Review:: How to Make A Wish by Ashley Herring Blake

All seventeen year-old Grace Glasser wants in How to Make A Wish is her own life. A normal life in which she sleeps in the same bed for longer than three months and doesn’t have to scrounge for spare change to make sure the electric bill is paid. Emotionally trapped by her unreliable mother, Maggie, and the tiny cape on which she lives, she focuses on her best friend, her upcoming audition for a top music school in New York, and surviving Maggie’s latest boyfriend—who happens to be Grace’s own ex-boyfriend’s father.

Her attempts to lay low until she graduates are disrupted when she meets Eva, a girl with her own share of ghosts she’s trying to outrun. Grief-stricken and lonely, Eva pulls Grace into midnight adventures and feelings Grace never planned on. When Eva tells Grace she likes girls, both of their worlds open up. But, united by loss, Eva also shares a connection with Maggie. As Grace’s mother spirals downward, both girls must figure out how to love and how to move on. (via Goodreads)

I received an eARC from Netgalley and the publisher, HMH Books For Young Readers, in exchange for an honest review.

I’d heard nothing but good things about How to Make A Wish, and once I started reading it, I realized why so many of my reader friends loved reading this. Unfortunately, I really didn’t love it the way they did.

I’ll start with some trigger warnings: child abuse, alcoholism, gaslighting, ableist slurs (crazy/lunatic used fairly regularly), suicide references, attempted rape mentions.

There was one really big reason that I didn’t fall in love with this story.

Throughout the novel, I couldn’t help but wonder why the hell nobody had called child protective services on Maggie regarding Grace’s childhood. Maggie’s mess was kind of an open secret around town from what we see in the novel, and they’d lived in the same town their entire life. Grace was really good at hiding it at 17, but she can’t have been when she was younger. Emmy at least knew, since she ripped into Maggie for leaving Grace home alone for days at a time, as did Kimber – it’s noted that Kimber lent her a pair of shoes when hers were literally falling apart.

This really ruined a lot of the book for me, because there was so much that Grace should not have had to deal with if the adults in her life had done literally anything that they were supposed to.

I also wished that there had been something truly done with Jay/Julian – at least for an apology for what he did to her. That plotline felt really unfinished to me.

The cape is called Cape Katherine, but the girl from the lighthouse was named Hattie? I feel like her name really should have been named Katherine, the way most oral legends go.

That being said, the romance in this novel was sweet. I loved that Grace and Eva got to develop, fight, and fall in love while dealing with their separate traumas in a very teenager-y way. I loved their dedication to their crafts of piano and ballet. I loved the great representation of a bisexual relationship, which was ownvoices for the author. Eva is a mixed ballet dancer, and the trouble she had in that was discussed very well.

Overall, How to Make A Wish was a three star read for me. I completely understand why others loved this book, but it just wasn’t meant for me overall. It might be for you, though! If you think it might be, you can pick up a copy at Amazon, Indiebound, or your other favorite bookseller!

three stars

Disclaimer: All links to Indiebound and Amazon are affiliate links, which means that if you buy through those links, I will make a small amount of money off of it.

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