How to Make a Wish
How to Make a Wish
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Annotation: A small town pianist ponders a new life away from her embarassing mother when a beautiful girl shows up and changes everything.
Genre: Love stories
Catalog Number: #6154270
Format: Paperback
All Formats: Search
Publisher: Houghton Mifflin
Copyright Date: 2018
Edition Date: 2017
Pages: 344 pages
Availability: Available
ISBN: 1-328-86932-6
ISBN 13: 978-1-328-86932-6
Dewey: Fic
LCCN: 2016015270
Dimensions: 21 cm.
Language: English
ALA Booklist
Grace wants nothing more than to spend her summer at home in Cape Katherine, focusing on her upcoming audition for the Manhattan School of Music and working alongside her best friend at LuMac's Diner. However, when Grace returns from a piano workshop in Boston, she finds that her unpredictable and needy mother, Maggie, has uprooted their lives again. This time, Maggie has sold Grace's piano and moved them in with Maggie's latest "love" and his teenage son. But then Grace meets Eva, a dancer from New York City who recently lost her much-loved mother. One night, Eva climbs through Grace's window, opening a world of stolen time together. When Eva reveals that she likes girls, Grace's world expands even more, allowing her to freely experience feelings she always questioned. This organic, moving romance juxtaposed with a messy, complex mother-daughter relationship is passionately told, with glimpses of optimism appearing through Grace's unshakeable bonds of loyalty. Blake clearly illustrates the impact of adult decisions that disregard the lives of teens, guaranteeing an emotional and relevant read.
Horn Book
Grace's mother Maggie is wild, unpredictable, and temperamental. All Grace wants to do this summer is work without her mother stealing her tips; practice for her piano audition in New York; and spend time with Eva, a new friend who turns into something more. And caring for Maggie has become a task too great for Grace to bear. Emotionally resonant without being melodramatic.
Kirkus Reviews
The indelible impact parents can make is at the heart of this relationship-driven coming-of-age novel. Grace's father died in Afghanistan, and her mother is physically present but emotionally immature and manipulative. Her best friend, Luca, was abandoned by his father, leaving his mother to hold things together for her own family as well as others'. Eva has never met her father and is struggling with grief in the wake of her mother's sudden death. A talented ballerina, Eva relocates from New York City to live with Luca and his mother, her late mother's best friend, in their small New England seaside town. She and Grace form an intense friendship that blossoms into romance. Both girls easily accept their sexuality—Eva is lesbian and Grace bisexual—as do those around them. Issues of race are naturally woven into the backdrop rather than acting as a focal point of the story, with all major characters being white apart from mixed-race Eva, whose mother was black and father is white. Blake paints a realistic portrait of Grace, a gifted young pianist who must come to terms with her deep love for an alcoholic fantasist of a mother who engages in endless irresponsible liaisons with men and sabotages her daughter's dream of attending a Manhattan conservatory. Despite the heavy topics addressed, the story never feels hopeless or depressing, as the author writes with nuance and care about her cast of admirably strong, loyal, and resilient teens who face head on the challenges life throws at them. (Fiction. 14-18)
Publishers Weekly
If 17-year-old piano prodigy Grace-s only problem were her upcoming audition for the prestigious Manhattan School of Music, her life would be simple. But that-s far from the case. Her alcoholic and unstable mother, Maggie, has never fully recovered from the death of Grace-s father 15 years earlier, and she can-t hold a job or home long enough for Grace to feel safe. When Grace meets Eva on the beach, the attraction is instant. But as Grace learns about Eva-s tragic past and watches her mother forge a friendship with Eva built on grief, Grace-s tenuously constructed world begins to crumble as her mother sets her up to fail, both consciously and unconsciously. Blake (Suffer Love) skillfully assembles a complex story about the wonders of first love while exploring challenges all teenagers face, such as growing up and gaining independence. Blake allows her characters to make mistakes and reach their own conclusions without passing judgments on them, in a story written with realism and sensitivity. Ages 14-up. Agent: Rebecca Podos, Rees Literary. (May)
Voice of Youth Advocates
Whenever Grace attempts to gently grasp a shred of comfort, it is torn away from her. Grace’s mother, an alcoholic who meets a new boyfriend every other week, forces her daughter to act more like the parent and less like the child. How can Grace be expected to help her mother when she does not even know how to help herself? Grace leaves her childhood behind and grows up quickly. Everything—even her mother’s unpredictable actions—seems to make sense until Eva moves in to Grace’s best friend’s home and teaches Grace that some wishes are still worth making. How to Make a Wish is a coming-of-age story about self-discovery, a journey Grace takes with her new love interest as well as with her reckless mother. Grace’s story illustrates the power of friendship and the importance of a strong support system. Her best friend’s family provides the only stability in her life, perhaps something that will provide some readers hope for a brighter future. Profanity used throughout the book makes Grace’s character more realistic and the sexual scenes between Grace and Eva describe their budding romance in a gentle, respectful way. How to Make a Wish explores the complexities of self-discovery and self-worth but often focuses on adding to the plot at the expense of digging a little deeper.—Richard Vigdor.
Reading Level: 7.0
Interest Level: 9-12
Reading Counts!: reading level:5.5 / points:19.0 / quiz:Q69473
Lexile: 760L

