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The Compulsive Reader: Fun With Alexandra Bullen and WISH!

Friday, January 15, 2010

Fun With Alexandra Bullen and WISH!

Earlier this week I blogged about Alexandra Bullen's debut novel, Wish. She was kind enough to take the time out of her busy schedule and answer a couple of questions. Read about Wish below, or scroll down to see the interview!


Wish by Alexandra Bullen

There's nothing that Olivia wishes for more than for her vivacious twin sister Violet to be alive again. Olivia is quiet and hesitant, and she is having a hard time adjusting to her new school in San Francisco. When she takes her sister's damaged dress to a dusty seamstress's shop, she doesn't get Violet's dress back, but a gorgeous magical dress that grants wishes instead. Olivia uses her one wish to bring her sister's ghost back, and is overjoyed. As Violet helps Olivia fit in and attract her crush's attention, Olivia grows more confident every day. But Violet can't stay with her forever, and there are still two other dresses (and wishes) left...

Alexandra Bullen's debut, Wish, is an imaginative and layered read. Bullen really makes what might be a tired and overworked premise and turns it into something magical and entertaining. There are many points of conflict though, enough that the book never feels boring or slow, but they are perhaps just slightly overwhelming. Olivia is dealing not only with her sister's death, but her parents' withdrawal and constant arguments, moving to a new city and trying to fit in, all the while juggling three magical dresses, making friends with the popular group, falling for her new friend's ex-boyfriend, and keeping her friendship with her mom's co-worker's son platonic. It's a lot to take it, and occasionally Bullen drops the ball with one or two of the aforementioned issues, but everything comes together neatly in the very end.

It's sweet to watch Olivia's transformation as she learns to step away from her grief and the shadow that Violet left behind and function as her own person. Violet herself is very much alive throughout the course of the book, making Olivia's pain and grief more tangible to the reader. The other supporting characters are surprising but realistic, and make Wish a very entertaining read. Bullen’s descriptions of the San Francisco area are also excellent, and she really makes the reader feel right at home, in both Olivia’s home and neighborhood; the only thing that seemed unnecessary was the mention of large amounts of alcohol toward the end. The ending has a little bit of a surprising twist, but everything comes together neatly as friends make up and Olivia’s family moves toward closure. This is a very sweet, poignant, and entertaining novel, and despite how busy the plot is, readers looking for something touching with a bit of romance, humor, and magic will enjoy Wish.

Cover Comments: I love this cover! It's very pretty and simple, but yet it conveys the magical air of the novel very well. I just love how her dress is made up of stars, as they hold some significance within the story. The actual finished copy is also much prettier than the picture, with its glittery details. Very nice!

(Review copy received from Scholastic.)

Interview with Alexandra Bullen:


TCR: I love the concept of the magical dresses in Wish. Do you have a favorite dress or dresses? 
Alexandra Bullen: I recently got a new dress for the WISH launch party that I absolutely adore—it’s black and slippery and really versatile, which I think is my number one favorite quality in a dress. That, and comfortable—if a dress is distracting in any way, I won’t wear it. 
Throughout the course of writing Wish, did you think about what you would wish for if you had three wishes? 
Of course! But like Olivia, I’ve always imagined I’d be fairly stingy with my wishes, just in case something really wish-worthy ever came up.
Wish is so layered; where did the idea for it originate from? 
Ideas usually come to me in the form of characters. In this case, it was two—Olivia and Violet. I always knew that Violet would be the more outgoing, vivacious twin, and one of the things about her death that struck me was how Olivia would handle every day decisions—like what to wear, for example—without the guidance of her shopping guru. I think that was always at the heart of the magical dresses in the book.
It's obvious from reading the book that you are familiar with the San Francisco area. If someone only had time to visit one place there, where would you direct them? 
Torture! Just one? If somebody had only an afternoon to explore the city, I’d send her to Golden Gate Park, which is definitely cheating because there’s so much to do there! The Academy of Sciences, the Conservatory of Flowers, the de Young Museum of Art…not to mention the park itself, which is just stunning. Plus—she could start or end her day at the Haight, with tons of restaurants and great shops for souvenirs.
What are some of your writing essentials? 
Notebooks for doodling, coffee in the morning, white tea in the afternoon, and a deadline! (Even if it’s “Return Library books by 3 pm.” There has to be an end in sight, or I’ll never get started.)
What are you working on now? 
The sequel to WISH! Three more magical dresses for a totally new (but equally deserving) girl.
Is there anything I didn't ask that you wish I had?

