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Literature / Wishful Thinking

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Wish and its companion novel Wishful Thinking by Alexandra Bullen share a pattern: An unhappy teenage girl brings her torn dress to a seamstress shop, but instead of getting it mended, she receives three magical dresses, each of which grants her one wish. Her problems are solved, but not before a certain amount of romance, drama and other complications.

In the first novel, Wish, Olivia Larsen is in mourning for her dead twin sister, Violet. With her first wish, Olivia inadvertently calls up Violet's ghost, who helps her adjust to her new school and appreciate life again.

In Wishful Thinking, orphaned Hazel Snow travels back in time to meet her birth parents and persuade them not to give her up for adoption, but is it possible to change history?

Tropes present in this work:

  • Be Careful What You Wish For: Needless to say.
    • Olivia wishes for Soren to fall in love with her, regardless of the fact that he's with Calla. They break up the very next day, leaving Calla miserable and Olivia very guilty. Turns out the dress was fake - Posey's revenge for telling Calla about the existence of the shop - and Soren really loved Olivia all along.
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    • Hazel intends to wish for her parents to get married and stay on the island, in spite of their being teenagers with career plans in separate countries.
  • Benevolent Boss: Rosanna and her husband to the workers at their farm, including Hazel, Jaime and Luke.
  • Betty and Veronica: Olivia is Betty, Calla is Veronica.
  • Black and Nerdy: Miles is biracial and nerdy.
  • Butterfly of Death and Rebirth: The magic manifests as sparkling butterflies embroidered on the dresses, which fly away when the wish is spoken out loud.
  • Cannot Spit It Out: Olivia has a lot of trouble confessing to Calla that she's dating her ex. Hazel does not respond to Luke's declaration of love until a day after.
  • Costume Porn: Not just the magical dresses, but everybody's outfits are described in loving detail.
  • Deadpan Snarker: Hazel and Jaime, which does not endear them to each other at first. Also Posey.
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  • Family Relationship Switcheroo: Hazel tracks down the woman whose name is on her birth certificate, Rosanna Scott, and is thrilled to discover they have visual art in common. She's less than thrilled when her mother turns out to be a snarky teenager named Jaime.
  • Friend Versus Lover: Olivia is conflicted between her friend Calla, whom she deeply admires, and her boyfriend Soren, Calla's recent ex.
  • Genre Savvy: Posey's rules. No wishing for world peace, no wishing for more wishes, and no wishing the same wish twice.
  • Has Two Mommies: Miles and Bowie are stepsiblings due to the marriage of their mothers.
  • Hippie Parents: Olivia is somewhat bewildered by all the creative, unconventional jobs her new classmates' parents in San Francisco have.
  • Ill Girl: Rosanna has cancer. At the beginning of Wishful Thinking, Hazel crashes what she thinks is her mother's art show, only to realize it's her funeral instead and make the wish. In 1990, Rosanna's cancer is already there, but not yet noticeable.
  • Invisible to Normals: Violet is invisible and intangible to everyone except Olivia. Including their parents, which makes for some heartbreaking moments when she sits at the table with them unable to communicate.
  • Just Friends: Olivia and Miles agree to this once he gets over his crush on her.
  • Kid from the Future: Hazel to Jaime and Reid.
  • Kissing Cousins: Hazel is appalled to discover that the very attractive Luke is Rosanna's nephew and therefore her cousin. She's wrong.
  • May–December Romance: Hazel and Luke, sort of. As a time traveler she's as old as he is, but in real time he would be old enough to be her father, which she finds unsettling.
  • Maybe Ever After: At the end of Wishful Thinking, Hazel returns to 2011 and accepts Jasper's invitation to go on a date.
  • Meet Cute: Hazel and Luke meet when she finds herself walletless in 1990 and he buys her an ice cream cone.
  • Mr. Fixit: Olivia's father Mac is a contractor, absorbed in rebuilding their crumbling old house.
  • Only Known by Their Nickname: Posey's real name is Mariposa, the Spanish word for butterfly.
  • Orphan's Ordeal: Hazel is raised by an indifferent, alcoholic foster-father.
  • Parental Substitute: Rosanna to Jaime. Jaime uses her name as an alias at the clinic, which is why her name ends up on Hazel's birth certificate.
  • Platonic Life-Partners: Jaime and Luke, since they were toddlers.
  • Rule of Three: Three dresses, three wishes.
  • Sadist Teacher: Mr. Whitley, known to his students as "Shitley" and "Little Napoleon". Olivia first wins Calla's respect by answering his sneering remarks with a clever, articulate summary of the book they were discussing.
  • Savvy Guy, Energetic Girl: Inverted. Olivia is the quiet intellectual, Soren the energetic one.
  • Sibling Yin-Yang: Flamboyant Violet and shy Olivia. Miles and Bowie are a non-related version.
  • Spicy Latina: Sort of - Posey is spirited, but not exactly sexy, being described as skinny like an old woman.
  • Stable Time Loop: By the end, Jaime names her daughter after her friend Hazel, without knowing they're the same person.
  • Technology Marches On: In a very minor example, Hazel sees someone using a Walkman.
  • Token Minority: Jaime (and therefore Hazel) is part Native American.
  • Two-Timer Date: Olivia spends a weekend at the beach with Calla and her friends, forgetting she's already agreed to work on a school project with Miles.
  • What the Hell, Hero?: Miles - see Two-Timer Date above.
  • Workaholic: Olivia's mother, to avoid thinking about Violet's death.
  • You Can't Fight Fate: Hazel realizes that pushing her very young parents to stay together would be selfish. Seeing Jaime's genuine sorrow and regret, she forgives her and goes back to her own time.