Don’t You Wish by Roxanne St. Claire
Young Adult Fiction released by Delacorte Books for Young Readers on July 10, 2012
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 exhilarating . . . and illegal.
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.
I don’t read much YA at all, especially nowadays, because they all seem to have the exact same premise. I only picked up this one up because it was by Roxanne St. Claire, who’s been one of my favorite authors in her other genres, and it wanted to give it a shot. Don’t You Wish really surprised me in a great way, because it seems to be different from the current YA books being published. This books has such a fun, innovative story, with a creative, fast-paced, plot and lovable characters. I devoured it like a beloved desert. I’ve loved every page of this book. It’s been one of my favorite reads this year!
Annie Nutter is supposedly your average girl, as she doesn’t get noticed at school and doesn’t get to hang out with the popular crowd at school. She’s just a band dork who gets made fun of. Annie is really nice and fun, but she’s shy and doesn’t show that much of her lovable personality to the world. At the point where she becomes Ayla Monroe on the outside, yet continues to be Annie on the inside, is where the true beauty of the character lies. Because of this – Annie gets this huge initiative and changes Ayla’s life. A life that would seem to perfect for everyone that wasn’t really living it. It’s like Annie gets the spark to light the fire within [Ayla] and starts to proactively make things better. And Annie finally stands up for herself. I love that about her.
Then, there’s Charlie, a geeky guy, within a picture perfect world who gets bullied for not being rich enough for the Crop Academy. He befriends Annie as Ayla. Of course, the real Ayla would never have befriended him. Charlie is a key character as it’s his genius that eventually helps Annie figure out her final solution. Charlie is a very authentic, multi-layered character. He’s so real to me, I have a physical image that I associate with him. Charlie is brilliant, and he’s not very trusting of other people. He’s more vulnerable than he appears to be, and it’s very hard for the reader not to wish you had a guy like him when you were in high school. Think *insta-crush*. He’s a really great character, and you can’t help but keep rooting for him and Annie to end up together..
I have to admit, even though Annie has a very nice and sweet best friend in real world, it was the character of Ayla’s “Dumb-Blonde-Friend” Bliss that made me laugh out loud. Bliss was my favorite secondary character. She brought a lot of fantastic humor to the book. I would have liked to see what happened to Ayla’s life after Annie left and Ayla’s real soul returned, as Annie changed so many things, from minute details to relationships with friends, classmates and parents. Perhaps this was the only thing that was lacking in the book for me. The “after” scenes.
One of the best things about Don’t You Wish is that it’s not a depressing, angsty book. This is what separates it from the paranormal YA books nowadays – because as it’s about parallel words, the book does have some paranormal elements. This story is a fun, light-hearted book, that is above all, a very pleasurable read. I recommend it to everyone that loves a really unique story, a good laugh and really interesting characters.