Thursday, June 1, 2017

how to make a wish: stardust arc reviews

How To Make a Wish
Ashley Herring Blake

release date: May 2 by HMH Books for Young Readers



All seventeen year-old Grace Glasser wants is her own life. A normal life in which she sleeps in the same bed for longer than three months and doesn't have to scrounge for spare change to make sure the electric bill is paid. Emotionally trapped by her unreliable mother, Maggie, and the tiny cape on which she lives, she focuses on her best friend, her upcoming audition for a top music school in New York, and surviving Maggie’s latest boyfriend—who happens to be Grace’s own ex-boyfriend’s father.

Her attempts to lay low until she graduates are disrupted when she meets Eva, a girl with her own share of ghosts she’s trying to outrun. Grief-stricken and lonely, Eva pulls Grace into midnight adventures and feelings Grace never planned on. When Eva tells Grace she likes girls, both of their worlds open up. But, united by loss, Eva also shares a connection with Maggie. As Grace's mother spirals downward, both girls must figure out how to love and how to move on.

full review under the cut!

   Thanks to HMH and Netgalley for giving me the chance to read this! Sorry that my review is a little delayed, but the month of May was so crazy busy that I had to take a step away from blogging for a bit. However, I am back and this is the first book that I wanted to review. I absolutely loved it, I thought it was so freaking on point in all of the emotions that it evoked in me. It is definitely a more serious summer read, maybe for the muggy summer nights instead of the bright days, but I definitely think you should throw it in your beach bag!

This is the story of Grace, a girl who is defined by two things: her love of the piano and her tumultuous relationship with her flaky mother, Maggie. Ever since she was little, Grace has had to figure out how to grow up fast and deal with things on her own, because her mother is unreliable at best and dangerous to herself and others at worst. Grace has always been capable, and has turned to the piano as a method for coping with her unpredictable life. I thought that the relationship between Maggie and Grace was really well done. I think Blake did an incredible job of really making me feel the dilemma that Grace was going through, torn between loyalty and love for her mother and the knowledge that their lives are not normal or healthy. I got really upset for Grace when her mother would do something completely unfair, and I was always always rooting for Grace, even when she would make mistakes, so I thought that was great. This book definitely hits some hard topics, like dealing with the hope you can have in parents who continually let you down, addiction, loyalty to family, and mental health. I thought it handled all of these topics and more with a delicate hand, but it definitely did not shy away from them either. These parts of the book were some of the best writing, and you could tell that the author took extra care with them.

Because the relationship that Grace had with her mother was so complicated, I was glad that she had people in her life who were uncomplicated in their love and support for her. Especially Luca and his whole family, oh my goodness they were so great!! Luca himself is, like, the best best friend ever and I want him to come into my life. His mom and his brother were also amazing with the way they loved Grace. Even when there were fights and misunderstandings, I never once doubted these characters love for one another, and I think that was a really good balance to the unpredictability in Maggie's character. I thought the scenes in the diner were great, and I also loved how Luca and Grace wouldn't let each other off the hook: they pushed each other even when it was hard. I thought it was a really great friendship.

Also, this book has a wlw relationship that was so freaking cute! When Grace first meets Eva, you can tell that there are sparks between them. Also, hooray for freaking bisexual representation! And biracial representation! I absolutely loved Grace and Eva together. I loved that Grace is a pianist and Eva is a ballerina, I loved that they just seemed to understand each other, even when they weren't speaking. I loved that they became friends and special to each other in that way first, and then I also loved their many meetings on top of the lighthouse together. I liked that there wasn't a whole lot of will they/won't they, and that we got to see their relationship unfold through the back half of the novel.  I just thought they were so cute, I squealed at the fourth of july scene oh my god!

This book was really really great. It made me feel SO many of the emotions, from anger to sadness to joy to love. I think of this book as pretty intense, and it definitely isn't a light and fluffy read, but there are parts of it that are super cute, so I just think of it as a deeper summer contemporary. Definitely pick it up if you like complex relationships, f/f ships, chosen family stories, cute best friends, and music. I absolutely loved it.

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