Friday, August 3, 2012

Book Review: Don't You Wish by Roxanne St. Claire

Don’t You Wish by Roxanne St. Claire
Series: Standalone
Published: July 10th, 2012
Publisher: Delacorte Books for Young Readers
357 pages (ebook)
Genre: Contemporary young adult
Acquired this book: From NetGalley
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Synopsis: When plain and unpopular Annie Nutter gets zapped by one of her dad's whacked-out inventions, she lands in a parallel universe where her life becomes picture-perfect. Now she's Ayla Monroe, daughter of the same mother but a different father—and she's the gorgeous, rich queen bee of her high school. 

In this universe, Ayla lives in glitzy Miami instead of dreary Pittsburgh and has beaucoup bucks, courtesy of her billionaire—if usually absent—father. Her friends hit the clubs, party backstage at concerts, and take risks that are exhilirating . . . and illegal. Here she's got a date to lose her V-card with the hottest guy she's ever seen.

But on the inside, Ayla is still Annie.

So when she's offered the chance to leave the dream life and head home to Pittsburgh, will she take it?

The choice isn't as simple as you think.

Don’t You Wish was a book that made me laugh, cry, swoon, cringe, fall in love, and realize how lucky I was in high school. This is another book in a long line of truly amazing, well written, and inspirational contemporary young adult books that has been released in 2012.

Annie Nutter is invisible, except when she’s being tormented by kids at school. She has a pretty normal family - her dad is a bit nutty, her little brother is extra annoying, and her mom is fairly ordinary. There’s nothing extraordinary about her life, and nothing that makes her special (in her mind), which makes Annie wish for more. She wishes she were pretty and popular and had a boyfriend and a bigger house. But when she magically gets sent to an alternate universe where she - as Ayla Monroe - has all those things and more, it’s not at all what she expected.

I could relate to Annie in so many ways. I wasn’t popular at all in high school, and although I had to deal with bullies on occasion, I wasn’t tormented the way Annie was. But, like Annie, I wished I was prettier, had more friends, a boyfriend, and more money. Even though I realized how lucky I was to have what I did have, it didn’t stop me from sometimes fantasizing about having more, just like Annie did.

I loved the progression Annie made throughout the book. She became stronger, smarter, more independent, and she realized that her very best qualities - her kindness, her honesty, her loyalty - were qualities to be admired. She was funny and quirky and I really connected with her.

Then there was Charlie. Oh, Charlie. He was so sweet, and I loved that the relationship between him and Annie/Ayla wasn’t easy. Even though she was Annie on the inside, she was still Ayla on the outside, and Ayla was a nasty piece of work. Together Charlie and Annie learned that things aren’t always what they appear, and the bond that formed between them melted my heart. I also loved Missy - the whole situation with her broke my heart, but her positivity and faith were inspiring.

This book was a nice balance between cute and light, and poignant and thought provoking. I felt for Annie/Ayla through the whole book - first when she was a geeky plain-Jane, and then when she was trapped in Ayla’s life trying to make things better, and also trying to decide whether she should find a way back home or stay. There were moments that broke my heart as I watched Annie/Ayla struggle. Part of her loved her glamorous new life - being popular and beautiful, having money and power - but she missed her old life, old friends, and her real family.

Something else I enjoyed about this book was that it was very honest and talked about some of the darker happenings in teenagers’ lives - sex, bullying, cheating, lying, shoplifting, etc. St. Claire didn’t shy away from telling it like it is, talking about real subjects, and exposing the ugly truth that a lot of books stay away from. Friends aren’t always loyal and loving with your best interests at heart; families are often screwed up; and sex isn’t always sweet and romantic. There was no sugar coating, and I loved that.

As an adult, I really appreciated the lessons in this book, and I know I would have appreciated them as a teenager. In fact, I wish this book had come out when I was a teenager. Sometimes we need a reminder that the grass isn’t always greener on the other side, and that just because people are rich and popular doesn’t mean they’re happy. It’s also nice to be reminded that sometimes there’s a reason we don’t get what we wish for - it wasn’t meant to be, or what we thought we wanted might not really be what we wanted or needed at all.

Sweet, funny, and surprisingly emotional, Don’t You Wish was a book that reminded me why contemporary young adult is my favourite genre.  

In accordance with FTC guidelines, I received this book from the publisher via NetGalley in exchange for an honest review. No money or compensation of any sort exchanged hands. I review books to share my love of reading, and I'm always completely honest in my reviews, good or bad.
*Thank you to Delacorte and NetGalley for sending me an ARC of this book for review.*
Have you read Don't You Wish? What did you think?
What would you change about your life if you could?

1 comment:

  1. Ohhhh. Okay, so I NEED to read this one, huh? I can tell how much you liked it, and I love a book that just...IS what it is! I'll be keeping an eye out for this one!


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