Grace, tough and wise, has nearly given up on wishes, thanks to a childhood spent with her unpredictable, larger-than-life mother. But this summer, Grace meets Eva, a girl who believes in dreams, despite her own difficult circumstances.
One fateful evening, Eva climbs through a window in Grace’s room, setting off a chain of stolen nights on the beach. When Eva tells Grace that she likes girls, Grace’s world opens up and she begins to believe in happiness again.
How to Make a Wish is an emotionally charged portrait of a mother and daughter’s relationship and a heartfelt story about two girls who find each other at the exact right time.
|Sold by:||Houghton Mifflin Harcourt|
|File size:||4 MB|
|Age Range:||14 - 17 Years|
About the Author
Ashley Herring Blake used to write songs and now she writes books, including Suffer Love and How to Make a Wish. She reads them a lot too and has been known to stare wistfully at her bookshelves. She lives in Nashville, TN with her husband and two sons. www.ashleyherringblake.com
Read an Excerpt
She waits until we’re driving over the bridge to tell me. This is a strategic move. Wait until your temperamental daughter is suspended over the Atlantic Ocean to drop the bomb, thereby decreasing the chance that she’ll fling open the car door and hurl herself over the edge.
My mother is many things. Beautiful. Annoyingly affectionate after a few drinks and mean as a starving snake after several. Quick-witted and hilarious when her latest boyfriend isn’t turning her into some sycophantic sorority girl. But a fool?
My mother is no fool.
She swerves to pass a car that’s already going at least ten over the speed limit. The ocean, a dark sapphire blue, swings out of my vision and back in. I grip the handle above the window, shifting my gaze over to Mom to make sure her I forgot this silly thing again seat belt is securely fastened.
“What did you say?” I ask. Because I must have misheard her. Surely, my subconscious anticipated returning home to some catastrophe after leaving Mom on her own for the past two weeks, and it conjured up something totally absurd to lessen the blow.
“Grace, don’t make a big deal out of this. It’s just an address,” Mom says, and I bite back a bitter laugh. She loves that word. Just. Everything is just. It’s just one drink, Grace. A birthday is just a day, Grace. It’s just sex, Grace. My entire life is one gigantic just.
Well, I’m just about to lose my shit if you’re serious, Mom.
How’s that for a freaking just?
She steers with her knee for a few terrifying seconds while she digs a cigarette out of her purse and sparks it up. She blows out a silver stream of smoke through the open window, and I watch her fingers. Long and elegant, her short nails perfectly manicured and glossed eggplant purple, like always. She used to press our fingers together, kissing the joined tips and making a silly wish on each one. I would measure my hand against hers, eagerly waiting for the day when mine was the same size. I thought that the older I got, the older she would get and the less I’d have to worry about her.
“Pete’s place is really nice,” Mom says. “It’s so unique. Wait till you see it.”
“Pete. Who the hell is Pete?”
She glances at me and frowns, flicking ash out the window as we exit the bridge and drive onto the road that leads into town. “I started seeing him before you left for Boston. I told you about him, right? I’m sure I . . .” She trails off, like not being able to finish a sentence automatically releases her from any obligations.
“You’re serious, aren’t you?” I ask, struggling to keep my voice even.
She laughs. “Of course, baby. This is a good thing. Our lease was up and that dickhead of a landlord wouldn’t renew it because he claimed I still owed him three months’ rent for that dump he called a beach house. And things with Pete were going so well. He’d just moved and needed a woman’s touch.” She giggles and snicks the cigarette butt out the window. “That’s what he said. A woman’s touch. Such a gentleman.”
Oh Jesus. I recognize that tone, that girly giggle, that glassy look in her eyes. I can almost mouth the next words along with her, reciting the lines of a painfully familiar play. I’ve been off-book for this shit show for a long time.
Cue Mom’s dreamy sigh.
Three . . . two . . . one . . .
“He might be the one, baby.”
My fingers curl into fists on my bare legs, leaving red nail marks along my skin. When I left a couple weeks ago, I swear to hell Mom didn’t have a boyfriend. I would’ve remembered. I always remember, because half the time, I’m the one who reminds her of the asshole-of-the-month’s name. Okay, maybe that’s a stretch, but I really thought she’d run out of options.
Cape Katherine—Cape Katie to locals—is a tiny spit of land jutting into the Atlantic with about three thousand residents, a quaint downtown with lots of local shops and restaurants, and an ancient lighthouse on the north end that’s still maintained by a real-life lighthouse keeper. We moved here when I was three, and in the fourteen years since, I’ve lost count of how many guys Mom has “dated.”
And the whole lot of them has had the honor of being The One for about ten minutes.
Mom turns onto Cape Katherine Road. The Atlantic rises up on our left, flanked by rocks and gravelly beach. Early-afternoon sun spills coppery sparkles on its surface, and I take a few deep breaths. I’d like nothing better than to jump ship, streak down the beach, and throw myself under its waves, letting it roll over me. Let it have me for a few minutes, curling my body this way and that, transforming me into something free and weightless.