Nope! Really fun questions, and thanks so much for having me!




Thanks, Alexandra!


Also, here are some fun Wish-related links!




Follow Alexandra Bullen:



Guest blog by WISH editor Aimee Friedman:
http://onourmindsatscholastic.blogspot.com/2010/01/whats-your-wish.html

Alexandra’s next stop will be January 16, when she’ll be doing an interview at http://bookluver-carol.blogspot.com/.


Check out these videos:

Book Trailer:



Author Video:



Giveaway!

Thanks to the generosity of Scholastic, I'll be giving away one copy of Wish to a lucky winner! All you have to do is comment below and tell me what you would wish for if you had a wish. It can be silly or serious! Then, I'll pick a winner on January 29th! Good luck!


35 comments:

Sherry @ Flipping Pages for All Ages said...

Awesome interview!

If I had one wish, I would wish for the happiness and good health for my family and loved ones. While I want many things, I have what I need, and family is most important so that is what I would wish for.

Thanks a lot!
Sherry
ssalach88(at)gmail(dot)com

Chutzpah said...

This story sounds so bittersweet, I can't decide if I could handle it.
Great post, a lot of info.

Margay said...

My wish is for the people of Haiti to be able to rebuild and recover after their devastating loss.
Margay
Margay1122(at)aol(dot)com

Jessy said...

If I had one wish it would be for my dog to live as long as me.

Thanks for the interview!

findjessyhere at gmail dot com

Melanie said...

Oh goodness, I'm so indecisive! Perhaps I would wish for patience, which is a virtue I never seem to grasp.

melanie (at) melaniesmusings (dot) net

YA Vampire Books said...

Interesting interview. This book sounds really good, and the cover is beautiful!

My wish would be to travel around the world! Enter me if this contest is international!

Sara
sosarora_11(at)hotmail(dot)com

Yan said...

To get into a good college LOL

yan.pocky(at)gmail.com

hcmurdoch said...

I learned about your blog from QT Bookworm and now am a follower/subscriber

Bookalicious Ramblings said...

I looooved this book too!
And OMG, Ms Bullen is working on a SEQUEL?!?!?! Soooo exciting! I need more info (or y'know, a copy of the manuscript) NOW, lol. Can't wait to see the cover for the sequel too - but surely it can't top this one? :)

Dani. said...

If I could have one wish it would to have an unlimited amount of (YA) books for my bookshelves! :]

-Dani
lightningstreak123[at]comcast[dot]net

Jessica said...

I would wish for more wishes, obvs! :-)

jessrlove at hotmail

tetewa said...

To find a job, I've been on unemployment for a year! tWarner419@aol.com

Erica said...

Well first I'd wish for MORE wishes. Then after that I'd wish for an unlimited supply of books and I'm not sure what else.

:) Erica
thebookcellar(at)wi.rr.com

Miss Remmers said...

I'd wish for a copy of "Wish!" I really want to read this!

missremmers(at)gmail(dot)com

Laura "Rory" Wood said...

i would wish for more wishes for my family nad friends. everyone deserves a wish or two =]

littlewood10@aol.com

Laura

amandalicious said...

if i had one wish, i would wish for a lifetime supply of apples... seriously, i LOVE apples... especially pink lady apples.. mmmm

thanks!!!
angel4rmheaven32(at)gmail(dot)com

Erin said...

