Sunday, August 19, 2012

Review: Don't You Wish

Don't You WishDon't You Wish by Roxanne St. Claire
My rating: 4 of 5 stars

**Full disclosure--this review is based on a digital, uncorrected proof received from the publisher for review purposes. I didn't receive money, free drinks or trips to alternate universes in exchange for this review.**

Don't You Wish reminds me of so many fun things, mainly movies. I would say it's sort of like a mash-up of Back To the Future, Somewhere In Time, Time After Time, and Mean Girls. In the interest of sounding like a sort of literate person, there's a little bit of Rival thrown in there too. Also Somewhere In Time was a book originally, but I'll admit I haven't read it. The movie with Christopher Reeves and Jane Seymour is marginally watchable. By contrast, Don't You Wish is compulsively readable.

Annie Nutter is fed up with being one of the "invisibles" at school. Her father, a wannabe inventor, has practically driven his family out of the house with his "Nutter Clutter" encroaching on every flat surface in there home. (I'm not sure what my excuse is for doing the same thing since I'm not even trying to invent anything new--uh hem.) Annie is asked to the Homecoming dance by a popular guy only to have her heart broken when she realizes it was a joke. Still, she has a good relationship with her mom and a close family. On one trip to Walmart, her mom picks up a copy of Architectural Digest and finds out that her ex boyfriend's house is featured--her single ex boyfriend. Her mom starts fantasizing about the life she might have had, and even though Annie feels guilty about it, she kind of fantasizes too. Then, they come home to find yet another half-baked Nutter contraption waiting in the basement and instead of being impressed, Annie's mother goes ballistic. When Annie goes up to her room to drown out the family argument, she tries to salvage the remains of the laptop her father used for his latest invention when lightening strikes and transports her into an alternate universe where she is wealthy, beautiful and popular Ayla Monroe. Before long, she realizes that while being a queen bee has its perks, it's a tough spot to maintain and she wonders if it's worth the despicable things her friends expect from her. Ayla/Annie needs to grapple with the question of whether this other life is better or worse, and is going back to her old life even an option?

Annie Nutter is such a lovable character and Roxanne St. Claire is spot on with her observations of the bizarre things girls do for status in high school. Admittedly, some of the observations are probably more objective than the ones most of us could make when we were still in the thrall of high school and all the stupidity that goes with the social order of it, but I think people on both ends of the social spectrum will take comfort in Annie's story of transformation and interdimensional travel. Of course, all my husband would get out of this story is that the science (specifically physics) is bogus, but who asked him anyway? Nerd alert!

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