Tuesday, June 07, 2011

Unique Adoption Story Doesn't Do Quite Enough to Live up To Its Potential

(Image from Indiebound)

Hazel Snow's learned not to expect much out of life, not even on her 18th birthday. And certainly not from her "sort-of-stepdad" Roy, who's more interested in watching sports on t.v. than shopping for birthday gifts. So, she's stunned when Roy offers her the most unexpected present of all - the answer to the question she's been asking her whole life. Ever since she discovered she was adopted, Hazel's wondered about her birth mother. Now she knows. Not only does she have the woman's name, but a quick Internet search reveals that Rosanna Scott never left the San Francisco Bay Area. When Hazel sees that Rosanna will be hosting a charity event at a restaurant in the Ferry Building, Hazel decides to attend.

Since the only dress she owns has a large tear in it, Hazel hunts down a seamstress in the city. While Posey, the owner of Mariposa of the Mission, insists she can fix it, Hazel's visit to the shop turns her little problem into a full-blown crisis. Hazel's devastated when she sees Posey's mistake - instead of returning Hazel's dress, she's given her someone else's order. Except that when, out of pure desperation, Hazel slips on the gown, it fits as though it's been custom made for her. The dress is soft, silky, stunning. Hazel's never felt more beautiful. The experience feels to miraculous, so magical, that when Hazel makes a crazy wish, she actually sees the little butterly embrodiered on the skirt take flight.

When Hazel wakes up the next morning, she realizes with a shock that something magical has happened. Her wish from the night before - her verbalized yearning to know her birth mother - is coming true. And the garment bag that held Posey's enchanted gown now holds two more. Two dresses, two wishes. Suddenly, Hazel, for whom nothing's ever been easy, has the opportunity to answer every question she's ever asked, fulfill every fantasy she's ever dreamt up, be anyone she wants to be. But wishes, as Hazel's quickly finding out, are tricky things and truth, even more so. As she searches for herself in the days of her past, Hazel must decide how to deal with her past and her present so that she'll still have a future.

Wishful Thinking, the second book in Alexandra Bullen's series about Posey and her magic dresses, didn't enchant me quite as much as the first did (see my review of Wish here). Still, it's an uplifting story with an interesting twist on the subject of adoption. The idea of an adopted child being able to go back in time, get to know her birth mother, witness her struggle with the questions that arise from an unexpected pregnancy, even offer advice and input - well, it's a device I'm not sure I've ever seen used. It definitely captured my interest and imagination. Unfortunately, the novel as a whole never developed enough richness to really blow me away. I wanted it to, but the plot had some big holes, the characters didn't come alive for me, and they didn't seem to connect enough to one another either. Overall, Wishful Thinking is a quick, upbeat kind of story, just one that didn't do quite enough to live up to its potential.

(Readalikes: Wish by Alexandra Bullen)

Grade: C

If this were a movie, it would be rated: PG-13 for mild language (no F-bombs) and depictions of underrage drinking

To the FTC, with love: I received an ARC of Wishful Thinking from the generous folks at Scholastic. Thank you!

5 comments:

  1. I have this on my TBR list! Thank yo for stopping by my blog today ;)
    Cubicleblindness

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  2. I really enjoyed Wish. I think, more than anything, it was the ending that brought it up on the scale for me. When she finally talks to her parents and they all have a good family cry, I cried right along with them. I didn't know that another was coming out in the series. I thought it was only a stand alone. I think I'll still read it and give it a chance, but I'll definitely come at it with lower expectations.

    Jen
    In the Closet With a Bibliophile

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  3. Oh sad! I was really looking forward to this sequel. Will still read, but with lowered expectations.

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  4. Sorry this didn't work for you. I didn't like the first one that much, although everyone else seemed to.

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  5. I had read your review before I started this book , so my expectations were low. And I ended up liking it. I like when you dont expect much so you just enjoy it for what it is.

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