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As You Wish Hardcover – January 2, 2018
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"Heartbreaking, other times hilarious, but always thought-provoking. An unexpectedly affecting book that will have readers pondering what they would wish for if given the chance." - Booklist
"Poignant... Will inspire readers to explore the question: if you could have one wish, what would it be" - Kirkus
"An engrossing read, fantastical and believable at the same time." - Horn Book Magazine
"The plot itself transcends Eldon's quest for a wish and becomes a study of human nature. This is a good story that includes a bit of romance, sports, friendship, family issues, and coming of age. A thoroughly engaging choice for readers of realistic fiction and magical realism." - School Library Journal
"Depending on the reader, this novel offers different levels of intensity, starting with the everyday sort of teen troubles, progressing to difficult family dynamics, and reaching up to the ethical dilemmas wishing can create-all while being easy to read and hard to put down." - VOYA Magazine, Perfect Ten
"The book provides an interesting and original premise that will open up some great discussion about what students might wish for and what the ramifications of those wishes might be." - School Library Connection
"The countdown structure creates a natural hook, and Sedoti (The Hundred Lies of Lizzie Lovett) makes good use of her what-if premise to give readers much to consider. She successfully captures the feelings of uncertainty that come with nascent adulthood, the desire to leave home, and waiting for one's life to begin." - Publishers Weekly
"Chelsea Sedoti (The Hundred Lies of Lizzie Lovett) masterfully crafts a tale that draws together the stories of an entire town's residents while focusing on Eldon and his friends. Through Eldon's wrenching struggles, we see how the possibility of getting what you think you want is fraught with complications. Despite the magical elements, Eldon's actions and longings ring true, reminding us that every day serves up life-altering choices, both large and small.
" - BookPage
"The premise makes for a fascinating set of what-ifs that aren't resolved by Eldon's final decision; readers will want to consider further the larger questions raised here about the role risk, selfishness, free will, uncertain outcomes, and unintended consequences play in happiness.
" - Bulletin of the Center for Children's Books
About the Author
Chelsea Sedoti fell in love with writing at a young age after discovering that making up stories was more fun than doing her school work (her teachers didn't always appreciate this). In an effort to avoid getting a "real" job, Chelsea explored careers as a balloon twister, filmmaker, and paranormal investigator. Eventually she realized that her true passion is writing about flawed teenagers who are also afraid of growing up. When she's not at the computer, Chelsea spends her time exploring abandoned buildings, eating junk food at roadside diners, and trying to befriend every animal in the world. She lives in Las Vegas, Nevada where she avoids casinos, but loves roaming the Mojave Desert. To read more about her adventures, visit chelseasedoti.com.
Top customer reviews
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This teen book asks a lot of heavy questions in a very engaging way. Although the main character is at times a twit, teens will readily identify with him.
In the desert city of Madison, Nevada, each person upon reaching their 18th birthday , enters the “wishing cave” and makes a wish. Think carefully and pronounce your wish correctly because it will come true just as you speak it. Some ask for money, some love, some a long time desire, but they all come true.
Eldon’s birthday is quickly approaching. What will he ask for? What would YOU ask for? How will it affect the rest of your life?
Tragedy, morality, selfishness, altruism and more are touched on as Eldon’s Wish Day comes ever closer. Friendship, family, love, despair, happiness, contentment are topics easily discussed after reading this charmingly written book. Adults will appreciate the questions and wonder about their answers as well.
4 of 5 stars
Content Warning: Underaged drinking, drug abuse, attempted suicide, premarital sex.
Have you ever thought about how much you said, "I wish..."?
It's funny because I hadn't; not until just a few weeks before I read this book. Coincidence? Maybe.
Either way, whether you think about how much you wish for something, or not, this book will force you to do so.
"Wishing never gets you anywhere. Except, of course, in Madison, it does. If you're lucky,
that is. Wishing either gets you everything or nothing. And it's a gamble everyone is willing to take."
