Book Review: Saving Wishes by GJ Walker-Smith

Title: Saving Wishes
Author: GJ Walker-Smith
Copyright Date: 2013
Genre: Fiction
Sold by: Smashwords
Format: eBook
File Size: 800 KB


I received a free copy of the book in exchange for an honest review.

In Pipers Cove, Tasmania the population is a whopping 486 people. My graduating high school class had almost as many folks. The beach town is home to Charlotte (Charli) Elizabeth Blake, a seventeen year old young woman who has been itching to escape her small gossipy town with her best friend, Nicole Lawson, since she was eight.

Walker-Smith’s tale, Saving Wishes, plopped Tasmania on my ever-growing list of places to visit. Who can resist a cliffed beach town with good surf and picturesque views? Charli can. She’s had enough, not of the surfing or the scenery, but of everyone in Piper’s Cove knowing her business and judging her for it. She and Nicole have saved for their trip for years – Charli selling postcards created from her photography and Nicole working at Charli’s brother’s cafe. The departure date for traveling the globe is high school graduation.

But as John Lennon croons “Life is what happens to you while you’re busy making other plans.”

Numero uno plan disruption is Adam Décarie. He rolls in to the modicum of a town in a shiny black Audi. He’s the young cousin of Charli’s despised French teacher, Gabrielle Décarie. The romance that develops between Adam and Charli is intense. They need each other like fish need water. It helps that both characters strongly trust in fate because otherwise their immediate taking to each other might be hard to believe. The love development is fast, but the speed allows for several compelling subplots to unfold.

The first fifty pages you’ve read before in one romance novel or another. They travel the well-worn path of boy meets girl and falls in love. Yet as the story advances, Walker-Smith trail blazes with three twists. The twists wind off of Charli learning secrets about her family’s past, secrets that make her rethink always leaving her life up to chance. Charli makes choices that require rare strength and conviction. She’s a character worth admiring, though at times her self-effacement is nerve grinding.

“[Love] makes us do all sorts of unreasonable things.” says Gabrielle, Charli’s French teacher. Damn, if that’s not the truth. For love, I have cleaned up cat vomit, wiped diarrhea off my son’s legs, and put a few dreams on pause. Walker-Smith twines the theme, love makes us unselfish, throughout the story as Gabrielle, Alex, Adam, and Charli confront their past and current selves. Driving the theme further, Walker-Smith tosses in the antithesis as well. Not loving makes us unselfish. The antithesis plays out in one of the tale’s twists.

One blemish, in the otherwise enjoyable novel, is the mean-girl bullies in the book. Jasmine and the Beautifuls were cliché. The give and go between them and Charli is a bit ridiculous. Their inclusion in the story serves only to highlight Charli’s mischievousness and insecurities and to advertise that living in a small town is akin to an imprisonment in hades.

The book is well-written, but could have been proofed a bit more. A few grammar and spelling mistakes sprinkle the text, yet not enough to disrupt the page-turning.

The page-turning was rapid for me. I escaped into Saving Wishes, putting domestic bliss on hold. For a day and a half, all meals served to my family were in bowls with milk. The copy I read had an excerpt from Second Hearts, the second installment in the Wishes series. I downloaded the complete book last night comforted by the thought that cereal’s fortified, right?


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