But I can’t do that.
For one, it’s cold as hell this early in the summer.
And whatever knot my mother’s woven herself into with He-Might-Be-The-One-Pete, I’m the only one here to untangle it.
“Okay,” I say, pushing my hair out of my face. “Let me make sure I’ve got this straight. In the twelve days since I’ve been in Boston, you moved everything we own into a new house I’ve never seen to live with some guy I’ve never met?”
“Oh, for god’s sake. You make it sound like I’m dragging you into some disease-ridden jungle. I’m telling you, you will love Pete’s house.”
I don’t really give two shits about Pete’s house.
I’m more concerned about Pete.
Mom flips on the radio while I try to decide if I want to vomit, scream, or cry. I think it’s some awful combination of all three.
“Mom, can we please talk about—”
“Oh, baby, hang on.” She turns up the volume on Cape Katie’s one and only radio show, hosted by Cape Katie’s one and only radio host, Bethany Butler. It’s on every morning and evening, and people call in and tell Bethany sob stories about their missing cat or how their coffee burned their taste buds off or something equally inane and irrelevant. Mom freaking loves it. She’s a total sucker for anything potentially tragic and unrelated to her own life.
“You heard it here first, Cape Katians, so keep an eye out for Penny. She was last seen on East Beach . . .”
“Who the hell is Penny?” I ask.
“The Taylor family’s corgi!” Mom says, a hand pressed to her heart. “She got loose from Tamara while she was walking her on the beach, poor thing.”
“. . . And remember, Penny is very skittish around men with red hair and—”
I flip off the radio. “Seriously, Mom? A corgi?”
“It’s sad, that’s all I’m saying. They’ve had her for a decade. She’s older than Tamara.”
“Yeah, cry me an effing river,” I mutter, looking out the window, the familiar sights of my town flashing past me in a blue-and-gray blur. “So do we still live on the cape, or are you just swinging by our old place for one last haul?”
“Of course we live here, baby. Do you really think I’d take you away from your school and all your friends right before your senior year?”
I choke down a derisive laugh. I’m not sure which is funnier: her comment about all my friends or the fact that my brain can’t possibly conjure up half the crap in my life that comes from being Maggie Glasser’s daughter. I would never think any of it. But it all seems to happen anyway.
Most Helpful Customer Reviews
How to Make a Wish is about two girls. Grace is dealing with her upcoming audition to a music school in New York and the fact that she now lives with her ex-boyfriend. And then there’s Eva, a girl who is struggling with her grief over losing her mom. I am so glad this book exists. F/f romance is so rare in YA, and to have a book that portrays it so beautifully is such a gift. Also it was extremely refreshing to read an LGBT+ YA book that doesn’t deal with “coming-out.” There was never any worry of anyone finding out about their relationship or if they wouldn’t be accepted by their friends and loved ones. (Honestly though this is so much more than a romance story.) And there’s also a biracial love interest, so..!!!!! I loved everything about this book, the characters, the setting, the story. All the characters were so three-dimensional, the MC’s and the supporting ones. This is an extremely character-driven novel, each one complex and well-rounded. So don’t really expect a lot to happen plot wise, as it’s the relationships between all the characters that makes this book so amazing. Not only Grace and Eva (though they were too cute), but also Grace and Luca, Grace and her mom, and much more. This book captured my attention from the first chapter. Grace’s story with her mom felt so real. Her anger, sadness, and feelings of helplessness, the way she described how she realized she was bisexual, felt so authentic, honestly it hit a little too close to home. It’s actually kind of creepy how much I related to this. And I know there will be a lot of people out there who will be able to relate to Eva as well. I feel like this review is kind of a mess. The only thing that matters is: read this!!!! It’s skillfully written, raw, and amazing.
I loved this book so much. The love story, the family dynamics, the friendships, the heart breaks, the tragedies, all of it. Grace was one of the realest, honest characters I've read about in a while; a fantastic novel through and through! See more reviews at my blog! http://areadingredsox.blogspot.com
“How to Make a Wish” is the rare sort of young adult romance that tackles the difficulties of growing up in a dysfunctional family and first love without being melodramatic. The situations feel awful and real, but not hopeless. It also has a beautifully executed romance between two girls that places it in the top-tier of books featuring lgbt main characters. Recommended! This unbiased review is based upon a complimentary copy provided by the publisher.
I've been waiting on my copy of this book for months now, and I devoured it in a matter of days. Although the romance between Grace and Eva is incredibly sweet, and made all the sweeter by the ease with which their relationship is accepted by their friends and families, Grace's emotional journey is the real backbone of the story. Raised by a flighty, unpredictable mother, Grace has had her life upended more times than she can count. She hates the instability, but she's more afraid of leaving her mom than she is of what might happen to her--or not happen to her--if she stays. My heart was breaking for Grace on every page, even when I was thrilled for her or infuriated with her. I wanted her to take charge of her own life and follow her own dreams so badly, and the reason I finished the book so quickly was because I HAD to know if she'd succeed. Girls from all walks of life are bound to relate to Grace's struggle or Eva's grief, and fall in love with their love story, but I sincerely hope LGBTQIA girls--particularly girls of color--find their way to this book.
