HOW TO MAKE A WISH by Ashley Herring Blake
Rating: ★ ★ ★ ★
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.
This was a really emotional, beautiful story about love, loss, grief and family. Grace’s relationship with her mother was certainly hard and frustrating to read at time, and for about 80% of this book, I found myself feeling so protective of Grace and wanting to shield her from the hurt I know she’d feel because of her mother. I really found myself understanding her feelings towards the situation between her mother and Eva, and let me tell you, I think she was a hell of a lot nicer than I would’ve been in that situation. Grace was such a strong, resilient character who just kept pushing through the hard times and I had a lot of respect for her character.
I really loved how sweet the romance was. Grace and Eva’s banter read so naturally and I found myself rooting for them from their very first meeting on the beach. I loved a lot of the discussions they had; about sexuality, especially bisexuality; but also about race and what it was like for Eva to be biracial. I loved that the girls supported each others interests and didn’t push each other too far. We also had an on the page f/f sex scene which I don’t recall ever reading in a YA book before. I appreciated not only that it wasn’t a fade-out type of scene, but also that whilst progressing further sexually, they made sure they were both comfortable with where they were going. The scene before the sex scene was a very emotional scene so I’m very glad that consent was given on the page.
One thing I would have liked more from this book is for Grace’s relationship with both Luca and Emmy to have been more fleshed out. Their relationship seemed to be more telling than showing- and I didn’t like the way Grace treated Luca at times. In saying that, I do understand why she responded the way she did at that the times in which I didn’t like the way she treated Luca. Apart from that, I did really like their relationship and wished it had been explored a little more.
The only other thing I would change is the length of the book. I felt like the ending was a little bit rushed- I think I might have liked an epilogue or something to find out how Grace’s audition went, how Grace’s mother is doing and how Eva’s ballet thing went as well. Nonetheless, I really enjoyed this and thought it was a really sweet f/f romance that I would certainly recommend.