There are so few YA books about genies/djinn that I was excited to read this one. I know little more than the Arabian Nights and Disney versions of genies, so I wanted to see how Lindsay presented her version.
Margo McKenna loves acting and music and just knows she is going to get the lead female role in Sweeny Todd, her high school's play for the year. Despite a stellar audition the role goes to a sophomore, Vicki who cannot act or sing, but yet Margo seems to be the only one who notices this. Oliver, posing as a yearbook photographer, follows Vicki wherever she goes. After one completely miserable practice, Vicki flees to the girls bathroom and Margo follows. Vicki refuses to talk to Margo and leaves behind a ring and as Margo picks up the ring to take to Vicki, Oliver appears. Margo learns Oliver is a genie, who granted Vicki's wish to be more popular. Vicki decided she did not want her third wish and left the ring behind. Oliver wants Margo to make three wishes and tells her these will be his last three wishes ever and he needs her to wish quickly. He wants to leave behind a nice legacy with her wishes, which makes Margo hesitate about wishing. As Margo thinks about her wishes, she spends more time with Oliver and falls in love with him and possibly he with her, but a dangerous threat lurks in the wings. Someone is killing genies and Oliver is the next target.
I loved how Lindsay fleshed out Margo's character and showed not only her love of music, but her interesting home life. Margo seems to be living a divorced kid's dream; her parents have reunited and remarried and seem hopelessly in love with each other. Margo, however, misses her relationship with her mom that they had built up in the divorced years and despite loving both her parents, feels like she is no longer appreciated by them. One song she writes is I am not Hayley Mills, which is both funny and sad. Her joy in her acting and music make her really relatable. I thought Lindsay did a great job with her development of how modern genies are made and Xavier's targeting of genies seemed believable. The ending seemed a little rushed though and the consequences of actions were not fully developed. I felt sad about some of the great experiences that Margo may not get although I felt like that was how the book had to end. I won't give anymore away than that.
Favorite Character: Margo. I thought she was well-developed and I loved the complex nature of her family situation. She is strong and very talented with or without Oliver's wish granting. Her teenage voice seemed real and she seemed like a teen girl in her choices and actions.
Favorite Quote: "Nobody ever feels just one way about another person, Margo. We're so much more complicated than that. I can see a million things you want from me, just like the million things I want from you. ... But none of those things matter, not really. What matters is what you do about them."
I enjoyed Margo's character and the romance seemed believable. A sweet magical romance. I had mixed feelings about the ending, but overall I enjoyed the book. 3.5 cups of cocoa.