The Wish List by Jane Costello
I am an unashamed chick-lit-aholic! My romantic nature yearns for the fairy tale ending, my sense of humour is satisfied by the “oh no!” moments and quirky best friends, and I enjoy being swept away by the story, enjoying some light relief at the end of a (usually tiring) day. Jane Costello’s The Wish List ticks all these boxes, making it the ideal read for fellow chick-lit lovers.
Emma Reiss is counting down to the big three-oh. With only six months left of her twenties, she discovers a list that leaves her questioning whether or not her life is on the right track. Written by her fifteen-year old self, her two best friends and her sister, the list is a compilation of all their aspirations. But Emma hasn’t jumped out of a plane, she hasn’t met the man she’s going to marry, and she most certainly hasn’t snogged anybody famous. Emma’s goal, then? To tick off every item on that list before her thirtieth birthday, and to try to be more like the adult her younger self dreamed of being.
Let me, for a moment, gush: I loved The Wish List! It is the first Jane Costello book I’ve read, and my reaction to it was “why on earth have not read any of her books before?” Now, I don’t often have such a strong, positive reaction. With so many books being published under the genre, chick-lit often falls into the trap of being “same-old, same-old”, or just…lacking somehow. This impossible to put down book was refreshingly and genuinely entertaining.
As with any well-written literature of this genre, it is in the characters that this book finds its strength. Emma was a delightful, highly lovable heroine. She was just the right amount of clumsy, made just the right kind of funny remarks, and overall, she was just the right amount of normal, a regular young woman trying to get on with life. Emma’s friends and her sister, rather than being brief and two-dimensional, add a wonderful depth to the story through their own personal stories and experiences. It is easy to relate to and empathise with each of them, and therein lies the key to The Wish List’s success.
The chapters are short, so there is a sense of moving through the story at a good pace (though, of course, that also makes it far too easy to say “hmmm, maybe just one more chapter before bed/work/dishes”). Like all books of this genre, there is an element of predictability, but the endearing characters, well-written narrative, and laugh-out-loud funny moments make it completely worthwhile. Besides, for me, the comfort is in the fact that when I read a book of this genre, I know the direction the story will take, and it’s a direction that I thoroughly enjoy.
Jane Costello has a fun and unique voice, one that is, now, right up there with my favourite chick-lit authors. I highly recommend The Wish List, and can’t wait to get my hands on her previous novels.
REVIEWER: Emma Codd
TITLE: The Wish List
AUTHOR: Jane Costello
PUBLISHER: Simon & Schuster