Thursday, November 14, 2013

A Review of Genie Wishes by Elisabeth Dahl

Genie Wishes
by Elisabeth Dahl

288 pages
Publication Date April 2, 2013
from Amulet Books
Review copy provided by
My Rating 5 out of 5 stars!

Summary from
This sweet, funny novel follows fifth-grader Genie Kunkle through a tumultuous year. From the first day of school, Genie knows there will be good, bad, and in-between. The good? She’s in homeroom with her best friend, Sarah. The bad? Sarah’s friend from camp, Blair, is a new student at their school, and is itching to take Genie’s place as Sarah’s BFF. The in-between? Genie is excited to be elected to write her class’s blog, where she’s tasked with tracking the wishes and dreams of her class. But expressing her opinion in public can be scary—especially when her opinion might make the rest of her class upset.

My opinion
I think that many "tweens" will relate to Genie Wishes.  It could be the Are You There God It's Me Margaret for this generation.  Elisabeth Dahl tackles classic preadolescent challenges like friendship issues, jealousy, puberty, and popularity.  Genie, whose name is Genie Haddock Kunckle, is in fifth grade.  She is a sweet, innocent young girl who is forced to deal with the struggles of growing up when her BFF Sarah becomes close with the new girl, Blair.  Blair is somewhat superficial and is interested in flirting with boys, wearing makeup and being in the popular clique. Genie does not see what the rush is to grow up and is confused and hurt by the changes she sees in her friend Sarah.  As a result, the two friends grow further and further apart.   Throughout the story, Genie starts to learn tough lessons about true friendship and being happy with yourself.  

The writing is entertaining with many funny parts. Genie is a very endearing and likeable character.  I loved the part on Halloween when many girls were interested in looking "hot"in their costumes and Genie makes her own adorable fish tank costume.  

So many students will love this book.  It is listed for ages 8 and up (from the publisher). I, however, would recommend it for students in later 4th grade and up because of some sensitive issues such as wearing bras, flirting with boys, weight concerns and all the other wonderful things that come with going through puberty.  

I would consider Genie Wishes more of an individual or small book club book rather than a class read aloud because of the topics mentioned above.  I think it would be a valuable book for parents to read with their "tween".  It would be a nice springboard to having some important discussions about social difficulties and adolescent changes. I will be reading it with my own fifth grader.  
Kudos to Elisabeth Dahl for tackling some tough issues in her wonderful book. 

Check out the book trailer.   

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