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Don't You Wish

Don't You Wish

3.2 7
by Roxanne St. Claire

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Alternate universes exist! Perfect for moviegoers who loved 17 Again, Sliding Doors, and The Family Man, as well as the novel Before I Fall.

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,


Alternate universes exist! Perfect for moviegoers who loved 17 Again, Sliding Doors, and The Family Man, as well as the novel Before I Fall.

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 exhilirating . . . and illegal. Here she's got a date to lose her V-card with the hottest guy she's ever seen.

But on the insde, 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.

Editorial Reviews

School Library Journal
Gr 9 Up—Awkward Annie Nutter is tormented by the rich, popular kids whom she both envies and reviles at Pittsburgh's South Hills High. Her home life isn't any better: her brother is annoying, her father is a failed inventor, and her realtor mother has just discovered that the med student she could have married is now a billionaire in Miami. One stormy night, when trying out her dad's latest invention, Annie gets zapped into an alternate universe in which her mother is married to the former med student and she's Ayla Monroe, the rich, beautiful queen bee of a ritzy private school. At first she enjoys the perks of her status, but eventually she realizes that her so-called friends are shallow, she feels nothing for her jerky boyfriend, her new dad is a womanizer, and her mom is miserable. In a satisfying feel-good twist, the school's brilliant but bullied scholarship student helps her get back to her old world as they fall in love. There is plenty here that readers will find compelling. Unfortunately, cartoonish stereotypes of socioeconomic groups (rich people are horrible; poor people have hearts of gold); a plot that moves forward largely by way of lucky coincidences; and some problematic treatment of race (Ayla's ethnically ambiguous best friend is ridiculously described as "a little bit of everything-Asian, Hispanic, black, white, with some island flair thrown in for added spice.") make this novel more of a light read than the deeper exploration of identity, family relationships, and society it strives to be.—Riva Pollard, American Indian Public Charter School, Oakland, CA
From the Publisher
VOYA, June 2012:
"A charming tale that will especially appeal to kids who feel themselves to be Invisible, tormented, and in need of empowerment skills."
Children's Literature - Amy McMillan
Annie Nutter is a nobody without a date for homecoming and only one real friend. Her family is basically happy but her dad is a crazy inventor who has a bit of a hoarding tendency and her mom, inspired by an Architectural Digest spread about a former boyfriend, is wishing for a better life. Annie's dad has invented a mirror that lets you see the "perfect" you and during a late night lightning storm a freak blast of electricity sends Annie to a parallel universe. She wakes up as Ayla Monroe, daughter of her mother and the old boyfriend, tycoon Jim, living in Miami in his amazing house, and the queen bee of her school. But while things on the surface seem better (she's rich, beautiful, popular) her friends aren't to be trusted, she's about to lose her V Card to a boy she doesn't even like and her family is completely dysfunctional. Enter Charlie, the nerd boy who somehow captures her interest, and as life as Ayla continues, shakes things up even more. Annie/Ayla's voice is authentic and her emotions and concerns are realistic despite the slightly unbelievable premise. There are a few older themes to be aware of (sex, drugs, underage drinking, stealing) but most readers should be fine with this fun, It's a Wonderful Life-ish story of seeing how the other half live and realizing that the grass isn't always greener. Reviewer: Amy McMillan
VOYA - Beth Andersen
"Careful what you wish for" is brought to life in this parallel universe story. Annie Nutter is an Invisible — plain, brainy, bullied. Her family is struggling economically. Her real estate agent mom has had no sales and her eccentric dad spends precious resources on improbable inventions. Annie's mother has a mini-meltdown and wishes aloud that she had married her first love, the billionaire cosmetic surgeon to the stars, Jim Monroe. During a lightning storm, Annie, who has been standing in front of her dad's latest magical mirror invention, is zapped into the life of Monroe's gorgeous, snooty daughter, Ayla. Just one hiccup—Annie is still Annie inside. As she adjusts to living in ridiculous luxury and being one of the It girls at school, she baffles the Monroes (in this life, her mom is miserably married to Dr. Monroe, who is a cheating cad) and her cruel posse with her considerate ways and discomfort with denigrating the Invisibles at her new school. She is put off by her hunky boyfriend and his caveman needs, and instead is drawn to outcast Charlie who shoulders his home-based burdens with graceful maturity, caring for his wheelchair-bound twin sister and mother. The allure of the rich-but-nasty life wears thin. Ayla/Annie is desperate to get back to her old life which includes turning back the clock and undoing the accident that put Charlie's sister in the chair. A charming tale that will especially appeal to kids who feel themselves to be Invisible, tormented, and in need of empowerment skills. Reviewer: Beth Andersen
Kirkus Reviews
An unsatisfying blend of science fiction and Gossip Girl marks St. Claire's young adult debut. Annie Nutter is so invisible no one notices or cares when their backpacks hit her in the face as they climb on the school bus. After her mother reveals that Annie's father could have been Jim Monroe, the billionaire owner of a chain of plastic-surgery clinics, Annie wonders if she'd trade her own father, an inventor with wacky ideas, for a different life. Predictably, one of her father's inventions sends Annie into another universe. Now Annie Nutter is Ayla Monroe: rich, beautiful and A-list. Ayla's friends are shallow shoplifters, and her hot boyfriend just wants sex; Jim Monroe is a mustache-twirling villain. Then Annie falls for Charlie Zelinsky, a genius who was homeless for a short time. The author tries to ground the creaky body-swap concept in real science: When Charlie learns and accepts Annie's story, he implausibly uses physics and long explanations to replicate her father's invention. Of course, this makes Annie question whether she should stay or go. Heavy-handed exposition, flat characters and trite dialogue don't elevate this outing past forgettable. (Science fiction/chick-lit. 14-17)

