Don’t You Wish by Roxanne St. Claire
Publication Date: July 10, 2012
Publisher: Delacorte Books for Young Readers
Target Audience: Young Adult
Format Read: E-galley received from Netgalley
Summary: Ordinary, plain Annie’s life changes completely by accident. A mirror contraption (allowing people to alter their appearances) her father has created freakily sends Annie away from her family and into the body of snobby, filthy-rich girl Ayla. Annie’s certain that she’ll be sent back to “reality” after a short while, but she soon realizes she has to figure out her own way to get back.
If you had the chance to make a wish and switch lives with someone else, would you?
The premise for Don’t You Wish is extremely interesting and vaguely reminiscent of fun movies like 17 Again and Freaky Friday. It brings about great topical questions like “Would you rather have the less-than-ideal reputation and a great family or loads of money and a broken, dysfunctional family?” Annie’s family was incredibly close, but her social status was well below average. She couldn’t get the boy she swooned over to give her the time of day (unless the popular crowd put him up to a sick prank). Ayla is the epitome of gorgeous and rules her school with a handful of minions trailing behind. Annie’s good-girl attitude doesn’t mesh well with the bad-girl reputation Ayla’s achieved.
Readers will experience a strong battle of moral conflict as Annie tries to figure out who she is trapped inside Ayla’s body. There’s no guarantee Annie will ever make it back “home.” She struggles with being the person Ayla was to continue to be popular or being the person she used to be that would cause her to lose her status at the top of the popularity ladder. The dilemmas and strife are what absorbed my attention: good versus evil, is it possible for people to change?, social norms versus status quo. I loved pondering the answers and rooting for Annie to make wise decisions.
It was when things got a little more technical and complicated as Annie tried to understand how she’d taken over Ayla’s body that I lost a bit of interest. The first half of the book felt incredibly fine-tuned and well-structured, but as soon as the physics jargon made an appearance, part of the intrigue was lost for me. Annie’s decision-making also seemed to lose its moral compass – she often felt so disconnected and didn’t know what she really wanted to do or who she wanted to be.
Part of the complication is a boy. Annie finally feels as if she’s found someone who understands her. He’s sarcastic and unselfish. How can she leave him behind when she’s just found him? Though I’m pretty sure I would be confused, too, I felt much more certain of my answers than Annie ever did.
There were a few loose ends at the end of the book that weren’t addressed at all. Some of the characters did not come full circle for me and there was little to no resolution in some respects. I turned the last page and thought, “BUT, WAIT!” because I couldn’t believe it was over. As of now, I see nothing that alludes to a sequel for Don’t You Wish. And while I had my issues and wanted things to be tied up perfectly, I do recommend that you give this a read. I especially feel teachers would find this a great discussion book in their classrooms.
(Image from Girl.com)