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As You Wish

Review

As You Wish

“Be careful what you wish for” has never had more meaning than in Chelsea Sedoti’s newest novel, AS YOU WISH. Readers who loved THE HUNDRED LIES OF LIZZIE LOVETT will recognize Sedoti’s characteristic poignant comedy and heartfelt honesty in this unique novel. With mystery, humor and wonderful narration, AS YOU WISH is more than a coming-of-age novel; it is an exploration of humanity and its innermost desires and fears.

"With the reality of growing up mixed in with a little bit of mysterious magic, readers will find themselves completely absorbed in Eldon’s journey. Meaningful and heartfelt, AS YOU WISH is a coming-of-age story unlike any other..."

“No one’s living—they’re waiting. What they’re waiting for is the only part that changes.” Eldon knows wishing is overrated --- in the dusty town of Madison, where every individual is granted one wish on their 18th birthday, it is no surprise that the town’s secret gift is revered and closely guarded. Every individual waits for their wish day, the highlight (or most regretted) day of their life before the deescalation begins. However, after seeing so many disappointed dreams and lives fall apart because of wishing, Eldon wonders if being granted one wish is a blessing or a curse. Determined to make the right choice, Eldon scrambles to learn the wish stories of Madison’s residents. However, there are people who would rather have Eldon fall in line instead of seeking out the truth for himself. All the while, the nagging doubt resides in the back of his mind: is there a right choice at all? Either way, Eldon only has twenty six days until the moment that could define his life. One wrong choice could send him spiraling down the wrong path…but will his fear of regret stop him from making a choice at all?

In AS YOU WISH, every story has a lesson to be learned. From the complicated morality of choices to the intrinsic way society forms identity, Eldon’s journey carefully sculpts a portrayal of the challenges of the world. Often, there are many facets to one story. The specific wish stories are narrated in third person, while the rest of the novel employs first-person narration. Highlighting the reader’s benefit of perspective where the characters do not, the reader is able to have compassion for each character. While tragedy and heartbreak are major themes, Sedoti focuses on understanding, empathy and healing instead of pity or dramatics. With honesty and cleverness, Sedoti balances the spectrum of opinions in the book beautifully, allowing the reader to come to their own conclusions.

Eldon’s peers are likely to be categorized in any range of high school cliques; there are the jocks, the models, the do-gooders, the academics, etcetera. That being said, Sedoti takes time to focus on the backstory of each person so that none of the characters are particularly stereotypical. Though it is mentioned occasionally that many teens wish to be popular, talented or pretty, that is hardly the focus of the novel. Instead, Sedoti focuses on the actions and qualities of the characters more than outward appearances. Some characters, including Eldon, demonstrate how actions and attitudes can reveal truths about their inner qualities. Other characters though, show their true nature through the reasoning behind their choices. For example, there are many different people in Eldon’s life who try to do good in the lives of others. They each have a different way of showing kindness, though Eldon does not always recognize this at first. This emphasizes not only the importance of looking beyond the surface, but also the complicated nature of humanity.

Anticipation grows as the plot develops, helped along by smooth transitions and a countdown of chapters until Eldon’s wish day. With the reality of growing up mixed in with a little bit of mysterious magic, readers will find themselves completely absorbed in Eldon’s journey. Meaningful and heartfelt, AS YOU WISH is a coming-of-age story unlike any other, reminding readers that while we all must live with the consequences of our choices, we are not confined by our past.

Reviewed by Lauren Conser on December 24, 2018

As You Wish
by Chelsea Sedoti