I received this book for free from the publisher via NetGalley in exchange for an honest review. This does not affect my opinion of the book or the content of my review.
Published by Delacorte on July 10, 2012
Genres: Contemporary YA, Time Travel
Source: the publisher via NetGalley
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When plain and unpopular Annie Nutter gets zapped by one of her dad’s whacked-out inventions, she lands in a parallel universe where her life becomes picture-perfect. Now she’s Ayla Monroe, daughter of the same mother but a different father—and she’s the gorgeous, rich queen bee of her high school.
In this universe, Ayla lives in glitzy Miami instead of dreary Pittsburgh and has beaucoup bucks, courtesy of her billionaire—if usually absent—father. Her friends hit the clubs, party backstage at concerts, and take risks that are exhilarating . . . and illegal. Here she’s got a date to lose her V-card with the hottest guy she’s ever seen.
But on the inside, Ayla is still Annie.
So when she’s offered the chance to leave the dream life and head home to Pittsburgh, will she take it?
The choice isn’t as simple as you think.
Here’s my review of DON’T YOU WISH by Roxanne St. Claire in a nutshell: If you have a spare afternoon and are looking to read something light but maybe a little different, you should give this book a shot. It was cute, fun, dramatic, and had a nice little time-travel/parallel universe twist that kept it from being just another cute but easily forgettable contemporary. DON’T YOU WISH is just a fun little book that kept me interested even when I found things a little cheesy or melodramatic, and it told a really easily digestible story about how the grass always being greener on the other side of the fence is probably one of the truest maxims ever. Also, be careful what you wish for. That one, too.
So basically the story of DON’T YOU WISH is about a plain young girl (Annie) with a mad-cap dad and a frustrated mom and popular kids who make fun of her, living in middle-class Pittsburgh. One day, her dad shows Annie and her mother his newest invention: a mirror that uses an iPhone app to create an idealized image of the viewer. There’s a fight and then a thunderstorm and WHAM! Annie wakes up, all Freaky Friday-like, as Ayla, an entitled, LOADED brat who lives in a bonkers mansion on Star Island with her billionaire, D-BAG plastic surgeon dad, long-suffering mom, and brother. Ayla wreaks havoc on the social culture of her school because she is literally the top of pile. She is also horrible. Or, at least, she WAS horrible when she was regular Ayla–doing drugs, stealing, being a major bitch to EVERYONE, and about to lose her virginity to a particularly horrid guy. Annie-as-Ayla LOOKS like the popular mean girl, but she’s Annie on the inside, and that sets her whole new world topsy-turvy.
I really enjoyed reading about Annie-as-Ayla’s struggle to finally be cool for the first time ever in her life while not losing Annie’s sense of right and wrong, and how to be a decent human being. It was, I thought, a pretty truthful portrayal. Who wouldn’t believe that a former awkward social outcast who suddenly finds herself the Queen Bee–sought after, respected, and not awkward–would not be eager to have things go back to the way they were? Annie-as-Ayla was believable and endearing that way. She wants to stay rich and beautiful and popular, but gradually she begins to see that there were some things in her other life in Pittsburgh that were way better, and she wants to find a way back to them. Roxanne St. Claire did a great job with Annie/Ayla, I thought.
Of course, though, this gradual desire of Annie-as-Ayla’s to find a way home hits snag in the person of Charlie. Guys, Charlie is pretty sweet and wonderful. He sees Ayla on the outside, but gets to know Annie on the inside. Their relationship was predictable in lots of ways, but still nice. A bonus with Charlie is that he is basically a genius of physics and science, and goes to Annie-as-Ayla’s school on scholarship. He takes these crazy hard science courses at a college nearby and, when Annie-as-Ayla finally tells Charlie the truth about herself–that she is from an alternate universe/another dimension/whatever–he kind of nerds out and helps her find a way home. Their relationship provides the emotional meat of DON’T YOU WISH, and it’s good.
There are certainly elements of DON’T YOU WISH that are a little too TOO, you know? Too crazy, too perfect, too outrageous. Or maybe that’s just my own personal experience telling me that it’s BANANAS the kind of shizz filthy rich kids get up to in high school. But that’s part of the drama of Roxanne St. Claire’s book, I think. To create that 180-degree difference between Annie and Ayla’s lives to make a point: that the things you think you want maybe aren’t as great as they seem, and that it’s important to appreciate that the things you do have–even if they’re odd or frustrating–are special. Like I said, DON’T YOU WISH is cute, fun, with a different little twist and a moral that I can definitely get behind. So, ignore the Olsen twin on the cover and spend a few hours with this one, friends.