves in with Luca. In the past Grace felt this same way about a Natalie, a girl at swimming.

"my 14 year old self, instantly enamoured by this older girl. How I watched her. How I couldn't breath around her"

Grace and Eva go up to the lighthouse to hang out and exchange thoughts and secrets, like the one above. 

"I like that big world that Eva and I created at the lighthouse last night". 

They go to the lighthouse at night and open up to each other there. They tell each other their secrets and dreams. Grace wants to be a famous piano player and Eva wants to be a dancer. 

"Pianists are very important to dancers, you know"

this shows that Eva wants Grace to play for her. Eva is also trying to get Grace to admit how she feels about them as a couple. I thought the author did a good job in representing the LGBTQIA+ community. I'm a straight person but this novel has made me see how lesbians and gays struggle to see who they are sometimes, as people and find their place in the world. Grace is very unsure of just who she is and whether or not it's acceptable to be lesbian or bi. 

The last point I want to make is how the title "How To Make A Wish" plays into the story. Grace and her Mum make wishes on their fingers. Maggie has this obsession with purple coloured nail varnish. As Grace was growing up, her Mum would paint her nails different shades of purple and make a wish on each finger. 

"More than that she promised over and over again to drive me to New York". This trip to New York was the main wish. They both knew that Grace had a talent playing piano so Maggie has always promised her they'd go to New York so that she could audition for music school, there. But we've already established that Maggie is an unreliable mother so this doesn't work out for Grace. 

Also, when Grace comes out to Maggie as bi towards the end of the story Maggie, at first can't accept it. 

"Never has anything my mother has said been more on point than those three little words"

Grace's reaction to Maggie's "I don't understand" after she's just come out as bi shows just how frustrated she is by how much Maggie doesn't care for her to the same extent as others. Maggie is a single mum so this might be why?

Does Grace ever get to New York to realise her dreams? Does she fall in love and stay with Eva? You'll have to read to find out...

I really enjoyed "How To Make A Wish". I would recommend it to someone who wants a very character driven story or someone who wants an introduction into what being LGBTQIA+ is like. I'm giving the story 5 stars because there wasn't much else I was looking for in it. It did everything that I was expecting it to.
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Despite all the hype surrounding this book, I still went in with mild expectations and a lukewarm attitude. But much to my enjoyment, I was left completely blown away. How to Make a Wish is utterly heartbreaking and filled with poignant beauty, it's a story that is raw to its very edges and realistic to its core. Grace's life is tragic and just plain difficult, and as a reader I really admired her constant persistence to just get through another day, another night. You will read this book and realize all the things you probably take advantage of without realizing it, but you will also see how Grace is the perfect example of every teenager in the modern world.

While this book seems to be marketed and categorized as a romance, I really feel like the heart of the story is Grace's relationship with her mother. The romance is obviously present and plays a large role, but I think readers should know when they pick this up that it's not the main focus. Personally, I think that's why I enjoyed HtMaW so much. I love a cute contemporary romance if it's done well, but it was nice to read about a familial relationship for once. I get tired of reading about the same silly tropes and the same insta-love romances, and HtMaW is anything but that. This book is intense, but it felt like I was reading about someone real. 

What Grace experiences with her mom is, unfortunately, very common in today's society. Maggie tries her best to show her daughter love and appreciation, but when it comes down to it, she really just doesn't know how to be a parent. She makes repeated bad decisions and brings man after man into Grace's life, only for it to result in disaster. The push-and-pull dynamic of their relationship - how Maggie tries to fix one mistake by creating another - is gut-wrenching to read about and often times even frustrating. But that feeling of frustration that the reader experiences is what makes this book so true; as a person on the outside looking in, the right decision just seems so easy to make, but to Grace and her mother the cycle is never-ending. For that reason, I think this book will speak to a lot of teenagers that can relate to Grace's internal struggle to either prioritize herself and her life, or risk losing Maggie to her own disastrous choices.

On the bright side, the side-characters definitely help make up for the darker themes of this novel. Luca is a lot of fun, and his banter with Grace always brought a smile on my face, while Emmy has so much love and compassion that it's impossible not to feel for her. Eva is also quirky and vibrant and filled with life, so that each character has a substantial role to play in the story. The sea-side setting creates the perfect atmosphere for the book, and I thought the author did a great job of making it refreshing and down-to-earth.

