Title: Don’t You Wish
Author: Roxanne St. Claire
Publisher: Delacorte Books for Young Readers, July 10, 2012
Format: Hardcover, 368 pages
When plain and unpopular Annie Nutter gets zapped by one of her dad’s whacked-out inventions, she lands in a parallel universe where her life becomes picture-perfect. Now she’s Ayla Monroe, daughter of the same mother but a different father—and she’s the gorgeous, rich queen bee of her high school.
In this universe, Ayla lives in glitzy Miami instead of dreary Pittsburgh and has beaucoup bucks, courtesy of her billionaire—if usually absent—father. Her friends hit the clubs, party backstage at concerts, and take risks that are exhilirating . . . and illegal. Here she’s got a date to lose her V-card with the hottest guy she’s ever seen.
But on the inside, Ayla is still Annie.
So when she’s offered the chance to leave the dream life and head home to Pittsburgh, will she take it?
The choice isn’t as simple as you think.
My thoughts: Plain-Jane Annie lives with her inventor dad, depressed mom and annoying little brother. She’s a nobody at school, her dad is always rambling on about his latest crazy invention, her brother enjoys burping in her face and her mom is feeling blue and reminiscing about ‘the one that got away’. Annie starts thinking about how her life would be different if her mom’s ‘the one that got away’ was her father, then abracadabra, she wakes up as Ayla. At first everything is amazing; Ayla’s loaded and can buy anything she wants. She’s the It girl at school and she has the best boyfriend ever. You know where this is going, right?
It turns out life is not as fabulous as she thought it would be. The boyfriend isn’t so wonderful, the friends aren’t as true and the parents are barely present. But she can’t just wish her way back to being Annie, and by the time she might be able to, it’s not as easy a decision as it was in the beginning.
Annie was your typical shy girl, with the one close girlfriend and crush on the unattainable hot jock. She was likable and believable, someone I totally could have seen at my high school. I especially liked her mom, who, though relatively happy in her life, couldn’t help but wonder “what if?”. I enjoyed the journey as Ayla changed from who she used to be into who Annie was. Her interactions with her friends and family were honest and believable. My favorite was Charlie, the ‘nobody’ whom Annie-as-Ayla befriends. Le sigh.
Annie-as-Ayla had to juggle sounding like Ayla without alerting anyone to the fact that the Ayla they knew was gone. The way the teens talked to each other was honest and fun. Though I did think Ayla’s popular friends were a little over the top, in both their dialogue and behavior. It was almost like Roxanne St. Clair tried to make them as catty and obnoxious as possible. I can’t imagine there being too many young adults out there who are actually like that.
The build-up to the climax was great, and I couldn’t figure out how the author was going to finish it with a happy ending for everybody. By the end, there really was no perfectly obvious solution. I was surprised and quite happy with how she pulled it off. In fact, this is one of my favorite book endings. Slight spoiler ahead: [spoiler]Some may call it a cop-out on the author’s part, but I love when a book is tied up nice and neat, like this one. There was a twist, though, that made it even better.[/spoiler]
The cover is cute, and I like the split with the title off to the side, but I think it’s kind of… nondescript. It’s a girl wearing sunglasses, you know? And shouldn’t the bottom mirror-image be Annie and look different, less glamorous? Just a thought.
The sum up: I loved Don’t You Wish. It was fun and fast with relatable characters and a great story. And that ending! *Swoon.*