3.9 412
by Alexandra Bullen

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If you could have anything, what would you wish for? The impossible...or a real chance at being happy?

Olivia Larsen's twin sister, Violet, is dead. Olivia knows nothing that can change that . . . until the day she receives a beautiful dress. The dress doesn't just look magical: it has the power to grant wishes. And all Olivia wants is her sister back.


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If you could have anything, what would you wish for? The impossible...or a real chance at being happy?

Olivia Larsen's twin sister, Violet, is dead. Olivia knows nothing that can change that . . . until the day she receives a beautiful dress. The dress doesn't just look magical: it has the power to grant wishes. And all Olivia wants is her sister back.

But Violet's return isn't what Olivia expected. As love, secrets, betrayal, and a haunted past collide, Olivia begins to wonder what a wish is worth . . . and if her life will ever look the same.

Editorial Reviews

Publishers Weekly
Bullen delivers an enticing first novel about twin sisters—one alive and one dead. Grief-stricken high school junior Olivia moves with her parents to San Francisco to pick up the pieces after Violet's unexpected death. One night, while wearing a beautiful dress—a gift from a mysterious seamstress—Olivia wishes to have her sister back. She wakes up to find Violet's ghost waiting for her. Olivia is both shocked and overjoyed, and soon finds out that her seamstress is a cross between a fairy godmother and a genie—and that she has two more wishes (and new dresses) to come. The sisterly dynamic will draw readers in as Violet offers Olivia everything from fashion advice to counsel about boys, and Olivia gradually re-enters the world of the living, making new friends and finding romance. As Olivia's life becomes fuller it gets more complicated, too, but the story never surrenders to melodrama or gloom. Bullen's prose is solid, her head-to-toe descriptions of clothing are lavish, and she makes the sights of San Francisco come alive in this sweet story of siblings determined to remain inseparable. Ages 14–up. (Jan.)
Children's Literature - Lauri Berkenkamp
Olivia Larsen's life has fallen apart. Her identical twin sister is dead; her family has moved to San Francisco from her hometown outside Boston; her mother is a workaholic but her father does not work enough; and her parents fight all the time. Nothing can bring Olivia's sister Violet back and make Olivia's life normal again—nothing, that is, but a magical dress that makes wishes come true. Olivia wanders into a mysterious dress shop and meets Posey, aka Mariposa, a seamstress with the power to make magical dresses. Posey secretly makes Olivia her first magic dress and Olivia accidentally wishes for her sister to come back. The next morning Violet appears in Olivia's bedroom as a happy, smarty-pants ghost. Violet and Olivia discover the secret of Mariposa's magic dress shop: Olivia has been granted three dresses and three wishes, all courtesy of Mariposa, the magical seamstress. In this sweet, formulaic novel, Olivia adjusts to a new life after tragedy with the help of her ghostly sister. Violet gives Olivia the confidence to meet new friends, take risks, and fall in love. At the end of the novel, Olivia accidentally wishes her sister away, and then uses her final wish to say goodbye to Violet and live her new life on her own. There is nothing really new in Bullen's debut novel, set in the toniest areas of San Francisco and Marin County. It is very much a new girl meets boy and a new best friend, complications arise, new girl briefly loses both boy and best friend, girl gets boy in the end. But Olivia's and her parents' grief at the death of her sister, and Olivia's re-blossoming are rendered lovingly, and the idea that a magical dress could bring back a loved one, howeverbriefly, is very appealing. Reviewer: Lauri Berkenkamp
School Library Journal
Gr 9 Up—Olivia looks up from the wreckage of many months following the death of her twin to find herself uprooted across the country to San Francisco by her grieving attorney-mother and inconsolable contractor-father. Without Violet as a social and emotional crutch, Olivia doesn't know how she can face Golden Gate Prep. The touch of magic is subtle as the teen stumbles upon a hole-in-the-wall seamstress who agrees to mend an old dress of Violet's for a gathering at her mother's new firm. Instead, Olivia finds herself wearing a beautiful custom creation with a butterfly that bursts from fabric into life as Violet is wished back into Olivia's life. No one else can see or hear her, but Olivia's confidence is bolstered enough that she soon becomes friendly with Calla, the most popular girl in school, and catches the eye of skater cutie Soren. Complications ensue when Soren breaks up with Calla, and Olivia launches a clandestine romance, with a couple of dresses left to wear and wishes left to spend. This first-time novelist has produced an enjoyable variation on the three magical wishes scenario with nicely executed and believable characters, not so much fairy tale as realistic story—with some teen drinking. Olivia works through the wishes to realize her strengths and learn to face the world on her own.—Suzanne Gordon, Peachtree Ridge High School, Suwanee, GA
Kirkus Reviews
Following the death of her twin, Olivia and her parents relocate to San Francisco to rebuild their lives, but for Olivia, who was always most comfortable in her sister Violet's shadow, the transition isn't easy until she discovers a dressmaker with supernatural talents. In addition to creating three perfect dresses for Olivia, the dressmaker embeds three wishes into her creations. Unsurprisingly, Olivia first conjures Violet, who, as a semi-solid spirit, coaches Olivia through her additional wishes and her new school's social strata. Olivia's quick climb to popularity is out of character, and her awkwardness with it is painfully realistic and endearing, especially as she clumsily partners with her crush. Despite the text's supernatural elements, which in some spots wear thin, the detailed descriptions of San Francisco and above all the sisters' relationship provide solid grounding for a touching, enjoyable read that will have readers rooting for Olivia to find her own voice and step into the sun. (Fiction. YA)

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Product Details

Scholastic, Inc.
Publication date:
Product dimensions:
5.20(w) x 7.90(h) x 0.90(d)
Age Range:
14 Years


Meet the Author

Alexandra Bullen has been a playwright, waitress, barista, gardener, script reader, yoga instructor, and personal assistant. She grew up in Massachusetts, went to college in New York City, and lives most of the year on Martha's Vineyard (except when she's visiting San Francisco). www.akbullen.wordpress.com.

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