Chapter One

She waits until we're driving over the bridge to tell me. This is a strategic move. Wait until your temperamental daughter is suspended over the Atlantic Ocean to drop the bomb, thereby decreasing the chance that she'll fling open the car door and hurl herself over the edge.
     My mother is many things. Beautiful. Annoyingly affectionate after a few drinks and mean as a starving snake after several. Quick-witted and hilarious when her latest boyfriend isn't turning her into some sycophantic sorority girl. But a fool?
     My mother is no fool.
     She swerves to pass a car that's already going at least ten over the speed limit. The ocean, a dark sapphire blue, swings out of my vision and back in. I grip the handle above the window, shifting my gaze over to Mom to make sure her I forgot this silly thing again seat belt is securely fastened.
     "What did you say?" I ask. Because I must have misheard her. Surely, my subconscious anticipated returning home to some catastrophe after leaving Mom on her own for the past two weeks, and it conjured up something totally absurd to lessen the blow.
     "Grace, don't make a big deal out of this. It's just an address," Mom says, and I bite back a bitter laugh. She loves that word. Just. Everything is just. It's just one drink, Grace. A birthday is just a day, Grace. It's just sex, Grace. My entire life is one gigantic just.
     Well, I'm just about to lose my shit if you're serious, Mom.
     How's that for a freaking just?
     She steers with her knee for a few terrifying seconds while she digs a cigarette out of her purse and sparks it up. She blows out a silver stream of smoke through the open window, and I watch her fingers. Long and elegant, her short nails perfectly manicured and glossed eggplant purple, like always. She used to press our fingers together, kissing the joined tips and making a silly wish on each one. I would measure my hand against hers, eagerly waiting for the day when mine was the same size. I thought that the older I got, the older she would get and the less I'd have to worry about her.
     "Pete's place is really nice," Mom says. "It's so unique. Wait till you see it."
     "Pete. Who the hell is Pete?"
     She glances at me and frowns, flicking ash out the window as we exit the bridge and drive onto the road that leads into town. "I started seeing him before you left for Boston. I told you about him, right? I'm sure I . . ." She trails off, like not being able to finish a sentence automatically releases her from any obligations.
     "You're serious, aren't you?" I ask, struggling to keep my voice even.
     She laughs. "Of course, baby. This is a good thing. Our lease was up and that dickhead of a landlord wouldn't renew it because he claimed I still owed him three months' rent for that dump he called a beach house. And things with Pete were going so well. He'd just moved and needed a woman's touch." She giggles and snicks the cigarette butt out the window. "That's what he said. A woman's touch. Such a gentleman."
     Oh Jesus. I recognize that tone, that girly giggle, that glassy look in her eyes. I can almost mouth the next words along with her, reciting the lines of a painfully familiar play. I've been off-book for this shit show for a long time.
     Cue Mom's dreamy sigh.
     Three . . . two . . . one . . .
     "He might be the one, baby."
     My fingers curl into fists on my bare legs, leaving red nail marks along my skin. When I left a couple weeks ago, I swear to hell Mom didn't have a boyfriend. I would've remembered. I always remember, because half the time, I'm the one who reminds her of the asshole-of-the-month's name. Okay, maybe that's a stretch, but I really thought she'd run out of options.
     Cape Katherine--​Cape Katie to locals--​is a tiny spit of land jutting into the Atlantic with about three thousand residents, a quaint downtown with lots of local shops and restaurants, and an ancient lighthouse on the north end that's still maintained by a real-life lighthouse keeper. We moved here when I was three, and in the fourteen years since, I've lost count of how many guys Mom has "dated."
     And the whole lot of them has had the honor of being The One for about ten minutes.
