winged reviews
Review, Young Adult / October 28, 2013
Saving Wishes by G.J. Walker SmithSaving Wishes
Author: G.J. Walker Smith
Series: Wishes #1
Publisher: Self-published
Date: February 2013
368 pages
Source: Purchased
Genres: Contemporary
Buy the BookGoodreads

For Charli Blake, being seventeen is a tough gig.

She's been branded a troublemaker, her reputation is in tatters and she's stuck in Pipers Cove, a speck of a town on the coast of Tasmania.

Thankfully, it's temporary. Her lifelong dream of travelling the world is just months away from becoming reality. All she has to do is ride out the last few months of high school, which is easier said than done thanks to a trio of mean girls known as The Beautifuls.

When Adam Décarie arrives in town, all the way from New York, life takes an unexpected turn. His arrival sets off a chain of events that alters her life forever, convincing her of one thing. Fate brought him to her.

Saving Wishes is the story of a girl who doesn't quite fit the life she's living, and the boy who helps her realise why.

Reviewed by: Mary

I’ve been on the lookout to expand the books I read to ones that explore life in other countries. So I was quite excited to pick up Saving Wishes, which takes place in a tiny town called Piper’s Cove in Tasmania. The main character of the book, Charli, longs to escape her insular community and see the world. I grew up in rather small town myself, so I could really relate with her desire to get out and meet new people, see the world, and experience something other than life as it always has been.

The problem was that Charli was a lot of telling and not a lot of showing. She’s constantly telling the audience, and the boy she’s fallen in love with, that she’s trouble. She has problems. Her life is difficult, she’s too hard to love, stay away, she’s not worth the hassle. And yet throughout the course of the story she never really lives up to her own promises of how terrible she is. In the pantheon of young adult heroines she’s actually quite tame. Her parents died when she was too young to remember, the popular girls don’t like her, she’s bad at French, and she secretly loves photography. Maybe I’ve gotten jaded, but after she describes herself I’m ready for her to be a member of a gang or something.

The love interest, Adam, is a bit stereotypical as well. He’s the type of guy who’s always had his life planned out and stuck to his plans until he randomly decided to visit his cousin in Piper’s Cove, and there he meets Charli who introduces him to her wacky way of viewing the world. Only eventually he has to return to his original life, and the source of the conflict between the two just didn’t really come through for me. The book tries a bit to create a sort of upper/lower class narrative but it doesn’t really reach the heights of what that kind of story can be.

Charlie’s brother is actually the most interesting character in the story, in my opinion, and there’s a reveal about his life that could have been absolutely riveting if the narrative had been more focused and built around that rather than this teenage whirlwind romance. Don’t get me wrong, I love teenage romance stories, but her other relationships were just so much more intriguing and more well drawn. If this was a movie, I would say the leads didn’t have any chemistry.

Generally the book wasn’t bad, it just wasn’t too original and the writing style was a lot of describing things instead of experiencing them. I’d rather read more about the other citizens of Piper’s Cove instead of the sequel which continues to focus on Charli.

2 Stars

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