I voluntarily read and reviewed an ARC of this book. Thanks to NetGalley and Houghton Mifflin Harcourt for the opportunity to read and review How to Make a Wish by Ashley Herring Blake. This story is about a dysfunctional flaky mother and her teenage daughter, Gracie, who is tired of how her mother acts. Her mother can't settle down in one place for long AND she's never in a relationship for long either AND she never takes the blame for her actions. This is all driving Gracie crazy because all Gracie wants is peace, happiness and contentment and to be able to focus on her goals. Gracie is a pianist and she wants to attend college in New York. She finally finds happiness with her friends, who are more of a family to her than her mother ever has been. Young adult content and LGBT diversity broaden the story to make an interesting realistic fiction read, 4 stars.
Another contemporary, another book I wanted to love but just didn't quite get there, and not necessarily the fault of the book so much as my own reading tastes. This book was adorable and I'm a sucker for adorable contemporaries (see The Upside of Unrequited and Geekerella) but it didn't hook me like those did and I'm honestly not sure why. I loved the cast. Grace is so strong despite the struggles she endures. She is the mature one in her family, having to take care of her mother instead of the other way around and it's a constant weight on her shoulders, something no teen should have to deal with. But she does and she's nothing short of amazing. Eva has the stronger personality of the two with the sass to go with it and that drew me to her almost immediately. I wasn't really invested in the story until she was introduced. And their romance is perfect. It's not necessarily the focus of the story but still plays a role and I don't think I've ever read a romance that was so... sweet (to be fair, most of the romances I read are adult so maybe that's the difference). Grace and Eva were goals. I also really loved the friendship between Luca and Grace because more often than not I see the friend of the opposite sex become the love interest and it didn't happen. It was GREAT. I want more of this!! I don't understand why friendships are passed over so often for romances when they can be just as amazing, if not more so. There were so many relatable moments that I started getting goosebumps imagining being back in high school which, for the record, is not somewhere I ever want to be again (as a student, at least). These characters have a little bit of everyone in them and it's hard not to connect. The one thing that I didn't really get into, and which I see I'm likely the black sheep in this, is the writing. It just wasn't a style that worked for me but not in a distracting sense that took away from the story. Despite my praises of this book and its wonderful elements, it wasn't something I devoured in one sitting. Or something that I connected with on a deeper level outside of select scenes. The characters were great and the dynamics well written but I didn't feel invested enough in them compared to other books I've read. Regardless, though, I would highly recommend this book to contemporary fans looking for a wonderful story of family, friendship, and romance featuring a diverse cast.
Actually 3.5 Stars. Honestly, this book is probably better than a 3.5 rating. I just couldn’t get invested in the story. I love the characters, I laughed at the funny moments, and was wrecked by the sad ones, but I was never hooked. I could have just been in a weird mindset or off, I don’t know. This really is a great book, I just wasn’t as invested as I would have liked to be. Things I Liked : The relationships in this story were a highlight for me. I adored Grace and Luca’s friendship. They are the dynamic duo I aspire to be. I thought Grace and her mom’s relationship was really well executed. It was complex and heart breaking. I became emotionally invest in this story because of their relationship. Grave and Eva’s budding romance, while beautiful and everything you could want in a first love/summer love romance, was probably the relationship I cared about the least. All of the relationships felt real and pulled emotion from me and made me care about these characters. This book is so SUMMERY! It begs to be read during summer. There’s beaches and the ocean and lighthouses. It fits perfectly this time of year. I LOVED that Grace was upset at her mom. They have a dysfunction relationship at best and Grace has every right to be upset and angry and frustrated at her mom’s antics and how they affect her life. I was so happy that Grace allowed herself to be angry at her mom, while she still loved her deeply. I also really liked that we got 2 explicit conversations where Grace discusses her bisexuality and actually says she’s bi. It was great to see her openly express herself. Things I Didn’t Like : I thought some of the dialogue between Grace and Eva was awkward. Not a cutesy flirty awkward, but this came out of nowhere awkward. I wanted to see more of the buildup in Eva and Grace’s relationship. After their first night in the lighthouse we do a micro time jump, where they’ve spent every night talking and getting to know each other, but I feel like I missed it. I wanted to see more of their romance developing and more falling in love cuteness dammit. I totally skimmed over a good 50 pages. Like I said, it wasn’t gripping me and I didn’t feel like I was missing anything so I skimmed because I wanted to get to the ‘more’ I was searching for. This is a great book and I would definitely recommend it to everyone because this book was made to be read during summer. It’s full of great characters with complex relationships and a lot of heart. I received a copy of the book from HMH Books for Young Readers via NetGalley in exchange for an honest review.