Title: If You Wish
Author: Cassandra Sage Briskman
Ella Jackson is an ordinary teenage girl whose father just happens to be a rich and famous film director. Her life must be awesome, right? Not exactly. Her father is always working and her stepmother and two step sisters basically live to make Ella miserable. Life sucks, until Ella meets Julian. But, instead of falling in love with him, she finds herself falling in love with the hottest boy at school…her step sister’s boyfriend. In a remarkable coming of age story written by a real teenager, If You Wish confronts bullying, drug abuse, and LGBT rights in a story that is anything but a fairy tale.
Cassandra Sage Briskman is a young author at only 16 years of age, but her novel If You Wish proves that she is an old soul and has vast experience concerning such heavy topics as drug abuse and bullying. Her novel is written like a fairytale, but it is certainly not. I enjoyed how she took the classic writing style of a fairytale and presented the reader with a story that touched on many different emotions and dilemmas in a young adult’s life. It made me happy to see such an intense novel written for the young adult audience.
However, I found the story to be written through a voice that was trying too hard to compare with the stereotypical teenage language. The narrator’s voice did not seem genuine to me, and I had a hard time believing a lot of what she said. The backstory of the main character’s circumstances was far fetched and hard to relate to on many levels. It almost seemed to me that the narrator was trying too hard to convince the reader that her life wasn’t perfect even though her father was a celebrity. She seemed to expect pity from the reader at times, and it turned me away from her more than once. Her case of being an “ordinary teenager” could have been more believable if she hadn’t tried so hard to prove it. The novel could also be wordy at times, and I found myself skipping over sentences that I found weren’t necessary to the story.
But with that being said, I found If You Wish to have a promising basis for a story. It dealt with heavy topics, and young adults can relate to some of the events on many levels. Briskman also did an excellent job of including backstories for her characters and the reasonings behind their actions. Her story was well developed, and I didn’t finish the novel with any questions remaining, showing me how well Briskman can wrap up a story in a timely manner. Briskman’s writing has promise, and I look forward to watching her skill grow as she continues to write.
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