Reading the Alphabet is now the Paisley Reader: YA and NA book reviews and more!
Everyone has a wish. Desiree’s just got real.
For forty-five years, eternally-eighteen-year-old Desiree has been in a sort of limbo, granting wishes for others while never receiving her own. Now it’s her turn, and she’s finally going to get what she asked for so long ago: a second chance at life.
Once back in the real world, Desiree meets Dara, a girl who must beg for money in order to buy food. With nothing to give her and powerless to grant a wish for her, Desiree begins to wonder if she would have been better off staying where she was.
“Your indenture with me is complete,” Kaf said. “I anticipated you would need fifty years to come to this understanding. It appears I miscalculated.”
Relief flooded my body, but a second later, panic set in. What was I supposed to do? Where was I supposed to go? I’d said I wanted to be done with him, but that wasn’t true. As infuriating and chauvinistic as he could be, the thought of never seeing him again tore at my heart.
“I will give you two options,” Kaf said, reading my mind. And I was pretty sure he could literally do that.
I barely heard his words. He was still so close to me. If I raised up on my toes, our lips would press together. He must have realized this because he backed away then, just a step. A mile-wide chasm couldn’t have felt bigger.
“Options?” I repeated dully and turned away from him. I didn’t want him to see the heartbreak that had to be clear on my face.
“Yes,” he said as he returned to his throne. King Kaf again in place. “You once told me that like Mandy, you wished you could go back and right your wrongs.” He cleared his throat and wouldn’t look me in the eye anymore. “If you choose, I can arrange that.”
What was he saying? That I could go back to 1969? Because that was when the worst of my regrets had started. In particular, the day Glenn, Marsha, Stan, and I left on that road trip. We never said goodbye to anyone. Well, I hadn’t. Maybe the rest of them had.
“That means everyone would still be alive?” I asked, not believing it possible. “My parents and Craig? Marsha?”
“But you said we can’t bring people back from the dead.”
He glanced quickly at me and away again. “A fabrication to save us from a lot of work. Nearly everyone who has lost a loved one wishes for their return.”
“What are you saying?”
“I’m saying that under certain circumstances we can bring people back, but it is very difficult. It would be less difficult to send you back.”
If I went back, I’d make sure we didn’t go on that trip because if we hadn’t, Marsha wouldn’t have died. If I went back, maybe I could convince my brother Craig to not go to Vietnam. Maybe I could convince him to go to Canada or Mexico, anywhere that the military couldn’t find him. I could prevent the pain my parents suffered by first losing him and then never knowing what happened to me.
The thing was, this was Kaf presenting me with this option and I knew him very well. “What’s the catch?”
Everyone has a dark side. Mandy’s just moved in with her.
The last time sixteen-year-old Mandy Matteo broke a rule, her sister died. Since that day she has done only what is expected of her, but life as a goody-goody has made Mandy so boring her friends have all but abandoned her. And she’s given up on ever getting Ethan, the boy she’s liked forever, to notice her. Desperate, Mandy makes a wish to simply be happy.
Enter Desiree, a hippie from Woodstock serving a fifty-year indenture as a Wish Mistress (aka a genie). Years of only granting and never receiving her own wish have left Desiree bitter. Arranging for Mandy to right her biggest wrong – the exact thing Desiree would wish for – only makes things worse.
Still, Desiree does her job and grants the wish and happiness arrives for Mandy in the form of Lexi, her childhood imaginary friend come to life. Magical wishes have conditions though: Once started, the wish cannot be altered or revoked. Also, once Mandy is truly content with her life again, Lexi must go back to where she came from. However, the longer Lexi is alive the more she loves being alive, and she’ll do whatever it takes to stay that way.
Seventeen-year-old Crissy Sheets was so sure Brad was the one, she believed him when he swore the first bruise was an accident. She believed him when he told her he loved her after the second. Now trapped in an abusive relationship with no idea of how to get out, she’s all but given up on ever having the life she dreams of. With little to lose, Crissy wishes for a better future.
With only five years to go in her fifty-year indenture, Desiree, a hippie Wish Mistress (aka a genie) arrives to grant Crissy’s wish. She isn’t supposed to get involved with her charges. Her job is to provide what’s needed for the wish to come true and move along. This time that means stepping aside as things get not only get worse for Crissy, they turn deadly. Standing by is what she’s supposed to do. But then, Desiree never has played by other people’s rules.
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