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BOOK REVIEW: As You Wish by Chelsea Sedoti

| 14 March 2018 | Reply

BOOK REVIEW: As You Wish by Chelsea Sedoti

Sourcebooks Fire
December 2017
Hardcover, $24.99
Reviewed by Steph O’Connell

Young Adult


What if you could ask for anything – and get it? 

In the sandy Mojave Desert, Madison is a small town on the road between nothing and nowhere. But Eldon wouldn’t want to live anywhere else, because in Madison, everyone gets one wish—and that wish always comes true.

Some people wish for money, some people wish for love, but Eldon has seen how wishes have broken the people around him. And with the lives of his family and friends in chaos, he’s left with more questions than answers. Can he make their lives better? How can he be happy if the people around him aren’t? And what hope is there for any of them if happiness isn’t an achievable dream? Doubts build, leading Eldon to a more outlandish and scary thought: maybe you can’t wish for happiness…maybe, just maybe, you have to make it for yourself.


As You Wish has an interesting premise, and explores the way the getting what you think you want might not always be a good thing, and how the wording of a wish can ruin a life, as well as the positives, and the uncertainty of how much change a wish might have made in the end.

Unfortunately it suffers from a self-important asshole for a main character, and as such, all of these interesting elements are undermined somewhat.

It’s interesting to see how the day to day living is changed for people in this town, due to this one simple (but also overly complicated) gift they have access to on their eighteenth birthday. Kids don’t blow out birthday candles, and presents aren’t given, because they get to wish for anything on that most important of birthdays.

And on it goes, and on and on.
They wished for huge houses, but they had nothing to fill them.
They wished for knowledge, only to realize some information was better left unknown.
They wished for love and looks and money and success, and they found none of that was enough.

But it’s also interesting to see how flippant some people are about the wishes, wishing for beauty, or to be the best on the football team, when they know they’re likely going to be replaced as soon as another kid on the team turns 18 and wishes they were the best, instead.

I’m struck by how simple everyone makes wishing sound. Like it’s no big thing. Sure, it has the power to change your entire life. It has the power to ruin your life. But whatever. Pick a wish and move on. And if you end up with a lifetime of regret, well, you learn to deal with it.

The majority of this book is spent exploring other people’s wishes, and day to day events, and the countdown to Eldon’s wish day. Things do change up a little towards the end, with some outside influence, but throughout the book, Eldon remains insufferable.

Throughout his family’s battles over the inevitable fate of his braindead sister and his resultant grief, throughout the suicide attempt of a classmate, and throughout talking to those who have already wished and learning their pitfalls, Eldon remains self-centred. He doesn’t take in what’s going on around him, and he never really does anything to make the reader sympathise with him. Even when the reader is feeling sorry for him about the struggles with regards to his sister, he’s not far away from doing something else that is way more stupid and selfish than all of the other stupid and selfish things.

“Gee, thanks for being such a pal.”
Disbelief washes over his face. “You know what, Eldon? I’ve been a great friend to you. I’ve had your back through everything. And trust me, you don’t always make it easy.”
He’s right.
Right again.
“Yeah, well, I never asked you to,” I say.

It would have been better if he had shown signs of learning and growing as a result of the events, but he just doesn’t. This is unfortunate, as the book could have been a lot more enjoyable if it didn’t all feel as though it was for nothing.

But it does remain that the premise about the wishes is interesting, and some of the other characters are more enjoyable, so if you can get past Eldon’s pig-headedness, you’re bound to find something worthwhile here.


Category: Book Reviews, Other Reviews

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