Product Details

Random House Children's Books
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Random House
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2 MB
Age Range:
14 Years

Read an Excerpt

Chapter One

Some days it seems like half the backpacks of South Hills High whack me in the head on their way to the back of the bus. And today, the pain is epic because I had my braces tightened this morning. Each thud shakes my tender teeth, reminding me that I am the loser who sits in the front row of the bus, head positioned exactly at the point where kids step on and turn into the aisle.

Samantha Janiskowsky. Thunk. Ouch.

Miranda Beck. Thunk. Ouch.

Kyle Rotrosen. Thunk.


Now, this last pain is not for the aching gums. This pain is inflicted by Lizzie Kauffman, squeezing my hand in a death grip. That can mean only one thing.

Sure enough, sandy hair slowly rises from behind the metal plate between us and the bus steps. Emerging like a god from the underworld, Shane Matthews climbs onto the bus, his adorable smile directed at someone behind and beneath him.

Of course, almost the entire world population is beneath Shane.

“You got that right, babe. Feast your eyes.” He wiggles his butt, which only makes Lizzie crunch my knuckles harder. It doesn’t matter. All pain is numbed by the sight of him, the object of our every fantasy, the subject of our every sleepover, the man candy we can only dream of tasting in this lifetime.

Shane Matthews is about to clock me in the head, and all I can do is wait in breathless anticipation.

Next to me, Lizzie mutters, “Annie, don’t look, don’t look, don’t look, don’t look.” She shifts her eyes as far to the side as they can go without actually getting stuck in her head. I have no such restraint.

I look.

And get a navy blue Adidas Velocity II backpack full of history and science textbooks right in the face.

Yeah, we Googled his backpack brand. We’re that pathetic. I resist the urge to touch my cheek, the closest I’ve ever gotten to actual contact with Shane Matthews.

Of course, he doesn’t even look to see who he’s hit. Because to him, I am invisible. Annie Nutter--if he even knows my name, which I sincerely doubt--is simply one of the extras to fill the halls of South Hills High, so low on the social ladder that our only job is to admire the beauty, perfection, and popularity of stars like Shane.

And admire we do.

A distinctive, throaty (and totally fake) laugh floats up from the sidewalk. Lizzie and I share a disgusted look seconds prior to the appearance of silky platinum hair, gloriously tanned skin--tanned, in Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania, mind you--and a cheerleader’s smile that bares a row of blinding white Chiclet-like teeth.

