I promised more YA reads via my IG (@_little_reader if you haven’t checked it out previously) and this week we’re reading one that I definitely think is worth at least one read in a lifetime (though THAT in of itself is an interesting argument).
The Story: Madison, Arizona is about as boring as boring gets. At least, that’s what the inhabitants do their best to convince visitors and passerby of. For Eldon, Madison is about as boring as he lies it is, even with the magnificent secret. Because, oh yeah, Madison’s caves out in the desert hide more than just rocks and hot springs: they have a special cave where every eighteen year old gets to make a wish. Not just any wish of course, the citizens of their backwater town aren’t that dense. Like anything else, there are rules. But even with rules hearts are broken and lives are ruined. Even with rules, Eldon knows the truth about how even the most harmless wishes can do the worst damage. His eighteenth birthday is fast approaching but he has no idea what to wish for, what will hurt the least. Maybe with the help of his best friend, Merritt, and the weird religious girl, Norie, Eldon can discover the truth about wishes – and maybe make the craziest wish of all.
My Thoughts: Right off the bat, I would not recommend this to readers younger than 17+. Sadly, like the majority of YA novels these days, the language scattered throughout is vulgar and there is made mention of explicit actions (though nothing is detailed). That having been said, Chelsea Sedoti does a really good job with this book. I’ve heard complaints of the main character being a jerk who is hard to like (agreed 100%) and of the plot being slow (somewhat), but I would argue that this is the kind of read that you have to have the taste for. I enjoy character exploration and that is what this book is supreme at. The audience really gets to see the repercussions of getting what you wish for told through flashbacks that – for some at least – had me moved. Eldon, while a selfish jerk, is actually a fairly engaging narrator. The philosophical aspects are not to be ignored as well, as the entirety of the book is spent making the reader think of the implications of such a powerful choice. All in all, if I were to rate this book I’d give it 3/5 stars. It’s not exceptional, but it’s much better than it’s been made out to be.
Parental Advisories: As previously stated, this is a book filled with language not appropriate for anyone, let alone younger readers. Parents who see their teens with this novel should be well advised to understand that despite the lessons built into the novel, poor decisions, explicit actions, and crude language is scattered throughout the book.