Book Review: Just One Wish

April 9, 2010

Sometimes when I watch Teen Robin Hood–and, okay, I admit I’ve never missed an episode–I feel a connection with Steve Raleigh.  I feel like he’s someone I already know, someone who fits with me.

I enjoyed the two books of Janette Rallison’s I picked up on a whim, so when I saw Just One Wish on the breakout shelf in the library, I didn’t hesitate to pick it up.  In it, Annika tries to make her six-year-old brother Jeremy’s one wish (to meet his favorite TV character, Robin Hood) come true.

What I Liked

– I am really pleased that this is not a fantasy novel, but it still has adventure and a very proactive female character.  Some of the situations Anikka gets herself into are completely ridiculous–I’m talking That’s So Raven levels of craziness–which makes the book a lot of fun.

– This book has a lot of heart.  A lot.  It would be easy for the book to be maudlin given that Jeremy’s cancer drives Anikka’s story, but it’s not.  That’s not to say it doesn’t have its moments, but, overall, this is not a depressing story at all.

– There’s an underlying religious theme that really works well in the novel.  Anikka is angry with God, so they’re not on speaking terms, and while the book does touch a little on faith, I like that it’s not that she’s given up on God completely.  She’s just unsure and confused and, of course, scared.  That thread running through makes the resolution really work.

– The romance is believable.

– Anikka is pretty and unconcerned with being pretty (see:  brother with cancer), but the book doesn’t ignore that being pretty gives her certain privileges and advantages.  Ultimately, though, it’s not just that she’s charming and pretty, but that she’s smart and athletic that helps her through the narrative.

– The book is a super fast read.  I pretty much finished it in two days.

– The first chapter is a master class in characterization and plotting.

What I Didn’t Like

– I would’ve liked to see more with Anikka’s best friend, Madison.  She’s really present in the beginning of the story but then drops out towards the end.  That they get separated is essential to the plot, and I get that, but I just would’ve liked to see a little more of that.

In conclusion:  Rallison has solidified herself as a favorite for me.  I enjoy her brand of feminism, and I really enjoy the situations her characters get into.  Fun with a lot of heart is a good combination for me.

YA Reading Challenge:  13/75

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