As How To Make a Wish begins, Grace Glasser returns home from a piano boot camp to a familiar but jarring upheaval to her life. Her mom, Maggie, has a new boyfriend, and she’s moved them in with him. Worse, her mom’s new boyfriend has a son who is Grace’s ex-boyfriend.
Grace is used to this kind of upheaval from Maggie, but that doesn’t mean it hurts any less this time. Especially when Grace finds out that her mom has sold her piano.
Grace looks for escape from her mom’s unpredictability in a friendship with a stranger named Eva who Grace meets on the beach one night. Eva has just moved in with Grace’s best friend Luca, who’s mom is Eva’s godmother, because her mom has passed away. As Grace and Eva get closer, forming a friendship and then perhaps more, Grace struggles with how much to tell Eva about her difficult relationship with Maggie. When Eva starts spending time with Maggie, who seems to understand Eva’s grief, Grace feels pressured to warn Eva away before something horrible happens.
From Grace’s relationship with her mother, to her friendship with Luca, to her budding romance with Eva, this book is nothing short of gorgeous. Ashley Herring Blake manages to root Maggie in such reality that readers will recognize pieces of her behavior from their own lives, while at the same time making it difficult to argue that Grace is wrong or stupid to stay with her. Whatever else she may be, Maggie is Graces mother, and the life they live together has become Grace’s normal, even though she does recognize that it isn’t healthy.
In Luca readers will find another familiar relationship. All friendships go through hard times. Luca and Grace find each other misunderstanding each other in the simplest and most compelling ways. Their struggle to find a way back to each other is a familiar one that all of us will recognize as one we went through with our own friends as we grew up.
Last but not least is Grace’s relationship with Eva. Their dance is perhaps the most beautiful of the book. From their initial friendship, to Grace’s coming out as bisexual, to the accident that puts their relationship in jeopardy, their story is written beautifully.
This book was recommended to me by a friend who I consider one of the best judges of LGBT YA fiction out there and I was not disappointed. You’ll have heard me say in a previous review that I don’t often care for the contemporary genre. I am very very glad that my friend convinced me to take a chance on this book. It is now one of my favorites.
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