Summaries of Books One through Three Courtesy of Goodreads.com:
Sticks and Stones – The last time sixteen-year-old Mandy Matteo broke a rule, her sister died. Since that day she has done only what is expected of her, but life as a goody-goody has made Mandy so boring her friends have all but abandoned her. And she’s given up on ever getting Ethan, the boy she’s liked forever, to notice her. Desperate, Mandy makes a wish to simply be happy.
Enter Desiree, a hippie from Woodstock serving a fifty-year indenture as a Wish Mistress (aka a genie). Years of only granting and never receiving her own wish have left Desiree bitter. Arranging for Mandy to right her biggest wrong – the exact thing Desiree would wish for – only makes things worse.
Still, Desiree does her job and grants the wish and happiness arrives for Mandy in the form of Lexi, her childhood imaginary friend come to life. Magical wishes have conditions though: Once started, the wish cannot be altered or revoked. Also, once Mandy is truly content with her life again, Lexi must go back to where she came from. However, the longer Lexi is alive the more she loves being alive, and she’ll do whatever it takes to stay that way.
Break My Bones – Seventeen-year-old Crissy Sheets was so sure Brad was the one, she believed him when he swore the first bruise was an accident. She believed him when he told her he loved her after the second. Now trapped in an abusive relationship with no idea of how to get out, she’s all but given up on ever having the life she dreams of. With little to lose, Crissy wishes for a better future.
With only five years to go in her fifty-year indenture, Desiree, a hippie Wish Mistress (aka a genie) arrives to grant Crissy’s wish. She isn’t supposed to get involved with her charges. Her job is to provide what’s needed for the wish to come true and move along. This time that means stepping aside as things get not only get worse for Crissy, they turn deadly. Standing by is what she’s supposed to do. But then, Desiree never has played by other people’s rules.
Never Hurt Me – For years eighteen-year-old Desiree has been living in a sort of limbo, granting wishes for others while never receiving her own. Now it’s the hippie-genie’s turn and she’s finally going to get what she asked for so long ago, a second chance at life.
She has two options: moving forward or going back. Moving forward means no longer being a genie, going to college, and living the independent life she’s dreamt about for so long. Going back means returning to 1968 to when her best friend, brother, and parents are still alive. But would she get to fix her mistakes or be forced to live through them for a second time?
Complicating things further is the fact that both choices take her away from Kaf. And that’s a huge problem because falling in love with her exasperating boss was the last thing Desiree expected.
About The Author
Shawn McGuire is the author of young adult novels that blend contemporary settings and issues with a touch of fantasy and magic. She started writing after seeing the first Star Wars movie (that’s episode IV) as a kid. She couldn’t wait for the next movie to come out so wrote her own episodes. Sadly, those notebooks are long lost, but her desire to write is as strong now as it was then.
Her books deal with harder topics (dating violence, death of a sibling, divorce, substance abuse, runaways, etc.) because she believes it is important to talk about these things. Those kinds of topics can be hard to handle and a bit overwhelming, so she infuses a bit of humor in her work as well because she also believes that a sense of humor can help you get through just about anything.
Shawn lives in Colorado with her family where she loves to read, cook and bake, craft, decorate her house, and spend time hiking and camping in the spectacular Rocky Mountains.
I received copies of the series from the author in exchange for an honest review.
Shawn McGuire’s The Wish Maker Series is an ingenious take on the classic Aladdin tale. We still get the larger than life genie (this time he’s hot and ripped) and wishes are still granted. McGuire’s story includes a Wish Mistress, a Zen Circle stone (think mystical pager) and nobody has to rub a lamp.
The premise of each story is the main character makes a wish. In order to fulfill their wish, the character has to figure out what their soul desires. These are books that make you think right along with the characters!
I sincerely want to thank McGuire for such a meaningful series! These books should be required reading for every high schooler. It wouldn’t hurt for adults to read these as well. There’s a serious message in each book. But, don’t worry, it’s not hammered across your head.
Now on to the review…
Sticks and Stones, the first book in the series, deals with a person’s dark side. In this tale, Mandy Matteo unknowingly wishes for her alter ego. Lexi is a girl who is the complete opposite of Mandy. Opposites may attract, but sometimes they combust. Where Lexi is a fun loving teen, Mandy is so straight laced she’s more like someone’s mom. By the end of the book we learn that Mandy’s persona is shaped from tragedy and a bad communication.
My favorite character in this first book was Ethan. He wasn’t the stereotypical jock. McGuire made him genuine. Ethan cared and was honest. He was a character I’d love to read more about (hint!). I’m still on the fence about Lexi. I appreciate her role in the story (it wasn’t easy). I just don’t think I liked her. Everyone has a “Lexi”, but would we want to spend time with her?
The takeaway from Sticks and Stones? Face your fears, find your strength and live!
For me, Break My Bones was phenomenal! The story of Crissy was so profound! I loved how McGuire handled such sensitive subjects. Book Two was deep. It bordered on “Go Ask Alice” without being overbearing. Crissy’s helplessness was so palpable. I wanted to save her from herself!
Break My Bones was filled with great quotes:
“When one loses one’s voice, one loses one’s self.” (Desiree)
“Peace and harmony come from loving your true life.” (Emma)
“Believe and create your own destiny.” (Indira)
I just loved the characters in Book Two. Okay, I didn’t love Brad. But, he was real. Everyone either knows someone like him, has read about someone like him or seen him on the news. He was just…………….bad.
The overall message in Break My Bones was finding your self-worth. If you value yourself, no one can force their will upon you. And, that’s strength!
Finally, Never Hurt Me was my favorite of the three books! I loved, loved, loved Desiree (read the book and you’ll understand the phrase)! McGuire included history (my fave subject in school) and social commentary! The information on Woodstock combined with the feelings towards Vietnam was excellent. I felt like I had stepped back in time. I won’t date myself here, but, let’s just say the late 60’s and early 70’s were favorite periods for me. By the time I got to the last third of the book, I pulled up Van Morrison and Fleetwood Mac on Spotify.
Never Hurt Me was The Wish Mistress’ story. It was so touching. The characters were great. Each one of them had a story worth telling. McGuire did a great job capturing the spirit of Rita Morales, a woman who wanted to do what she could to help the homeless.
I loved, loved, loved that Desiree understood her journey at the end. The prevailing message throughout Book Three was appreciate your life. It’s short and you need to value it while you live it. After all, second chances aren’t guaranteed.
I don’t know if we’ll revisit Mandy and Crissy, but Desiree has more to share. McGuire has another installment in this series which I’ll share with you next week!
In the meantime, it would be really, really, really groovy if you read these three books. Hey, I’m channeling Desiree. You won’t get it unless you read the books. Peace, love and keep reading!
(5 Hands=Excellent; 4 Hands=Pretty Good; 3 Hands=Good)