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Sunday Book Review: How To Make A Wish by Ashley Herring Blake

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How to Make a Wish was a sad and ridiculously sweet look at two girls falling in love and finding themselves after the impact of their mothers on their lives.

With all the positive reviews, there was a high expectation for this novel – and it met every one.

Ashley Herring Blake’s writing is so easy to read and impossible to put down. Blake understands her characters well and continuously plays with the idea of outward perception and reality – who Grace’s mother appears to be and who she really is, who Grace is, who Eva is.

Grace is a great protagonist; witty and relatable in all her loyalty and fears, which play such a strong role in this novel. Her passion for music is wonderful to see. Her love of her mother and need to protect her as if she isn’t the child in need of protection is something to make even the harshest person feel a twinge of heartache.

Her openness about her sexuality and the fact that she doesn’t shy away from the word ‘bisexual’ is something so impossibly powerful – there isn’t enough queer literature with characters so sure about who they are.

The depiction of sexuality was brilliant in this book. Both Eva and Grace are open and proud of their love, what they identify as themselves, and even about the issues that come along with that sexuality in their own lives. Also, if you were fearful that these two girls would be faced with horrifically aggressive homophobia at any point in this story – as this is a common issue that is brought up in books about gay characters – but rest assured, the relationship between Eva and Grace is approached with only positivity.

There is a small moment which can arguably be considered passive aggressive in its dismissal of sexuality but it’s more to do with how the character interacts with Grace than anything else.

Eva and Graces' relationship was just straight up adorable. They’re both in a tough place, trying to figure out their futures after the death of a mother and with a mother who never really acted like one, and they have this genuine connection and understanding of each other. Their first encounter on the beach just a few chapters in sold me on the beauty that would be their relationship.

Blake’s display of grief was brilliant. She showed the reality and the dangers and how much it can affect your life and those around you. With Grace’s mother, Maggie, you see the most devastating of impacts – a child who had to grow up too fast, who sees too much and has to put up with too much.

You also see Emmy, the mother of Grace’s best friend and Eva’s guardian, struggling to find footing on solid ground to truly help Eva get through her grief and her desperate need to help and make better something that can’t be fixed like that.

Following that, there is also a conversation about unhealthy grief, when it becomes an illness that needs to be treated and the support for getting help, going to therapy or rehab in these moments, is stated and encouraged in the book.

There are so some incredibly sweet displays of strong friendships that keep you together in a world without stability.

How to Make a Wish is just a wonderful book with queer girls trying to live their lives to the fullest. It speaks on grief and mental illness and not just accepting what life has dealt you. It speaks on love and sexuality and race. A great story that you will love every second of.

 

Diversity: Eva is biracial and lesbian. Grace is openly bisexual. Both have mental health issues very clearly as a result of aspects of their life.

Warnings: Sex, neglectful parenting, death, alcoholism, mentioned posting of sexual texts online

How to Make a Wish was out May 2nd and is available in all good bookshops.




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