ARC Review – How to Make a Wish by Ashley Herring Blake

How to Make a Wish

Author: Ashley Herring Blake

Publication: May 2nd, 2017

Publisher: HMH Books for Young Readers

Format: e-ARC, 336 pages

Genre: Young Adult, Contemporary, LGBTQ+, Romance

Read: May 2017

Ashley Herring BlakeGoodreads

I received an e-ARC of this book from HMH Books for Young Readers via NetGalley in exchange for an honest review. Thank you!

Synopsis
All seventeen year-old Grace Glasser wants 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.

Critically

Plot – 4 out of 5 stars
This is a really great coming of age story about grief and family. A few of the themes involved were friendship, sexuality, love, acceptance and letting go. I probably would’ve read it in one sitting if I’d had a physical copy of this book because while it’s super emotional and powerful, it’s so easy to get lost in.

Writing Style – 4 out of 5 stars
The writing style of this book is definitely one of its selling points. It’s powerful and emotional and intense. It’s poetic and raw. There’s a few instances of explicit content but it was so tastefully done that it flowed easily through the story. The narrative was just so honest and real, it was so great to read.

Characters – 5 out of 5 stars
The characters of this book are just so amazing. There’s nothing I love more than a character driven story and this is exactly what the kind of book that does it extremely well. All the characters are complex and complicated, they’re all dealing with so many different things and I loved seeing their individual growth.
Grace is such a strong character. She’s had to deal with so many things because of her mom that most people don’t have to that it’s made her kind of closed off. She’s tired of having to pick up the pieces after her Mom. She feels very self-conscious and vulnerable. I connected a lot with her and the responsibilities she felt she had toward her Mom.
The side characters in this series are stellar. They each have their own role within the story, but they don’t feel like they’re there just for that. Each one is complex and real. They’re relationships with each other felt so honest. I can’t stop saying the word real because I just felt like I had the privilege to sneak a peek into the lives of such amazing individuals and there’s nothing better than to find a book that gives you that.

Emotionally

I’ve been hearing nothing but good things about this book since ARCs came out and I am so glad to say that all the people recommending this book are totally right!

The plot is intense. We follow Grace, who wants nothing more than a normal life with a reliable Mom. She meets Eva who is dealing with life after the death of her mother and they begin to lean on each other and begin a relationship. Like I said above, I probably could’ve read this book in a single sitting and it easily would’ve been 5 stars if I had. It was just such a powerful and emotional story. It’s so heartbreaking and raw. Reading was definitely a hit to the heart. The story just revolves around the lives of these characters and there’s no real linear plot to follow. We get a glorious glimpse at the struggles and triumphs of these amazing people whom they could totally be in real life. The relationships between the characters are the focus of the story, 100%. They are all so complex and real. You have familial relationships, friendships, romantic relationships and relationships between exes. Each one is developed and nurtured and expressed by the author in different ways and as a reader, it was just so easy to be able to imagine this little town with these people and their love or hate or frustration between one another. The story just felt genuine and it was such a joy to read, even with all the heavy topics involved and the heart wrenching things that are part of these relationships. I loved the writing style! I think that was one of the things that made the story so easy to connect with. It was really poetic and lyrical with the way the main character narrated but also so easy to read and simple with the way the story flowed. The author did an amazing job with the way she handled different themes like sexuality, grief and acceptance. As well as, pleasantly surprising to me, masturbation. I thought it was really cool that the author managed to share a very tasteful masturbation scene from the main character and I think it’s a very important topic to show teens, specially teen girls, that it’s totally okay to do and that they should accept that. I definitely want and need more books from this cast of characters. I want to read the author’s debut also too because the writing was just amazing! The ending was really hopeful and absolutely perfect after such an emotional and impactful story. I just really want more people to read this book. It was just a really amazing reading experience.

I really connected with Grace. While I have a wonderful relationship with my mother, I understood the situations she was in and the feeling of having to be a child who takes care of a parent. My mom had an accident when I was a pre-teen and for a long time, I was my mom’s mom. So while we were definitely not in the same situations, I understood the emotions Grace was processing and the feeling that you have to be there for that parent even when they can’t necessarily take care of you the way they should be. The growth she goes through in this book was absolutely amazing, I loved seeing how she learned and came of age. She started to accept that enabling her mom wasn’t helping her and that her life and the dreams she has are just as important as any relationship she has with her mom. I loved seeing her begin to slowly open up with people and to jump over that need to defend her mom even as she complains about her. Honestly, her narrative and her story just hit really close to home and were an amazing experience to read.

The side characters of these series are amazing. I loved meeting every single one of them and how they interacted with each other was beautiful. Eva hurt my heart. I felt so much for her. She’s such a beautiful girl. I loved that she was biracial but wasn’t sure how to feel about some side of that identity. She’d never known her father and his family so she didn’t really know how to feel about being half-white. I loved her love for dance and how she struggled with how to express that love since it was so connected to her mom and their relationships. The relationships between her and Grace was just so beautiful. It was tentative and sweet. They had such a comforting connection and I loved how they could support each other. IT WAS JUST SO AMAZING OKAY?! I loved it. Luca was really amazing. I have the kind of friend that Luca is for Grace and it was so great to see that in a book. Not only between a guy and girl but just in a YA book, friendships are just as important as romances in my opinion. They got mad at each other and had arguments and disagreed but that never divided and they are like family to each other. I just loved that about their relationship. Another great character that I want to mention is Emmy. She’s Luca’s mom but she was kind of like a mom to every young character in this book. I loved the way she tried her best to look after Grace and Eva, whether they wanted her to or not. I know a lot of amazing women who have that same relationship with me and I loved seeing it represented in this book.

Overall, this book is amazing. The plot isn’t linear, but it feels like a glimpse into the lives of these wonderful and tangible characters. The romance was really sweet and all the different relationships between the characters were complex and organic and resonated with me in some way. I loved all the characters and now I want to read this author’s debut and any future books she’ll release because her writing style is absolutely beautiful.

So that’s it for this post! It’s taken me all day because I’m very distracted lately and struggling with keeping up with my reading but I really wanted to share my love for this book. I would love to know if any of you are interested in this book and if you’re looking forward to reading it. If you’ve read it and loved it, LET’S TALK ABOUT IT PLEASE! Thanks so much for reading and I’ll see you on my next post!

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3 thoughts on “ARC Review – How to Make a Wish by Ashley Herring Blake

  1. Love your review, Sara! I have this book on my TBR, I can’t wait to read it, it sounds so great and exactly the kind of book I love, plus, I’m eager to discover the writing style of this! 🙂

    Liked by 1 person

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