Title: The Art of Wishing
Author: Lindsay Ribar
Genre: YA, contemporary, fantasy
My rating: 3 of 5 stars
Margo McKenna has a plan for just about everything, from landing the lead in her high school play to getting into a good college. So when she finds herself in possession of a genie's ring and the chance to make three wishes, she doesn't know what to do. Why should she put her life into someone else's hands?
But Oliver is more than just a genie -- he's also a sophomore at Margo's high school, and he's on the run from a murderer. As he and Margo grow closer, she discovers that it will take more than three wishes to save him.
A whole lot more.
I picked this book up because I needed a brainless fluff book after a bunch of dark ones, and two bookish friends with excellent taste recommended this to me. I was very excited for genies, because I loved Bartimaeus (of The Amulet of Samarkand fame) as a child and more recently fell in love with Helen Wecker's The Golem and the Jinni. This was certainly a cute fluffy book, but it just got too ridiculous towards the end. I think I would have liked it better if the ballistic arch-nemesis plotline hadn't been so dramatic.
I was sold with this story for the first half, in which Margo meets Oliver and discovers that this 16-year-old boy is actually a genie. Everything was just adorable - Margo and her banter with her friends, Oliver's earnestness about making people happy with wishes, Margo and Oliver getting to know each other. I thought the concept of how genies are "born" was really creative, and I thought it was a clever spin on genie folklore. I also really enjoyed how Margo was snarky and independent, and even when she started falling for Oliver, it wasn't a head-over-heels LOVE BEFORE ALL ELSE thing.
I had a couple of issues with the second half. The introduction of the fourth wish was so late and so convenient that it almost felt like a deus ex machina. The antagonist was creepy and totally insane, yes, but the entire final battle was incredibly predictable. The resolution to that battle was ridiculously abrupt, and my first thoughts were "WHAT ABOUT THE PARENTS?". SPOILERS: Highlight if you want to read them (my spoiler button isn't working right now...) (Yes, Margo has a strained relationship with her parents and they don't exactly spend a lot of time together, but don't you think they'd notice if their daughter turned into a genie and disappeared for good?) I just felt like the author made the buildup of the antagonist and final conflict far more dramatic than it needed to be, and in the end the resolution wasn't satisfying.
I'd recommend this for people looking for fluff, but with the caveat that you leave your logic at the doorstep when you start reading.