March 6, 2015 • Cee • Reviews

art of wishing

The Art of Wishing by Lindsay Ribar
March 31, 2013
Dial Books For Young Readers
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He can grant her wishes, but only she can save his life.

Margo McKenna has a plan for just about everything, from landing the lead in her high school play to getting into a good college. So when she finds herself in possession of a genie’s ring and the chance to make three wishes, she doesn’t know what to do. Why should she put her life into someone else’s hands?

But Oliver is more than just a genie — he’s also a sophomore at Margo’s high school, and he’s on the run from a murderer. As he and Margo grow closer, she discovers that it will take more than three wishes to save him.

A whole lot more.


First Sentence:

The plan was this: I’d get up on that stage, blow them away with the best damn audition they’d ever seen, and walk out knowing the part I wanted was mine.

Looking for genie in a bottle? Well, let me present, The Art of Wishing.

The Art of Wishing follows Margo McKenna in her senior year as she deals with her disappointment of losing one of the lead roles in her high school musical to a sophomore as well as the appearance of a mysterious ring that summons a genie who will grant her three wishes if she so chooses. This genie happens to be a sophomore named Oliver who had been hanging around the high school theater. The two of them begin to confide in each other—secrets that they had kept hidden—and eventually fall in love. However, problems start to pop up with the threat of the impending arrival of the Big Bad, who’s out for Oliver.

Six Things Readers Will Love About The Art of Wishing

  • The main character adores music and musicals.

Margo loves music. It’s the one thing that brings her joy and the one thing that helps her express her feelings, especially when it comes to her parent’s reunion after their divorce. I love that she is passionate and confident in her abilities. She feels entitled to certain things, specifically lead role in her school musical, which I felt is completely realistic for a teenager. And when she doesn’t get her way, she complains (in secret), but she still puts all her energy into making this minor role the best it could be. She always puts 100% in everything she does—acting and sing—and I love seeing that passion.

  • There’s a genie that can grant you three wishes.

That’s Oliver! A normal-looking sophomore guy who starts hanging around the school’s theater because of Vicky, his master at the start, who gets a part in the school musical.

Okay, so Oliver’s not the blue genie with the Robin Williams voice that comes out of a magic lamp that we all know, or the bedlah-like outfitted woman like I Dream of Jeannie, but he is one! He’s actually been around since the 16th/17th century. Instead of a bottle or lamp, he is summoned when his master rubs their thumb and forefinger on a magical ring, and poof! He appears out of thin air, ready to make those three wishes! He loves his job, and never wants to be freed, which is a different take on genies I’ve seen or read about.

  • A genie has more abilities than what meets the eyes.

A lot goes into making those three wishes happen, so a genie has to have a lot of tricks up their sleeves. They are master illusionists, shapeshifters, and mind readers, using whatever they can to transform themselves or whoever or whatever to fulfill their master’s wish. It’s a bit scary what they can do because of the implications, but I find it all so fascinating.

  • The Big Bad spices up the entire story. 

So creepy! You learn that Oliver is essentially on the run from this Big Bad. Why? Well, you’ll have to read to find out why. But this Big Bad is super scary—like he’ll creep you out; the hair on the back of your neck will stand up when he appears. He’s clever and extremely dangerous, using anything and everything like Margo to get to Oliver. His appearance puts everybody’s lives at stake, and he won’t rest until he gets Oliver. He doesn’t have anything to lose (though, his motivation for his actions were weak and dumb, which is unfortunate).

  • The romance will probably have you swooning. Maybe.

It’s really a matter of personal taste. Margo and Oliver have their cute moments; they have a natural chemistry that makes their relationship not seem too much like instalove (even though it is). It’s because of the way they talk; they look out for each other and are supportive of each other. I can see why some people like their romance, but I am personally not a fan. (For me, it’s the problem of Oliver’s abilities that make me super uncomfortable about the romance.)

  • The genie lore gets reinvented a bit!

Know a lot or not too much about the genie lore? No problem! It doesn’t need you to know much. This book presents a new take on the genie lore that will surely have you on the edge of your seat.

Although there was a lot to be desired about the history and lore of genies, I found it fascinating enough for me to want to hear more.


The Art of Wishing is a delightful take on the genie lore that has a confident main character and her cool genie, making wishes and trouble happen wherever they go.

There are some things I did not like: the choice that the main character makes because she became that girl who sacrifices herself for a guy she met a week ago, Oliver’s abilities that Margo discovers (I feel like she should be more wary), the connotations of his abilities, and the motivation of the Big Bad. However, these things did not dissuade from the fact that was a good book that tries to reinvent the genie lore. Does it do a really good job of it? Why not pick The Art of Wishing up so you can judge yourself?


2 Responses to “REVIEW | The Art of Wishing by Lindsay Ribar”

  1. Alexa S. says:

    I’m still quite curious about The Art of Wishing! I didn’t really know all that much about the story, except that it’s got a genie in it ;) It sounds pretty cute though, so I may have to check it out.

  2. Bruna says:

    Great review! Hadn’t heard of that one before, but it sounds really interesting! Genie stories is not something you see very often.

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