Word Spelunking

Genie Wishes

Genie Wishes - Elisabeth Dahl I adored Elisabeth Dahl's Genie Wishes. This funny, sweet, authentic, and often surprisingly poignant novel, captured my heart in ways that I didn't expect.Genie starts her fifth-grade year excited to spend it with her BFF Sarah who is in her homeroom class. Genie is elected by her peers to be the fifth-grade class blogger and must write a blog post every week or so that deals with the theme of “wishes, hopes, and dreams”. Genie, whose blogger name is Genie Wishes, finds it difficult to blog at first, but quickly finds her voice. But when new girl Blair starts to come between Genie and Sarah, her fifth-grade year gets a lot more complicated. Genie soon finds herself navigating the tween world of boy-crazy girls, bras, deodorant, periods, bra-snapping boys, and dealing with a moody big brother and widower dad with a new girlfriend. Genie's last year of elementary school surprises her in more ways than one.Elisabeth Dahl is a fantastic and bold new voice in middle-grade fiction. She has spun a wonderful story full of laughs, heart, coming of age moments, and endearing characters. Genie Wishes is a story that I didn't expect to love so much and I am so glad that I read it.Dahl writes with a genuine and authentic voice. She has captured the mindset and attitude of a tween girl caught between childhood and growing up perfectly. Genie Wishes is almost 300 pages long, but I quickly devoured it in one sitting, unable to set it down for a second. What I love so much about this story is just how realistic and authentic it feels. Dahl isn't afraid to explore the hard things- from “That” class (sex ed) to a widower parent dating again, to mean girls, to a tween's changing body- and explore them realistically while still keeping her story appropriate for her intended audience. And Dahl brings so much wonderful heart and humor to these subjects as well.Genie is a superb character and I just adored everything about her. She's delightfully endearing, thoughtful, smart, brave, and easy to root for. Plus, she's a blogger, which is just too awesome! Genie is the type of character that always feels real, relatable, and likable. Dahl has really created something very special with Genie and given young readers, especially tween girls, a voice and character to connect with and believe in. The whole cast of characters really shine, from Genie's quirky family to her old and new friends and even to the mean girls.This story, while appropriate for its intended audience, isn't sappy or cheesy and doesn't end all nicely wrapped up, which I really appreciated. It's real, it explores real issues and has a real voice, which isn't always easy to find in MG or YA. But it's also very charming, sweet, and heartwarming.MY FINAL THOUGHTS: Elisabeth Dahl's debut book is a sparkling gem! Genie Wishes will amuse, move, and entertain readers of all ages with its relatable story, charming characters, and dazzling writing.

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