Literary agent Ribar's debut novel is a deceptively light girl-meets-genie story. Margo, a talented senior with musical aspirations, feels cast aside by her newly reunited parents (it's like the opposite of The Parent Trap) and slighted when she is overlooked for the lead in the school play. The coveted part goes to the awkward Vicky, and no else appears to notice what a train-wreck she is on stage. When Margo finds a magic ring in the girls' bathroom, she becomes the master of a cute and unassuming genie named Oliver, who had previously granted Vicky wishes. Margo is captivated by Oliver, who can also read her true desires, and when he grants her wish to become a better songwriter, the results are spectacular. The theatrics of an evil, rival genie's shapeshifting aren't nearly as menacing as the repercussions of blind wish fulfillment. While the relationship between Margo and Oliver initially falls in line with paranormal romance conventions, Ribar also weaves some psychological intricacy and darkness into their bond. Broader questions about ownership, inauthenticity, and greed give the story additional substance. Ages 12–up. Agent: Brenda Bowen, Sanford J. Greenburger Associates. (Mar.)
"The Art of Wishing stands head and shoulders above [paranormal] competition because of its main character Margo. Ribar brings us a heroine who is quick-witted, amusing to read, and honest. . . utterly relatable, vulnerable, and open. . . while still being a decisive, strong-willed heroine."
"For anyone who thought Disney's Aladdin was the last word on genies, think again. . . . Margo and Oliver are extremely likable, with an easy camaraderie that pulls the reader straight into the story. . . . They are supported by a strong cast of secondary characters who are closer to magic than they realize. . . . A strong debut."
"Genies for the modern age, with passion, darkness, and heart. I loved it!"
"The Art of Wishing is a fresh, fun, surprisingly poignant take on what it means to get what you wish for. With sexy genies and genuine stakes, I couldn't wish for a better story."
"Reading The Art of Wishing was like finding a new favorite song! The love between a musician and her genie is so bittersweet, so utterly human, it makes magic feel reala feat all paranormal romances attempt, but few achieve."
Children's Literature - Veronica Bartles
Margo McKenna has a plan for everything. She knows exactly how she wants her senior year of high school to go, from getting the lead in the school play to getting accepted into the best colleges. When a genie grants a wish, derailing Margo's plan, her orderly life falls apart. And when Margo suddenly finds herself in possession of the magical ring that gives its wearer control over the genie, she's not so sure she wants to use her wishes. Even if the genie is someone as cute as Oliver Parish, the sophomore who is taking pictures of the play rehearsals for the yearbook. As Margo and Oliver grow closer, she discovers that he's being stalked by a man intent on destroying all genies, and only Margo can save Oliver's life. But it will take more than just three wishes. There were plenty of typical paranormal romance cliches sprinkled throughout the book, such as the insta-love that sprouts between Margo and Oliver almost at first meeting. However, Ribar gives us a new twist on the three wishes tale, adding an element of mystery and intrigue with the murderous subplot. Girls who want a hint of romance, with a healthy dose of mystery and a few thrilling twists and turns will enjoy Margo's story. Reviewer: Veronica Bartles
School Library Journal
Gr 9 Up—Senior Margo McKenna knows something is up when she loses the lead in her school play to an unknown and talentless sophomore named Vicky. To escape during one particularly frustrating rehearsal, she goes to the girls' room, where she finds a ring. When she picks it up, the mysterious new kid, Oliver, instantly appears. Margo discovers that he is really a genie and his master is Vicky. By finding the ring, Margo becomes his new master. She uses her first wish to become a talented songwriter. Soon after, she discovers that another genie, Xavier, is hunting Oliver and plans to kill him. As Margo rushes to find a way to save Oliver's life, the pair begin to fall in love. Although the rules and logic of genies and wish-making are tricky to follow at times, Ribar does a good job of developing realistic and likable characters. The heavy focus on the relationship between Margo and her parents, who have recently rekindled their relationship and remarried, dissipates midway through the novel and, by the end, disappears completely. Rich with romance, magic, and action, this novel will captivate teens while also cautioning them to be careful what they wish for.—Nicole Knott, Watertown High School, CT
The craze for paranormal romance has encompassed vampires, warlocks and werewolves, and now it moves on to a genie like no other. Margo McKenna knows how good her audition for the lead in the school musical was; it was perfect. When she's assigned a secondary role, she tries to overcome her disappointment and make the best of it, something she's gotten used to at home as well as at school. It isn't until she finds an old ring in the girls' room and meets Oliver that she finds out that there's real magic in today's world. Determined to make the most of her three wishes, she takes her time, wanting to make wise decisions. But her genie is a genie on the run, and he needs her to hurry up before he is assassinated. As Margo gets to know Oliver better, she become even more hesitant to make her wishes, as completion of the third wish means Oliver will move on—and out of her life forever. The pressure is on. What is more magical: a genie's power or true love? This lighthearted book is a well-rounded combination of humor, romance and paranormal suspense, with likable characters and easy-to-believe dialogue. Though about as substantive as magical smoke, it makes for a pleasant afternoon read. (Paranormal romance. 12-16)
From the Publisher
Praise for The Art of Wishing:
"Genies for the modern age, with passion, darkness, and heart. I loved it!" —Tamora Pierce, #1 New York Times bestselling author
"The Art of Wishing is a fresh, fun, surprisingly poignant take on what it means to get what you wish for. With sexy genies and genuine stakes, I couldn't wish for a better story." —Seanan McGuire, New York Times bestselling author of Midnight Blue-Light Special
"Reading The Art of Wishing was like finding a new favorite song! The love between a musician and her genie is so bittersweet, so utterly human, it makes magic feel real—a feat all paranormal romances attempt, but few achieve." —Jeri Smith-Ready, author of Shine
“The Art of Wishing stands head and shoulders above competition because of its main character Margo. Ribar brings us a heroine who is quick-witted, amusing to read, and honest.” —Tor.com
“Rich with romance, magic, and action, this novel will captivate teens.” —SLJ
"[With] a genie like no other. . . this lighthearted book is a well-rounded combination of humor, romance and paranormal suspense." —Kirkus Reviews
"Margo and Oliver are extremely likable, with an easy camaraderie that pulls the reader straight into the story." —Booklist
Read an Excerpt
“Okay, you said you’re a what?”
“A genie,” he said, lowering his fork to his plate.
“Right,” I murmured. “So, genies are real. You are a genie. I get three wishes. Okay. What else? Do you live in a bottle?”
“No,” he said, sounding almost offended. “I live in an apartment.”
“Are you seriously telling me the truth about this?” I asked.
“I seriously am,” he replied. “I was also serious about stealing a fry.”
“Oh, for heaven’s sake, take the fries. Have as many as you want. But, I mean, you don’t look like a genie.”
He raised an eyebrow. “You mean I’m not blue and I don’t sound like Robin Williams?”
“That’s not what I meant,” I said.
He grinned at me.
“Okay, fine, that’s what I meant. But I mean, look at that movie. Aladdin rubs the lamp, right, and it’s all fireworks and explosions, and out pops this genie, and you look at him and you go, ‘Oh, hey, look, it’s a genie.’ But you? You look… normal.”
“Except for when I disappear.”
“Well, yeah, except for that. But how do I know—“
“Try it,” he said, wiggling his eyebrows conspiratorially. “Make a wish. I won’t tell anyone, I promise.”