Grace and Eva's relationship is also heartwarming to read. The way they bond over a shared lack of motherly love was interesting and expertly written. Eva and Grace battle with that eternal question of "Is it better to have a neglectful parent, or no parent at all?" I don't think there is a right or wrong answer in this case, and the pair definitely find ways to cope with their loss and lean on each other during rough times. Also, while I can't speak for the lesbian/bisexual rep in this book, I really loved how the author uses those specific terms when describing the sexuality of each girl. There's no vague hinting or implied meaning - Grace and Eva both firmly embrace their identities in way that works perfectly with the story and strengthens their characters.  

The plot moves quickly and doesn't linger, so I was definitely able to read this book in a short period of time and never wanted to put it down. There were several twists that I wasn't expecting, and the ending is completely satisfying. How to Make a Wish easily joined my list of all-time favorite contemporaries, and I highly recommend this to anyone looking for story about self-love, sacrifice, and finding the meaning of home when you never seem to have one.
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This is another extremely hard review for me to write. I did not actually finish this book, and yet I feel the need to give this book a three-star rating.
Why, you may ask? Well, first of all, I am not the intended audience for this book; I’m older. As a result, I didn’t feel comfortable reading some of the content in this book. Does this book depict real situations that teenagers are involved in? Yes, as a matter of fact, it does, and that’s not something all too common in contemporary YA. But, did I feel comfortable, as a person who is not a teenager myself, reading some of the situations depicted in this book, especially with relation to sexuality? No.
Second of all, the author does a very good job of dealing with some important issues. Some of the themes in this book that I thought she did a particularly nice job with are loss, grieving, dealing with bad parenting, dealing with people who’ve done you wrong, etc. The plot of this book is pretty basic, and very predictable. Many of the characters don’t have that much to them, and they’re kind of one-dimensional. Yet by including these other themes that I mentioned above within her story, Ashley Herring Blake distinguishes How To Make A Wish from other contemporary YA novels. She introduces a level of depth to her novel that most other contemporary YAs, from my past reading experience, do not have. And she does it all with two queer, female, one biracial, main characters.
So I’m giving How To Make A Wish three stars, even though I stopped reading at 58% of the way through. I highly recommend this book to EVERY SINGLE TEENAGER OUT THERE who has ever been EVEN REMOTELY INTERESTED in reading a book like this. It’s a shame that I couldn’t have read it myself when I was a teenager.
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3.5 Stars!

How to Make a Wish was an enjoyable read with a fantastic f/f relationship and characters who pulled me in right from the start.

Grace Glasser wants nothing more than to play the piano and have a normal life. Instead she's constantly dealing with the messes made by her mother Maggie, while trying to survive until graduation. In the summer before her senior year, Maggie moves them in with her new boyfriend, who just so happens to be Grace's ex-boyfriend's dad. Soon after, Grace meets Eva, a lonely girl trying to outrun her own grief. Grace and Eva grow incredibly close and when Maggie begins to pull both of them down, they must learn how to move on and decide what is truly important.

Grace had to start acting like an adult far sooner than she should have needed to. She has learned how to take care of herself and can quickly adapt to most situations. While Grace understands her family is different than most, she still loves her mother deeply and can't imagine life any other way. While I admire how much Grace obviously cared for her mother, there were times I just wanted to shake some sense into her. Thankfully, Grace has her best friend Luca and his mother Emmy to be there for her when things get really bad.

I loved Grace and Eva's relationship right away (a bisexual MC and a biracial lesbian LI, what's not to like). Their first meeting is full of so much banter and was completely adorable. I like how naturally their relationship evolved from friendship into something more. The author did a great job building the connection between them. I think most of the issues that came about between them could have been resolved if Grace had opened up about Maggie sooner, but to an extent I get why she didn't.

The side characters are where this book really shined in my opinion. Grace's best friend Luca is a fantastic friend and pushed Grace when she needed it. I also really enjoyed Emmy's relationship with Grace. She obviously cared about her and tried to help Grace realize what it was that she actually wanted out of life. Maggie is a truly horrible person and words cannot express how much I disliked her.

Overall, I really enjoyed How to Make a Wish, but I was a bit frustrated at how long it took Grace to stand up for herself and how abruptly the book ended. If there had been an epilogue showing how things turned out for the characters I definitely would have enjoyed this a lot more.
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Ashley Blake's How to Make a Wish is a powerful and poignant book I'd recommend to lovers of contemporary. We don't get many bisexual protagonists or f/f couples in fiction, and it was so wonderful to read this story. It felt so real, and Grace and Eva had a really wonderful relationship. I also loved that there was a platonic m/f friendship. We need more of those.
Grace's relationship with her mother also was a factor of this book that contributed to me enjoying it so much. It showed how complicated relationships like that are. We love our parents, and so we make excuses for them and we ignore what is going on and how it is affecting us. This book is definitely an important one more people should read.
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