For Charli Blake, being seventeen is a tough gig.
She’s been branded a troublemaker, her reputation is in tatters and she’s stuck in Pipers Cove, a speck of a town on the coast of Tasmania.
Thankfully, it’s temporary. Her lifelong dream of travelling the world is just months away from becoming reality. All she has to do is ride out the last few months of high school, which is easier said than done thanks to a trio of mean girls known as The Beautifuls.
When Adam Décarie arrives in town, all the way from New York, life takes an unexpected turn. His arrival sets off a chain of events that alters her life forever, convincing her of one thing. Fate brought him to her.
Saving Wishes is the story of a girl who doesn’t quite fit the life she’s living, and the boy who helps her realize why.
Saving Wishes – excerpt.
Alex’s smile disappeared along with her, and an eerie silence set in. It was as if we’d all witnessed a terrible train crash and were too shocked to speak. I could feel his glare but kept my eyes on the front door.
“You have ten seconds to explain,” he informed me.
I punched out the explanation so quickly, I had five seconds to spare. I could almost see his mind ticking over as he processed my confession.
“Of all the stupid things to do.” His reproach was warranted, and defending myself would only have added fuel to an already raging fire. “You’re like a mini terrorist. Are you trying to get us run out of town?”
Gabrielle’s tried to stop a giggle escaping. I turned my attention to Adam
“I think it was ingenious,” he murmured, revealing the dimple on his cheek.
“You are too easily charmed,” complained Alex, waving his hands as if he was showcasing the major prize in a game show. “Charli Blake is the kind of girl your mother warned you about, Adam. Nothing but trouble.”
So much for defending me to the death! If he hadn’t been so worked up it would have been funny. The only people in the room game enough to see the humour were those of French lineage.
“I would be more than happy to claim her,” Adam told him.
“Me too,” added Gabrielle, much to my surprise.
Alex shook his head. He marched to the front door and flipped the sign, declaring the shop shut for the rest of the day.
“Are you closing?” asked Gabrielle, checking her watch. “It’s early.”
“I’m done. If I don’t get out of here, I might explode,” he muttered, pushing past me to collect his coat.
I knew Alex was close to breaking point. Escaping the café before he had a chance to lock the door seemed like a good idea. I reached for Adam’s hand. “I’ll see you later.” I moved quickly, giving Alex no chance of calling me back. Adam turned to face him as we reached the door.
“I’ll have her home early.”
“I honestly don’t care,” Alex said wearily.
He sounded broken. For a horrible second I wondered if I’d finally pushed him too far. Perhaps in the process of slaying the Beautiful dragons I’d accidently assassinated my white knight too. I peeked at my brother. “Do you mean that?” My voice was small because I feared his answer.
Alex looked back at me for a long time. He didn’t look angry any more, just beaten. “No,” he said simply. And I believed him.
As most know, Harlie gives me all the YA to read because she seems to think that I’m still living in high school but you would be wrong. She gives them to read because she thinks that I can identify better with the characters. Guess what? She is so not wrong when it comes to Saving Wishes. Okay, its set in Tasmania but the characters are what set this story apart from the typical YA books.
I totally got Charli, in fact I was Charli at some point. I remember the mean girls from high school and they didn’t change much when I went back to my reunion either. Sad, really. I had a high school sweetheart that I though the moon shined on him and that he was my everything. I learned that the moon didn’t shine on him and that I had to make myself happy for me, not for other people. It has a hard lesson learned but I did it.
What really grabbed me though was the voice of the characters. They were real and honest. No sugar coating from Ms. Walker-Smith. When I read YA sometimes, the characters are too perfect and these characters are not perfect at all. Well, okay maybe Adam. Lord, he is something special and just want Charli needed to see that her life was good; even in a small town.
Of course, I’m not different than Harlie in the fact that I love stories set in Australia, New Zealand and Tasmania. The setting for Saving Wishes is a character within itself. I really felt like I was the fly on the wall watching the story unfold. The beginning was a bit slow but in the end, I never wanted the story to end. It was that good. It was heartbreaking at times and the big twist was O.M.G. 🙂 Not telling, you have to read it for yourself.
If you are looking for a truly authentic YA book, look no further than Saving Wishes. It takes you back to your own high school years which is good and bad. I look forward to Harlie passing me book #2.
G.J Walker-Smith’s day job used to be in the stressful world of property management, until she realized she’d rather write books and raise her babies.
She lives in Western Australia, has an egotistical French bulldog, a love for really good coffee and a million stories in her head that she hopes to put into print.
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