Welcome to Madison, a small, secluded town situated in the Mojave Desert. Little goes on in Madison. People come and go, passing the establishment without hesitation. The people in Madison don't mind either. They encourage passers-through to pass through---as quickly as possible. Madison holds a secret, only known to those who were born and raised there. Everyone on their eighteenth birthday gets to ask one wish in the magical wishing cave. The wishes aren't a hoax, they come true. However, wishing isn't quite so simple, as Eldon comes to discover. With his upcoming eighteenth birthday, he has no clue what to wish for. It's unusual for Madison kids to not have an idea what they want---beauty, popularity, position, intelligence, wealth---but for someone like Eldon, who has experienced more of the dark sides of life, wishing isn't quite so simple.
Several major themes stand out within Eldon's character alone. One of the main ones includes this "dark side," or his experience with processing grief from losing his sister. Even though she's still alive, she's left brain dead after being struck by a vehicle on her bike. Having been close with his sister, Eldon is still trying to figure out how to feel about her situation. He can't wish for her to heal because of the stipulations put on wishing. Yet, he doesn't want to have to let her go.
"When someone dies, it doesn't just take them. It takes a piece of everyone who ever loved them and everyone they ever loved."
His grief is not the only thing factoring into Eldon's identity crisis.
"Why can't I come up with things I care about? What's wrong with me?"
When the reader meets Eldon, it is immediately clear that there is some indecisiveness in his character. Externally, he seems cool and confident, yet when there is a glimpse beneath the surface, it's obvious that he is enduring a lot of emotional turmoil.
"What I'm saying is, these days, I'm nothing special. And that messes with you, you know? Makes you think maybe you weren't that special to begin with. Makes you wonder what you're actually good at. These days, I walk around with a big question mark over my head."
Feeling replaced as other classmates get their wishes granted before him, Eldon finds himself girlfriendless, no longer the star of the football team, and no longer popular. In his quest to discover who he is and what he wants, he also begins to question everything that he knows about himself, about wishing, and about the town of Madison.
It is through this process that he understands the importance of a wish. Eldon's transition from adolescence to adulthood becomes apparent in how he realizes wishes aren't so simple; all wishes have consequences.
"'How many other people you think keep quiet about their wishes?' Merrill asks.
I'm wondering the same thing. The residents of Madison are so focused on keeping secrets from outsiders, I never stopped to consider what we've been keeping from each other."
The struggle with human nature and selfishness in all of us, is represented by the city of Madison. Instead of thinking of one another, most everyone used their wish for themselves. This approach to wishing is supported and nearly enforced by the town's mayor. In the end, most everyone ends up miserable.
"Maybe dissatisfaction is human nature. Maybe there's no running from it."
The fact that everyone in Madison gets to make a wish means they get the opportunity to change something about themselves or their situation to their liking. By doing so, they are never pushed to learn how to reach a goal on their own, the concept of sacrifice, or to look within themselves.
"'Accomplishment comes from toil,' Othello says. 'Growth is a result of sacrifice.'"
Let's go through the things I liked:
#1 There are a lot of teachable points throughout As You Wish, many I deem beneficial for young readers. They aren't necessarily easy discussion points either. However, for someone around the same ages as Eldon and his friends, they might really relate.
#2 The conflict in the main character Eldon, as well as the major growth he goes through is impressive. He grows from a self-centered (unlikeable) teen to a conscious, considerate (and likable) young man.
#3 As You Wish forces the reader to contemplate contentment within oneself. I found myself reflecting many times about how much "I wish" for things in my life, but forget to realize how much I already have.
Things I didn't like:
#1 I felt there were some loose ends in terms of the wishing cave itself. It's never told how it got there, by who, and how it was discovered. I felt discontent as it was supposed to be a major "issue" which was taken care of rather easily. The entire book I was waiting for this reveal, but it never occurred.