Of course Courtney Nicholas is smiling. Who wouldn’t, if you had her life?

“Nickel-ass,” Lizzie hisses. “Of course he’s flirting with her.”

Courtney doesn’t carry a backpack--she probably has Blonde Mafia handmaidens who do that for her--but her Coach handbag slugs me as she saunters by. If I didn’t know better, I’d think she did that on purpose.

But I do know better; I’m not even a blip on Courtney’s radar.

“Nice move, Court,” a girl behind her says, snickering.

“Oh, who did I hit?” she calls over her shoulder.

“Nobody,” the girl says without so much as a sideways glance at my face. “Just move it so we can sit with Shane.”

Nobody. My face burns, and not from the brush with either the forty-four-dollar Adidas Velocity II or whatever designer bags are going for these days. I certainly wouldn’t know, since they don’t sell them at Tar--ghetto.

“Don’t sweat it,” Lizzie whispers, pulling me to her so I avoid the final assault of the backpack brigade. “It’s November. Half these kids’ll have licenses and cars by the middle of the year, and we’ll be the only dweeb juniors on the bus. We’ll, like, own this puppy.” She pats the ripped leather of our seat and raises her voice. “Right, Geraldine?”

The bus driver shifts in her seat to set her meaty face in a frown, but there is a light in her eyes that she saves just for us. Geraldine, whose gravelly baritone and hairy arms make us certain she was a man at some point in her not-so-recent past, has a soft spot for us nobodies. Best of all, she takes absolutely no shit from the posse of populars in the back of the bus.

We love that about her. Him. Geraldine.

“Always changes when they pass driver’s ed,” Geraldine growls as she closes the doors. “Just you wait.”

“So you wanna come over and hang?” Lizzie asks me as the bus rolls over the speed bumps--another slam to my teeth--and pulls out of the school lot. “I don’t have my flute lesson until four-thirty.”

“Can’t. I’m going to beg Geraldine to let me off at Walmart.” I raise my voice so the driver hears me. “To meet my mom for a quick shop.”

Lizzie stares at me. “You’re going to homecoming.”

“What? How did you get that out of me meeting my mom at Walmart?”

“I figure you’re getting a dress and holding out on me.”

I snort. “At Walmart? Jeez, Zie, I know the real estate market is sucky and my mom hasn’t sold a house in two months and my dad barely makes minimum wage at RadioShack, but even we Nutters have some standards.”

“Puh-lease.” She gives an apologetic wave. “As if my mom isn’t always broke.” She waits a beat, searching my face. “But you don’t have a date for homecoming, right?”

As if. “You got nothin’ to worry about, girlfriend. It’s you, me, and the entire season of Degrassi come Saturday night.” I give her a reassuring pat because she truly looks worried. “Trust me, we’re just going to Walmart because my dad needs us to pick up some . . .” Junk. “Things.”

Lizzie crosses her eyes. “Your dad needs more things like I need more freckles.”

My heart squeezes a little, but this is Lizzie, who knows my every secret. Even how embarrassing the mess at home is getting to be.

“He’s working on an amazing new invention,” I say, the need to defend whacktastic Mel Nutter rising up in me.

“Really? What could possibly top the button you could press on the toilet-paper thingie so that you automatically get the exact same amount of sheets every time?”

“The Rip-Off?” I sigh with a mix of amusement and shame. Really, mostly amusement over that one. “Of course he didn’t like my idea for a name.”

“Even though it was pure genius,” she adds, ever the supportive friend. “The name and the idea.”

“Sadly, no one in the world wanted the Rip-Off. But this one? He’s being secretive about it, so it might be good.”

“Whatever happened to last summer’s Flip-Flop Beach Buddy?” she asks.

“Emphasis on flop,” I tell her, the memory still vivid: a double beach towel with corner holder-downers disguised as flip-flops to keep it in the sand. “Well, nobody wanted that, either, because it really wasn’t much different from a blanket held down by, well, flip-flops. Plus . . .” I angle my head toward the window. “There’s a serious beach shortage in Pittsburgh.”

