For Vân Uoc, fantasies fall into two categories: nourishing or pointless. Daydreaming about attending her own art opening? Nourishing. Daydreaming about Billy Gardiner, star of the rowing team who doesn’t even know she’s alive? Pointless.
So Vân Uoc tries to stick to her reality–keeping a low profile as a scholarship student at her prestigious Melbourne private school, managing her mother’s PTSD from a traumatic emigration from Vietnam, and admiring Billy from afar. Until she makes a wish that inexplicably–possibly magically–comes true. Billy actually notices her. In fact, he seems to genuinely like her. But as they try to fit each other into their very different lives, Vân Uoc can’t help but wonder why Billy has suddenly fallen for her. Is it the magic of first love, or is it magic from a well-timed wish that will eventually, inevitably, come to an end?
CLOUDWISH arrived on my door step without be ever having heard of it before. And I read it because it was the one being published earliest out of the three novels that I received. It wasn’t because I though it sounded the best, or I liked the cover the best, or because this was the one that I though would top both of the other books. However, after having finished it, I’m not incredibly certain that the other two books that I received are going to be able to live up to the cuteness, and the importance, of the story that is CLOUDWISH.
Van Uoc is practical beyond belief, but when one simple wish made in English class turns into something she never believed possible, she’s forced to confront the possibility of magic. As well as think about the possibility of Billy, the boy of her dreams, liking her without magic. Juggling the IB program, with I am a graduate of, her floating friendships, her parents’ expectations and her mother’s PTSD is difficult enough. Trekking through real life and fantasy?
Well, darlings, that’s another monster in itself. And this girl spends her days trying to navigate it all.
Gonna be real honest here and just come out and say it: pretty sure one of the reasons I like this book so much is because of the fact that I wasn’t expecting to like it all that much. AND, Y’ALL. THAT ASSUMPTION HAD NO PARTICULAR REASONING, AND OBVS, IT DIDN’T ACTUALLY CORRELATE WITH MY VERY REAL EMOTIONAL STATE.
I mean I literally opened and read the first chapter and fell in love with Van Uoc. She’s so easy to relate to (practical and wary, yet a TOTAL romantic) and her interaction with other characters made her so likeable. She questions the world around her because that’s what she has learned, and she’s navigating through a world her immigrant parents can’t understand, but is the only one she’s ever known.
We have her, her fabulous posse of fiends, and then we also have Billy. Now I’m going to mince my words here and say that Billy, while, yes, apparently attractive, has super sketchy picks for friends and is, more often than not, kind of a nasty human being. Van Uoc is also very practical (my girl) in this measure because she’s all like ugh stupid emotions, I know logically that I shouldn’t like you because I mean pranks, and uppity uppity, and friend choice, and ignorance, and general disregard to other people’s emotions. But she’s also like he was super sweet that one time and What Would Jane Do.
I definitely never saw him through whatever candy-rimmed glasses she wore, but I can see that he has the potential to be a decent human. Maybe. Y’all are going to have to decide that for yourself, I suppose, when you read this book.
Is it or is it not magic? Will she follow her dreams or fulfill her parent’s hopes for a doctor daughter? Will she ever summon Jane Eyre into her vocal chords and speak up for herself? WILL SHE EVER KNOW IF THE WISH CAUSED THE BOY TO START ACTING FUNNY?
And, most importantly, will she ever know her family’s history? And will her mom be okay?
All of these questions, dear reader, are for you to read about in CLOUDWISH.