I would wish to be able to travel all over the world... I can't pick just one place because there are way to many so my wish would be everywhere... :]

~Erin D.
erin(.)dubrock(@)comcast(.)net

~*Ruby*~ said...

If I had a wish.. I'd wish to be immortal.

But since that's impossible, I wish I could get the role that I wanted in work!

Many thanks for hosting this giveaway!

rubs.escalona [at] gmail.com

Kristen said...

One wish right now... for my husband to find a job.

Or... a million dollars.. lol

dragonzgoil at gmail dot com

TruBlu93 said...

I would wish for a trip to Greece. I just loved it from Mama Mia and the Sisterhood of the Traveling Pants.
=)

~The Book Pixie said...

Loved the trailer and great interview. I'm glad you enjoyed Wish. :D

I would wish for, and this is going to sound depressing, happiness. I feel I'm merely content with my life, not really happy so that is what I'd wish for.

~Briana
thebookpixie[at]yahoo[dot]com

throuthehaze said...

I would wish that all my bills were paid off :)

Raelena
throuthehaze at gmail dot com

Meg said...

I would wish for a photographic memory. that would make school and everything else for that matter so much easier!!! A lot more useful than being able to fly. but not as fun I admit...

meghanriegel AT yahoo DOT com

Precious said...

If I had one wish, I'd wish for all the publishing companies to send me a copy of all their YA books. :D

precious_shusky@yahoo.com

Enter me if this is international!

Cassandra said...

I would wish for a million wishes. If it's allowed.

schcassandra@gmail.com

Rivka said...

One wish? Hmm ... To meet Gilbert Blythe!!! :o)
That, or the ability to fly.
Either one would be pretty sweet.

quarterback.girl[at]gmail[dot]com

Lenore said...

I thought I already entered!

I would wish for the power to teleport myself anywhere I wished to go. That would be very useful and save a lot on transportation costs (and time!)

lenoreva at hotmail dot com

Christina/Book Addict said...

Serious wish: My family's good health

Fun wish: Being able to consume food without gaining weight! :)

DeNiSe MaDnEsS said...

GREAT REVIEW I DON'T KNOW WHAT I WOULD DO IF SOMEBODY CLOSED TO ME EVER DYE I LOVED ALL THE VIDEO BUT MOST OF ALL THE ONE WHERE THE AUTHOR IS INTERVIEWED I WISH THEY WERE MORE OF THOSE

IF I COULD WISH FOR ANYTHING I THINK IT WOULD BE TO TRAVEL TO SPACE I WOULD LOVE TO SEE THE MOON AND MARS AND OTHER PLANETS SEE START AND EARTH AS ONE BIG PLANET WITH OUT BEING DIVIDED AS A WHOLE AND THE BEAUTY OF EARTH

THANKS FOR THE CONTEST

DENISE MADNESS

denisemadness(at)yahoo(dot)com

I was on a roll and didn't want to take off caps lock sorry

Jenita said...

I'd wish for the courage and fortitude to stay true in the face of danger and almost certain death. :P

Also, 'tsounds like a great book -- which surprised me, considering the premise.

girl.with.a.notebook(at)gmail(dot)com

Cari said...

They say that 90% of people making New Year's resolutions end up breaking them. My wish would be that for at least one year, everyone would be able to keep their (positive) New Year's resolutions. Successful change can only lead to more successful change! :)

Cari
neohippy10@hotmail.com

celi.a said...

Wish: perfect security. I'm allowed to wish for something like that because it would never happen, right? Right. Thanks for the chance to win this one!

celialarsen(at)gmail(dot)com

Denae said...

If I could wish for one thing, it would be that I would always have time to read seeing as I'm always busy.

Terchil said...

My one wish is that there would be a cure for cancer.

Thanks,
tradingaddress at gmail dot com

Viagra Online said...

I'm a compulsive reader I always feel frenetic when I go to the book store and I want to buy every single book that I saw it's frustrating to me.