What People are Saying About This

From the Publisher
VOYA, June 2012:
"A charming tale that will especially appeal to kids who feel themselves to be Invisible, tormented, and in need of empowerment skills."

Meet the Author

New York Times bestselling author ROXANNE ST. CLAIRE has written nearly thirty books for adults in multiple genres. Don't You Wish is her debut young adult novel.

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Don't You Wish 3.3 out of 5 based on 0 ratings. 7 reviews.
ImaginaryReads More than 1 year ago
At first glance, this is the typical story where the outcast girl is not satisfied with her life and wants to be one of the popular girls. Then something happens, and she finds herself on the other end of the spectrum--and then wishing for her old life back. And it is. What made this worthwhile is in the way the story is told. Annie is a real, relatable character. I didn't attend a school like hers, but it wasn't necessary to understand her feelings of wanting to belong, of finding love, and of having everything. If my mom suddenly found herself dissatisfied with our lifestyle, I would have wanted to upgrade too. And if I then found myself living the "dream" life, I would go with the flow and try out things that I never did before. Which is what Annie does. At first it's exciting, being the girl that everyone wants to be, but as Annie learns more about Ayla Monroe, the less sure she is that she wants Ayla's life. Although she's rich and gorgeous in Ayla's life, she still remembers being a nobody. Plus, there is cute, sweet Charlie who's the lowest on the social ladder because he used to live in a box (as the rumors say). Note: He's the guy I want for my soulmate. My heart is still fluttering from the ending. It is so cute! I'd talk about how much I love it, but that involve giving spoilers--which I can't do because it would ruin the surprise. If you're open to a cute, fun contemporary read with a sci-fi/fantasy twist with the parallel universe aspect, I recommend reading Don't You Wish!
ElegantlyBoundReviews More than 1 year ago
I really enjoyed this story! It’s a somewhat different take on the whole “the grass is greener on the other side”. And who hasn’t wondered if the grass really is greener on the other side? I know I have. One of the reasons that this book really stuck with me is because I spent a lot of time in junior high and my early years of high school wondering what it would be like if I was born into a wealthy family or if I was more popular. In Don’t You Wish, Annie experiences firsthand what it would be like to have a different life while retaining her previous life memories. Annie Nutter is a great character! She’s the epitome of nerd, striving to be noticed by those who are deemed “more popular” by her peers. Annie and her best friend eat junk food to their heart’s content, gossip endlessly about the hottest guy in school and have each other’s back no matter what. After a seriously mean prank played on her by her ultimate high school crush, Annie goes home wishing she was popular more than ever. When her house gets hit by lightning, she wakes up a completely different person in a completely different place. Annie/Ayla is convinced that she is having the most awesome dream for the whole first day. She’s gorgeous, popular, filthy rich with the most popular boyfriend. She is pretty much basking in every moment she can. After a few days pass she begins to understand that not everything is perfect in this world and she doesn’t know if she wants to go back. Even I wasn’t sure if I wanted her to go back and I was kind of hoping that she could fix her family in this new life. Annie/Ayla always does the right thing so I knew in the end she would make the right decision. I believe that Don’t You Wish dealt with the question of “what if” really well. It showed that nothing can ever be perfect and even wealthy and beautiful people have problems. I give Don’t You Wish 4 hearts for being fun and tackling series questions at the same time!
FeatheredQuillBookReviews More than 1 year ago
Although this author is well-known for the almost thirty novels that she’s written for the adult world, this is the first YA that has come from her bestselling mind. And, yes, this offering is just as good as the adult titles she claims. The girl’s name is Annie Nutter. She’s a nice girl, although extremely plain and boring when compared to the ‘stars’ of the school. She sits on the bus in the front and gets ‘thanked’ in the head with the popular kids’ backpacks as they walk by. Her best friend is Lizzie, and knows all about being low on the food chain - she just doesn’t care. You have the token cheerleader named Courtney, and Shane, who’s the male eye candy for everyone to lust after. After a very embarrassing moment on the school bus, Annie finds herself shopping with Mom. Mom comes across an architectural magazine and a picture