Monday, April 11, 2011
YA; Contemporary; Supernatural
For Kayla's 16th birthday, her mother throws her an unwanted birthday bash with pink galore. Her best friend Nicole had let her down and she was secretly in love with Nicole's boyfriend Ben. As she blows out the candles, she wishes that her birthday wishes would come true. The next morning, she finds a pink pony; the next day a year's supply of gumballs; the next day Raggedy Ann comes to life. But Kayla must stop this because when she turned fifteen, she wished for Ben to kiss her.
I remember getting so excited about this book last year with its adorable pink color and cute concept. However I am less enthusiastic about the final result. Kayla is so cynical and it was a bit unpleasant being in her head. Like many YA females, she is unpopular but content with her one friend Nicole, a similarly unpopular girl who nonetheless is still hoping for popularity. Nicole's radical transformation in appearance causes a certain bewilderment in Kayla and their different goals causes some splintering in their relationship. About one-third through the book, I really hoped this wouldn't be a book where the one girl ends up with her best friend's boyfriend at the end. Now the situation is not as cliched as that because Nicole gives her blessing for Kayla and Ben but I couldn't cheer for them because of how much Kayla had wanted him while they were dating. I wasn't very pleased with this segment.
However the wishes were cute. Raggedy Ann and a Ken doll come to life leading to Kayla re-evaluating her life based on their simplicity and optimism (also leading to some match-making). Her childhood wishes force her to confront the cynicism that overhangs her present life and to radically alter her attitude and outlook on life. I was pleased with this.
The other segment was Kayla's home life. Her father left them when she was quite young (also connects with some wishes) causing her mother to become a workaholic and her brother Chase and her to harbor some serious resentments. Through the wishes, Kayla becomes at peace with her father's (bonehead) decision to ignore his family and to work on strengthening the relationships with the family that remains. I love YA stories with strong family bonds (they ring true to me because that's how my family is) so this was a plus to me.
Overall: Kayla's wishes provide some extraordinary comedic moments but I found her general attitude off-putting. I'm glad that she grows but that growth took too long for me to raise my rating.
Cover: I love the pink but I think many people would be turned off by the pink even if they would actually enjoy the story (I know my sister would hate this cover although I'm not sure how she'd feel about the story itself as she tends to like darker books.)