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Don't You Wish Paperback – July 9, 2013
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From School Library Journal
Gr 9 Up-Awkward Annie Nutter is tormented by the rich, popular kids whom she both envies and reviles at Pittsburgh's South Hills High. Her home life isn't any better: her brother is annoying, her father is a failed inventor, and her realtor mother has just discovered that the med student she could have married is now a billionaire in Miami. One stormy night, when trying out her dad's latest invention, Annie gets zapped into an alternate universe in which her mother is married to the former med student and she's Ayla Monroe, the rich, beautiful queen bee of a ritzy private school. At first she enjoys the perks of her status, but eventually she realizes that her so-called friends are shallow, she feels nothing for her jerky boyfriend, her new dad is a womanizer, and her mom is miserable. In a satisfying feel-good twist, the school's brilliant but bullied scholarship student helps her get back to her old world as they fall in love. There is plenty here that readers will find compelling. Unfortunately, cartoonish stereotypes of socioeconomic groups (rich people are horrible; poor people have hearts of gold); a plot that moves forward largely by way of lucky coincidences; and some problematic treatment of race (Ayla's ethnically ambiguous best friend is ridiculously described as "a little bit of everything-Asian, Hispanic, black, white, with some island flair thrown in for added spice.") make this novel more of a light read than the deeper exploration of identity, family relationships, and society it strives to be.-Riva Pollard, American Indian Public Charter School, Oakland, CAα(c) Copyright 2011. Library Journals LLC, a wholly owned subsidiary of Media Source, Inc. No redistribution permitted. --This text refers to an out of print or unavailable edition of this title.
VOYA, June 2012:
"A charming tale that will especially appeal to kids who feel themselves to be Invisible, tormented, and in need of empowerment skills."
Top customer reviews
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Wallflower and orchestra geek Annie Nutter gets to find out the answers to those questions when one of her dad's whacky inventions goes awry and she's zapped into a parallel universe. In this world, she's rich and beautiful, lives in a picture-perfect house, and is the undisputed queen bee of her high school, with a picture-perfect boyfriend clamoring for her, uh, attention. It all seems pretty wonderful at first, until she begins to understand the unintended consequences.
Unintended consequences are what Don't You Wish is all about. It plays out the "What if?" scenario all the way, so Annie can see the price she and others have to pay for her exalted status. Those rich girls with the high-end Amex cards? They get their thrills from shoplifting! That gorgeous boyfriend? Not so nice. And what about the orchestra geeks and other "invisibles" who live on the margins of the high school social hierarchy, like Annie did in her previous life? Turns out they're not invisible after all.
Interestingly, Annie's fantasy universe didn't spring from her own wishes, but from the frustrated dreams of her hard-working mother, who stumbles across an article in Architectural Digest featuring the dream house of a man she almost married. Mom's real house is shabby by comparison, and her husband not nearly as handsome or rich. Like so many of us, she finds herself staring at the images, thinking, this could have been mine.
Maybe, but at what cost? Her daughter is the one who finds out. There are plenty of perks to being rich and beautiful, but Annie learns the hard way that that the dream house, beautiful as it may be, contains one very unhappy family. With her life turned upside down by her mother's fantasy, Annie also learns that her dreams have consequences for others. Just like in real life.
by Roxanne St. Claire
In this YA wild ride of multiple universes, Roxanne St. Claire opens up the fantasy/dream world of every teenage girl by pondering the questions; What would it be like to be the most envied, the most beautiful, and the richest girl in your entire high school? And what would you be willing to give up in order to have it? Is it worth the price? And is it all you really thought it would be?
St. Claire takes us into the life of Annie Nutter/Ayla Monroe as she lives two different lives and struggles to fit into each of these worlds, questioning her core values after both adding and taking away the monetary and physical aspects of Annie's life, what's really left that makes Annie who she is?
She deals with the different dynamics of two families each with their own trials and tribulations from the exciting jet-set life of the über wealthy to the more sedate middle-class suburbia due to the fact that Annie has been transported between alternate universes. Annie/Ayla has to decide if she wants to find her way back to the only home she's ever known or if she even can or stay in this new exciting perfect life, all while dealing with the intense peer pressure of high school, boys and her newfound popularity.
St. Claire has a masterful way of bringing her characters to life on the page and you can't help but become invested in wanting to see what happens to Annie/Ayla and the choices she is faced with as she navigates her way through these alternate universes. Will she ever make it back? Or will she choose to stay in her new exciting world? With the element of suspense, you'll find yourself turning the pages to find out that answer quickly!
I loved the 'fish out of water' elements of Annie/Ayla (her parallel universe name) fitting into a completely different life, and coming to grips with the fact that her alto ego really is not a very nice person. The characters jump off the page in this fast-paced, fun read.
Overall, I thought the book was delightful and would recommend it to both teens and adults. I bought it on my Kindle yesterday and literally could not put it down until I finished it.