of her old boyfriend - a man she would’ve become the ‘Missus’ of if fate had moved a bit differently way back when. The guy is a billionaire, still-unmarried plastic surgeon who can afford the world, and Annie is a bit surprised to see her mom tear up, discovering that her mom truly wonders what life would’ve been like if she’d made a different decision. When they head home they run into Annie’s dad, Mel. This is a seriously great guy who works at Radio Shack during the day and messes up the house with all of his inventions. Dad believes that one day one of his brilliant ideas will hit it big and he’ll have his very own infomercial. This time around he’s using parts from Annie’s now broken laptop, duct tape, a mirror, and more, to make a scale that when you step on it, you can actually see yourself differently. All the flaws are removed - your body is tightened and your face becomes stunning. You are…Picture Perfect. When Annie wakes up the next day after a storm, she IS the picture perfect girl she saw in Dad’s mirror in the garage. Not only is she rich, but her father is the billionaire plastic surgeon and she lives in Miami instead of Pittsburgh with the world at her fingertips. She’s stunning, dating the hottest guy in school, and is the very top of the food chain. In essence, she got everything she ever wanted. Problem is, as always, you have to take the good with the bad. And even though she dreamed that this would be the perfect life, there are so many negatives that she has to deal with the fact that she hates the glamorous people a lot more…now that she’s one of them. Although the plot of this story has been done before in various ways, this author certainly brings entertainment, emotions, and a lovely romance into the mix that readers will have a whole lot of fun being a part of. Moral: Be careful what you wish for…you just might get it! Quill Says: If you’re wishing for a fun read - this is the book!
Amabe421 More than 1 year ago
When I read the synopsis for this book I thought it sounded like a really great book. I liked the idea of her getting to experience the life she could only dream about. Be a popular, gorgeous rich kid instead of the invisible nobody with braces and freckles. I wanted to know how it would all turn out. This book is full of the typical cliches. The popular rich kids are the mean kids who everyone else absolutely worships. They can get away with anything and everything and they feel like they have to treat people like crap to keep up their superior status. They wouldn't be caught dead wearing anything but Prada, Dior, or other designer brands. OMG did I hate the characters at first. Well, actually for a lot of the book. I will be honest. I was a few pages away from putting it down. That is how much I was bothered by the characters and the lacking plot. I am glad that I decided to give it one more chapter because that was the one that got me. After that next chapter I needed to see what would happen. Ayla/Annie changes and I see her redeemable qualities, but it wasn't as much her that kept me reading as it was Charlie. I really liked Charlie. He is a great character. Annie, or Ayla was not very likable for most of the book at all. We get her as Annie for a short while in the beginning and you do feel a little bad for her. Then when she ends up being zapped into the life of Ayla she starts to get on my nerves. She is now popular, pretty, and rich. She also has a hot boyfriend and super cool friends. She is the queen of her school. Even though Annie is really in there, she acts like such a jerk about things. She doesn't want to ruin things for Ayla by being nice when she is supposed to be snobby and mean. She is constantly correcting her dumb friend. (Which really, I couldn't stand Bliss, but Ayla would constantly correct her when she used the wrong word or phrase.) Jade wasn't as bad, but she is still so concerned about their image as the A-listers. It got so annoying. I don't know if rich kids who go to fancy schools really act that way, but I wanted to smack them all. Charlie was awesome. He was the game changer. I kept reading for him. The Annie inside of Ayla just can't seem to stop herself from being interested in him. He also helps her even when she hasn't been very nice to him. He happens to pretty much be a genius, has a great twin sister named Missy, and sees the real Annie underneath all the glam and attitude. I liked how he finally was able to bring out the real her. She had pretty much crashed and burn when she wouldn't sleep with her egotistical boyfriend and Charlie was there to pick up the pieces. She trusts him with the truth about what happened to her, and he stands by her and the decisions she has to make. Total sweetheart!! The story to me was very slow and aggravating to start. I didn't like the characters at all. When I want to punch everyone in the face it's pretty hard to enjoy reading a book. Especially the parents. I couldn't stand the way Ayla's parents were. I hated her dad the most. What an ass!! For real. It took a long time to get into this book unfortunately. Like 200 pages, but I really did end up liking it in the end. It could have been much shorter and more to the point I think, but it was enjoyable. It had a good message in the end and I think a lot of people will really like this one.