#2 There is an attempted-suicide by one of the characters that I think could have been approached differently. Instead of the character realizing his worth after the fact, he trudges around, never really resolving anything. I felt that it could have been a better teaching point for readers, yet the opportunity was left untouched.
#3 Overall, this book has a rather depressive tone. I don't expect all books to end happily ever after, but I felt like there wasn't a reprieve, even in the end.
#4 I don't think it's OK to have so much swearing and inappropriate content in a YA read. I noticed the amount of language right from the get-go and found it distasteful and inappropriate for this genre.
Vulgarity: Far too much.
Sexual content: While there are no scenes, there is a lot of discussion surrounding the topic in unpleasant ways.
Violence: There is an attempted suicide, with some details given. Also, there are a few fist fights.
My Rating: 3.5 stars.
I really loved this story a lot, which was fantastic because I’ve heard some very mixed reviews. Specifically about how everyone hates Eldon, but I am happy to say that I really liked Eldon, and I really liked this story. As You Wish is a compelling tale of fate and choice. We’re introduced to the town of Madison, where at 18 you are guaranteed a wish that will come true. We follow Eldon as he approaches his 18th birthday and is struggling with his wish.
Things I Liked
Eldon is sardonic and kind of a jerk, but he readily acknowledges that he’s a jerk and I appreciate that. But I felt like how he was acting was so appropriate and reasonable and well established. He’s so disillusioned with life in Madison and being reduced to a wish, a single choice he’s sure to regret, that he doesn’t know how to deal with what he’s feeling and he acts like a jerk to have some semblance of control. He’s also devastated after his sister’s tragic injury and blames everyone, including himself. Eldon was so complex and compelling and I loved reading from his perspective.
Madison is such an interesting town and I love the wishing concept and what it’s come to mean for the town - how it’s replaces religion and become everything. You are reduced to your wish, and Eldon resents that. There just this whimsy and small town structure that was perfect for the story., along with a large cast of quirky characters.
I also liked seeing the complexities of wishing explored. Does success, love, happiness have meaning or worth if you just wish for them? Do you feel like an imposter for achieving something via wish and come to resent it? It was very thought provoking.
I really liked the writing style. I loved that it was a day-to-day format and we really got to see Eldon’s journey. I also LOVE LOVE LOVED the wish history chapters we got. They fleshed out the town and made all the citizens real. It was so raw seeing the aftermath of people’s wishes, while also having some great humor. THough I definitely teared up a few time reading about people’s wishes.
I loved the fantastic trio that forms with Eldon, Merrill, and Norie. They just fit well, and even through their fights and anger and uncertainties; they work.
Things I Didn’t Like
I felt like it too a bit too long to establish the rules for wishing. I have no problem not knowing the origins of the wishing cave or how/why it works, but we don’t really get into what you can and can’t wish for until just over 100 pages in.
Major Fontaine was super sketchy and got a little cartoon villain-y for me towards the end of the story. I always felt like there was something off about him, and we do learn more about him in his wish history chapter, but he was a little one dimensional.
I just loved so many things about this book. I was utterly captivated and I couldn’t put it down. As You Wish is filled with compelling, complex characters who captivated me from the first page.
“The school, the town, the world is full of wishes. Why don’t people stop wishing and start doing? Why is everyone so willing to wish away their lives? I want to scream at them to stop. There’s more to life than wished. Wishing never gets you anywhere.
Except, of course, In Madison, it does.”
I received a copy of the book from Sourcebooks FIRE via Bookish First in exchange for an honest review.
Most recent customer reviews
As You Wish Book Review
As You Wish is a book written by Chelsea Sedoti. The book is classified as young-adult fiction or just fiction.Read more
In As You Wish we meet Eldon, who is a month away from his eighteenth birthday.Read more
I wish I didn’t have to skim the last few chapters
I wish there was some greater message to the book.Read more
That’s the question Eldon has to answer as his eighteenth birthday approaches.Read more