Thursday, February 4, 2016

Sticks and Stones (The Wish Makers #1) by Shawn McGuire


Sticks and Stones

Sticks and Stones by Shawn McGuire
Series: The Wish Makers #1
Print and e-book, 268 pages
Published June 12th 2014 by Brown Bag Books

Everyone has a dark side. Mandy’s just moved in with her.

The last time sixteen-year-old Mandy Matteo broke a rule, her sister died. Since that day she has done only what is expected of her, but life as a goody-goody has made Mandy so boring her friends have all but abandoned her. And she’s given up on ever getting Ethan, the boy she’s liked forever, to notice her. Desperate, Mandy makes a wish to simply be happy.

Her wish is granted and happiness arrives in the form of Lexi, her childhood imaginary friend come to life. Magical wishes have conditions though: Once started, the wish cannot be altered or stopped. And once Mandy is truly content with her life again, Lexi must go back to where she came from. But Lexi loves being alive and she’ll do whatever it takes to stay that way.

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My thoughts about Sticks and Stones ~~

I discovered Shawn and her books at the South Dakota Festival of Books last September. I have to be honest, I admit that the covers of her books are what drew me to her author table. (Isn’t this cover just amazing?) I had never heard of her nor had I seen her books before then. But I loved talking with her and hearing about this series. I ended up walking away with all four of the books. I know, I know, just what I needed, more books. 

So, these books have been sitting on my shelf since then. I knew I wanted to read them, it just seemed like there were always other books that I ‘had’ to read, either a review commitment book or a book for one of my book clubs. I finally just put Sticks and Stones at the top of the pile and decided it was time to get it read! I knew I would love it and I totally did. 

I love the idea of a Wish Mistress. Desiree, a hippie from Woodstock is serving a fifty-year indenture as a Wish Mistress. She visits Mandy and grants her the only thing she wants, to be happy. 

‘My last truly happy time had been with an imaginary friend.’ ‘I want Lexi.’ ‘Lexi was everything I wasn’t.’

But as they say, be careful what you wish for because it may be more than you bargained for. What if Lexi isn't the same as she was all those years ago when she was Mandy's imaginary friend? And what if Lexi decides she doesn't want to leave? She is starting to enjoy being a teenager and living the fun life. She is pretty content to stick around, even if it spells trouble for Mandy.

‘Mandy’s life, for example, was going to get turned inside out before getting to where it needed to be.’

I loved this story and I fell in love with the characters, especially Desiree. The story goes back and forth between the present day, where Mandy is living her teenage life and struggling with her troubled past, to Desiree's past as we find out how and why she became a Wish Mistress. What did she do that was so terrible that she has to spend fifty years this way? 

I was immediately drawn into the storyline and hated to put the book down. Shawn does an amazing job in making Mandy and Desiree's teenage worlds believable, yet comfortable. The first line is "It had been twelve years since I'd broken a rule." That line hooked me. What happened twelve years ago? And what rule did this young girl break? Like I said, I was hooked from the very start. 

‘Sticks and stones might break bones, but bones heal. The pain from words would last forever.’

I can't wait to see what Shawn has created in the rest of this series. I already have the next book, Break My Bones lined up to read. And I saw that Shawn is working on book #5, Back Together Again, so I need to get busy and catch up so I am ready for the final book when it comes out.  

Thanks for the wonderful story, Shawn. I am so glad your beautiful covers caught my eye in Deadwood. I'm just sorry that I took me so long to discover your wonderful series.

About the author

Shawn McGuire is the author of young adult novels that blend contemporary settings and issues with a touch of fantasy and magic. She started writing after seeing the first Star Wars movie (that's episode IV) as a kid. She couldn't wait for the next movie to come out so wrote her own episodes. Sadly, those notebooks are long lost, but her desire to write is as strong now as it was then.

Her books deal with harder topics (dating violence, death of a sibling, divorce, substance abuse, runaways, etc.) because she believes it is important to talk about these things. Those kinds of topics can be hard to handle and a bit overwhelming, so she infuses a bit of humor in her work as well because she also believes that a sense of humor can help you get through just about anything.

Shawn lives in Colorado with her family where she loves to read, cook and bake, craft, decorate her house, and spend time hiking and camping in the spectacular Rocky Mountains.

Connect with Shawn

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