lovepassionbooks More than 1 year ago
When I first read the blurb for this book I thought to myself that I would really like something like this. So I did the same thing that I normally do, I put it on my shelf and didn’t pick it up until now. And I am so sorry that I never read it before. It was definitely one of the best books I have read. You meet Annie. Annie is the normal girl at school. Other then the way she looks, she reminded me a lot of myself how my high school was when it came to how people were there. High school can be very hard and sometimes people do not know how to deal with it. I personally didn’t have to do deal with it because I had some of the world’s greatest friends during my four years there. And yes, I am still friends with them today! But that is not what you are here to read about….lol…..sorry! Anyway Annie’s mom goes through a spill where she is kind of regretting the decisions that she has made. So she is trying to talk her mom out of it when her father actually invents something that really works. But that is not the only thing that happens because of this miracle machine. Annie is sucked into a different dimension where she is the living the life that her mom regretted letting go. What would you do if you were able to live a life that gave you everything? This book was so good! I think that everyone should HAVE to read this book. It was a definite page turner. And a book that I will always have on my shelf. I think I may gift this book to anyone that thinks that the grass is greener on the other side. Because it may not always be that way.
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
PrettyInFiction More than 1 year ago
Don't You Wish by Roxanne St. Claire answers that age old question, "Is the grass really greener on the other side?" And Annie Nutter is about to find out the answer. St. Claire has written a surprisingly emotional novel with Don't You Wish. And even though I wouldn't say it's the deepest story out there, I do think St. Clair shares some really good ideas about appreciating the things you do have instead of complaining about the things you don't. I'll admit I had a hard time connecting to the main character, Annie, at first. She's funny and comes off the way a teenager really would in her situation, but I still just can't say I wholeheartedly liked her. I found her to be immature. She was entirely too quick to give up her family and life to become rich and popular. She barely even cared when she discovered she was stuck in Ayla's life, because she got to go to school in a limo. She came off as selfish, and even though her wants changed throughout the book, I still couldn't shake that first impression. But in the end, I was able to look past it and see how much she had grown throughout her experiences. It's rare that I can say I truly hate a character. In fact, I can't think of a single one. But I found one in Don't You Wish. I hated Ayla's boyfriend Ryder. He was two seconds away from being a sexual predator, the way he practically threatens Ayla to get her to have sex with him. Like she better give it up or else. I truly hated him, and Annie-as-Ayla's reaction to him. I'm sorry, I would have hit him and walked away, not followed him like a lost puppy. And even though she does the right thing eventually, I still feel like she was a smart enough character to know better to begin with. Ayla's brother Trent is quite possibly my absolute favorite character in Don't You Wish. He comes off like a jerk, but he's extremely loyal to his mother. Trent stands up for her against his father when everyone else just ignores how disrespectful he is to his wife. Even Ayla. It made me love him, a lot. Even with his excessive use of the word "dawg". I also loved Charlie. He was really cute and definitely heartthrob worthy! There was an unexpected element of sci-fi in Don't You Wish. I knew it would be there, but wasn't expecting quite as much science as I received. I really enjoyed the whole multiverse aspect of the story. The jumping back and forth between universes thing totally reminded me of Sliders, which is possibly one of my favorite shows ever! Don't You Wish is a funny, cute summer read that a lot of readers are sure to enjoy. Mentions of sex and drug usage might make it inappropriate for some younger readers. But I still believe that Don't You Wish will appeal to anyone who's ever daydreamed of what their life could be like if they "had it all". I really enjoyed it, especially the ending!