- Wini Ashooh
Kayla McHenry turned sixteen, and her Mom threw her a huge birthday party. That is what Kayla's mom does for a living --she puts together parties for people. The only problem is that Kayla's mom never asked her what kind of party she wanted or if she even wanted one at all. She didn't. Besides all that, her best friend Nicole has become cute and popular and she is dating the guy Kayla is madly in love with ...Ben McKenzie. In the book You Wish, by Amanda Hubbard, Kayla McHenry is 16 and miserable. After the disappointing birthday party (the one that her best friend completely missed because she was on a date with her boyfriend), Kayla reminisces on the day and cavalierly wishes that all of her birthday wishes that she has ever made would come true. The next morning there is a bright pink pony in her yard. The next day her bedroom is full of gumballs. After that her Raggedy Ann doll comes to life and wants to go everywhere with her, even to school. But wait there is more. Did I mention that Ken shows up to take her out on a date? This brings to mind the phrase "be careful what you wish for."
All of Kayla's wishes begin to come true. Every birthday wish she has ever made comes to life. Each day there is a new adventure awaiting her. She determines that the pink cake her mother had for her at the party is the reason all of these wishes are coming true. Kayla, assisted by Raggedy Ann, embarks on a quest to find the bakery and to reverse the spell. She needs to act quickly because on her 15th birthday she had wished that Ben would kiss her!!! The friendship that develops between Kayla and Ann is touching and humorous. Ann's free spirited ways, though exasperating at times to Kayla, are significant in helping Kayla open up and be fun loving.
Though these wishes materializing bring frustrations and inconveniences, Kayla begins to see life in a new way. Previously resentful of her mother's long and busy work schedule she becomes more sympathetic to the responsibility her mother feels as a single parent. Kayla's relationship improves with her brother, and she starts to understand why her friend Nicole changed. Nicole's transformation is eye-opening to Kayla as she realizes that she, too, can improve and she does not have to go through life sulky and sullen.
This is a great read for a young teen. It has humor, mystery, some romance, and some adventure. There is even a lesson on how to ride a dirt bike. This book definitely touches on magical realism but without the vampires or werewolves. There is no paranormal romance here. Squeaky clean and though Kayla is 16, a younger reader would find it accessible.