Title: The Wish List
Author: Jane Costello
Publication date: 11 April 2013
Publisher: Simon & Schuster
Length: 481 pages
Genre: Chick lit
Age group: Adult
Add it: Goodreads
Buy it: Amazon UK | Amazon US | The Book Depository
There are six months left of Emma Reiss’s twenties. . . and she has some unfinished business.
Her career is all wrong, her love life is a desert and that penthouse apartment she pictured herself in simply never materialised. Moreover, she’s never jumped out of a plane, hasn’t met the man she’s going to marry, has never slept under the stars, or snogged anyone famous – just some of the aspirations on a list she and her friends compiled fifteen years ago.
So, as Emma hurtles towards her thirtieth birthday, she sets about addressing these issues. But, as she discovers with hilarious consequences, some of them are trickier to achieve than she’d thought…
The first thing that came to my mind when I read the first few chapters is why on earth have I not read any of Jane Costello’s books before? After several cringe-worthily predictable and dull chick lit books I read in the past few months, I was starting to wonder whether I’d ever find one which is genuinely entertaining and impossible to put down. Well, considering the fact that it’s been four days since I finished reading the book and some of the jokes (Mr Matt Itchypants Taylor, to name my favourite one) still make me laugh, and the fact that it was so gripping that I just had to stay up until half past one in the morning two nights in a row, I guess we can say The Wish List ticks both these boxes.
Possibly the main reasons why I loved this book so much is the main character’s personality. I just loved Emma. If I had to describe her, I would say she’s a bit like Bridget Jones or Becky Bloomwood from Sophie Kinsella’s Shopaholic series, two characters I absolutely adore, by the way. She’s just as clumsy as Bridget and just as sarcastic and funny as Becky, the combination of which makes for a brilliant and entertaining story. Another thing that makes it as good as it is is the fact that Emma’s friends are so relatable and well-written. They’re not shallow or two-dimensional at all. Quite the opposite, in fact. It’s not just about Emma either. They all have their own little sub-plots within the story and you actually do feel for them and want them to succeed and be happy. Or at least that’s how I felt, especially about Asha.
And if being hilarious and making me laugh out loud God knows how many times throughout the story wasn’t enough, I should also add what both Hannah and myself found great about the book: short chapters. Oh, how I love them. I’m quite a slow reader so long chapters always make me feel as if I’m not making any progress. Short ones, however, result in me not being able to put the book down and staying up until the crack of dawn with a stupid grin on my face, congratulating myself for reading so much. Big thumbs up for short chapters!
The only problem with books of this genre, however, is originality. Unless you’re the chick lit queen Sophie Kinsella, it’s pretty much a case of if you’ve read one, you’ve read them all. They all seem to work with the exact same clichés and make their heroines face the same problems and make almost the same decisions in their lives: ex boyfriend vs. new (and handsome) guy, old and boring job vs dream job, etc. And as much as I’d love to say that The Wish List is not like this but is something totally unique and ground-breaking and is not at all predictable, it wouldn’t be true. There are several parts where it’s perfectly obvious what the author is leading up to (hint: the case of the Northern Lights trip, the game in Matt’s garden) and what would happen a few chapters later in the story – but do you know what? In this case, I didn’t even care. Not as much as to put me off and stop enjoying the book, at least. The difference between the books I just described and this one is that when something is so well-written and so laugh-out-loud funny as The Wish List, you just don’t seem to care whether you know what’s coming or not. Emma is such a hilarious and entertaining character and her friends are so real and relatable that it would have been difficult not to be gripped by their story.
I really, really enjoyed this story and it definitely goes on my ‘favourite chick lits’ list. I’m a bit gutted that it’s a standalone book and we have to say goodbye to Emma and all her friends but I hope the author’s next books will be just as addictive and entertaining as The Wish List was. It’s absolutely hilarious so do give it a try if you can and if you’re in need of a pick-me-up.
“Opening my eyes has never been so excruciating. I can manage but a tiny slit, one that involves a degree of movement as painful as it is infinitesimal. Don’t let me give you the impression it’s only my optic system that’s troubling me, though. I’ve been awake but immobile for several minutes wondering what hideous torture device has been used to peel the lining from my guts. I’m cheek down on a pillow, contemplating why my tongue feels three times its usual size and is holding what can be no more than a quarter of its normal water content.”
Many thanks to Simon & Schuster for sending me a copy of this book