     Mom turns onto Cape Katherine Road. The Atlantic rises up on our left, flanked by rocks and gravelly beach. Early-afternoon sun spills coppery sparkles on its surface, and I take a few deep breaths. I'd like nothing better than to jump ship, streak down the beach, and throw myself under its waves, letting it roll over me. Let it have me for a few minutes, curling my body this way and that, transforming me into something free and weightless.
     But I can't do that.
     For one, it's cold as hell this early in the summer.
     And whatever knot my mother's woven herself into with He-Might-Be-The-One-Pete, I'm the only one here to untangle it.
     "Okay," I say, pushing my hair out of my face. "Let me make sure I've got this straight. In the twelve days since I've been in Boston, you moved everything we own into a new house I've never seen to live with some guy I've never met?"
     "Oh, for god's sake. You make it sound like I'm dragging you into some disease-ridden jungle. I'm telling you, you will love Pete's house."
     I don't really give two shits about Pete's house.
     I'm more concerned about Pete.
     Mom flips on the radio while I try to decide if I want to vomit, scream, or cry. I think it's some awful combination of all three.
     "Mom, can we please talk about--​"
     "Oh, baby, hang on." She turns up the volume on Cape Katie's one and only radio show, hosted by Cape Katie's one and only radio host, Bethany Butler. It's on every morning and evening, and people call in and tell Bethany sob stories about their missing cat or how their coffee burned their taste buds off or something equally inane and irrelevant. Mom freaking loves it. She's a total sucker for anything potentially tragic and unrelated to her own life.
     "You heard it here first, Cape Katians, so keep an eye out for Penny. She was last seen on East Beach . . ."
     "Who the hell is Penny?" I ask.
     "The Taylor family's corgi!" Mom says, a hand pressed to her heart. "She got loose from Tamara while she was walking her on the beach, poor thing."
     ". . . And remember, Penny is very skittish around men with red hair and--​"
     I flip off the radio. "Seriously, Mom? A corgi?"
     "It's sad, that's all I'm saying. They've had her for a decade. She's older than Tamara."
     "Yeah, cry me an effing river," I mutter, looking out the window, the familiar sights of my town flashing past me in a blue-and-gray blur. "So do we still live on the cape, or are you just swinging by our old place for one last haul?"
     "Of course we live here, baby. Do you really think I'd take you away from your school and all your friends right before your senior year?"
     I choke down a derisive laugh. I'm not sure which is funnier: her comment about all my friends or the fact that my brain can't possibly conjure up half the crap in my life that comes from being Maggie Glasser's daughter. I would never think any of it. But it all seems to happen anyway.

Excerpted from How to Make a Wish by Ashley Herring Blake
All rights reserved by the original copyright owners. Excerpts are provided for display purposes only and may not be reproduced, reprinted or distributed without the written permission of the publisher.

A small town pianist ponders a new life away from her embarrassing mother when a beautiful girl shows up and changes everything. Perfect for fans of Sarah Dessen, Nina LaCour ( Hold Still ), and Becky Albertalli ( Simon vs. the Homo Sapiens Agenda ), now available in paperback. Grace, tough and wise, has nearly given up on wishes, thanks to a childhood spent with her unpredictable, larger-than-life mother. But this summer, Grace meets Eva, a girl who believes in dreams, despite her own difficult circumstances. One fateful evening, Eva climbs through a window in Grace's room, setting off a chain of stolen nights on the beach. When Eva tells Grace that she likes girls, Grace's world opens up and she begins to believe in happiness again. How to Make a Wish is an emotionally charged portrait of a mother and daughter's relationship and a heartfelt story about two girls who find each other at the exact right time.

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