Tuesday, July 10, 2012

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

Publisher: Delacorte Books for Young Readers
Publication Date: July 10th, 2012

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 exhilarating . . . 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.
(Courtesy of Goodreads)

This book shocked the hell out of me!  From the synopsis and cover, I thought I was in for a light, fun, summer read.  I was expecting a Gossip Girl-ish type book; wildly entertaining, but with the depth of a mud puddle.  I was right about it being entertaining, but I couldn't have been more wrong in my assumption that it would shallow!  This is a classic case of, "Don't judge a book by its cover"!  This book was not only well written, but it was intelligently written.  Sometimes I wonder if some of the YA I read is dumbed down, so I absolutely love it when an author gives her readers credit, assuming that they are as smart as she is.  Roxanne St. Claire does this.  There is a lot of talk about physics and parallel universes, and the main characters are smart.  This was such an unexpected surprise for me!  Onward...

The story was great.  It had somewhat of a Freaky Friday vibe, but it was so much better.  It flowed well, and the pieces fit together perfectly.  Because of some of the complex elements of this story, it could have gone very wrong, and become confusing, but Roxanne St. Claire held it all together and it worked so well.  Everything made sense and I enjoyed reading every page.  It was paced well, and it never dragged, and while there were a few tense moments, they were always nicely balanced with just the right amount of levity.  I also liked that it was a stand-alone novel, with a concrete conclusion.  Sometimes it's just nice  when the story ends with one book, and it's even better when the story ends the way this one does...

As for the characters, the ones who were meant to likable were, and the villains were just as they should have been.  I was definitely rooting for Annie/Ayla all the way, and Charlie was as great as they come as far as underdog crushes go.  I loved the side story involving Charlie's sister, Missy; she was spunky and helped to put a lot of things in perspective for not only the characters, but the reader as well.  As far as the villains go, Bliss takes the cake!  What a witch!  Of course, she isn't the only one, but I want you to read the book yourself, so I won't tell you everything...

Finally, I need to touch on the worlds that Roxanne St. Claire builds... She either lived the rags-to-riches thing, or did a lot of research, because she really nails both ends of the demographic spectrum.  The got the designer brands and the Miami socialite lifestyle right, but she also seemed to really nail the Walmart side of things too.  She also really understands the social hierarchies in the teenage bubble called "high school".  It all felt very authentic, even painfully so at times.

Overall, I thought this book was brilliantly done.  I went into it without high expectations, and was so delighted when it turned out to be one of my favorites so far this year.  That feeling when a book truly surprises you is so awesome.  If you want a smart, fun, well written summer read, look no further!

My Rating: ★ ★ ★ ★ ★  

Grade Level Recommendation:  Okay, so this book has teen drinking, drug use, sex, shoplifting, and language.  Ayla's friends are not really very good girls.  In fact, they are as vile as teenage girls can possibly be, but at the same time are on top of the social ladder.  That said, I would not want anyone younger that about 9th or 10th grade picking this up.  For example, I wouldn't want my mature-for-her-age, but still immature 6th grader to think these behaviors are the path to social success.  Ages 14 and up.

No comments:

Post a Comment

Thanks for visiting my blog! I adore comments since they make me feel special and loved, just please don't spam me. I'm not interested in vacation offers, millions of dollars from Nigeria, or anything not book related!

Also, this is an award-free blog. As flattered as I am, I just don't have time. I'm happy if I have time to post all of my reviews on time, and am a momma of three to boot, but I appreciate the thoughts! XO