December 07, 2011

BOOK REVIEW: DON'T YOU WISH by Roxanne St. Claire

Author: Roxanne St. Claire
Publisher: Delacorte Books for Young Readers
Category:  Young Adult Fiction
Due Out:  July 10, 2012

Annie Nutter is an "Invisible".  A social outcast and perennial bag stopper (meaning people's bags stop moving when they hit her head).  With only one friend in school, Annie is unhappy.  Her social status is non-existent as well as her lovelife.  The only notable part of this is when the hottest boy in school asks her out for homecoming.....just so his dog has a "date".  
Her mother on the other hand is depressed.  Seeing her now multi-billionaire ex-boyfriend on a major magazine made her doubt whether she truly married the right man....which makes Annie think.... What if she's the rich man's daughter instead of her current failed inventor father?

Then one night her father's invention accidentally transports her into a parallel universe where she is finally all she wished to be.

She becomes Ayla Monroe.  Otherwise known as A-List Ayla.  The most beautiful, rich, envied girl in school.  The Queen Bee.  
Annie is happy being Ayla.  Finally she has everything she wanted....or does she?

Her friends are drug users who steal for fun,  her boyfriend Ryder pressures her constantly to have sex, her father is never there, her mother (even in this universe) is depressed and her brother hates her.  
Then she meets Charlie.  An outcast.  A former homeless boy who's in school on scholarship.  Naturally everyone hates him and is a victim of constant bullying.  
But there is something about him that draws Ayla close and to everyone's horror, they fall in love.  But love is never easy, especially when you are not yourself.  So with Charlie's help, Ayla tries to go home, back to where she belongs...back to where Charlie can not follow....unless.....

I love, love, love this book. 
Yes the plot has been used many times before, but the writing, the mapping out of characters is just so good. 
Annie is easily relatable.  Who among us hasn't felt the need to be accepted? Wanted? Loved?.  I also appreciate her misery at seemingly having everything yet also nothing because truly money can only go so far and in the end, it is still love and friendship that makes us  who we are.  
Now Charlie is a sweet one.  He is the underdog who we want to root for and maybe fall in love with.  A mature boy with a good heart who loves the Annie in Ayla, with or without the pretty package.

I recommend this book to teens everywhere, especially those who have been, or are currently part of, the "Invisibles".  This is a reminder that though life on the other side seems perfect, it probably isn't.  And that what we have might just be better after all.

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