Review: Down with the Shine by Kate Karyus Quinn

down with the shine -kate karyus quinnThere’s a reason they say “be careful what you wish for.” Just ask the girl who wished to be thinner and ended up smaller than Thumbelina, or the boy who asked for “balls of steel” and got them-literally. And never wish for your party to go on forever. Not unless you want your guests to be struck down by debilitating pain if they try to leave.

These are things Lennie only learns when it’s too late-after she brings some of her uncles’ moonshine to a party and toasts to dozens of wishes, including a big wish of her own: to bring back her best friend, Dylan, who was abducted and murdered six months ago.

Lennie didn’t mean to cause so much chaos. She always thought her uncles’ moonshine toast was just a tradition. And when they talked about carrying on their “important family legacy,” she thought they meant good old-fashioned bootlegging.

As it turns out, they meant granting wishes. And Lennie has just granted more in one night than her uncles would grant in a year.

Now she has to find a way to undo the damage. But once granted, a wish can’t be unmade…


3.5 Drink Me Potions

Thank you Edelweiss and HarperCollins for this copy in exchange for an honest review.

**Down with the Shine comes out April 26, 2016**

This story had its dark moments but it never quite felt that way due to the whimsical manner in which it was written.

Or it could just be because wish-granting made it seem less serious since (hopefully!) you could wish the terrible things undone.

Down with the Shine was immediately not what I had originally expected. Lennie was named after her infamous father, a known robber and killer on the FBI’s Top Ten Watch list or something. This made her very unpopular among her peers, and hence, the understandably low self-esteem and “play it safe” look on life.

Oh, and also? Her best friend was murdered and chopped into individual pieces.

But besides these few things that would’ve made the book a little dark and potentially a crime mystery, the wish-granting chaos that Lennie finds herself in lightened the mood drastically. From a boy with bat wings to a teenager-transformed-into-wise-old-man to a girl who could fit in your pocket, it was hilarious how the wording of these wishes literally took a life of its own.

In the midst of all this, Lennie is stuck, literally, with her long-time crush Smith. Who also happens to be the twin brother of her said bestie who was murdered.

I think the highlight of the story really centred on Smith and Lennie’s banter as they deal with the mess the wishes have brought on. It was no surprise Smith didn’t hold the highest regard for Lennie, what with the dead sister and everything. However, it could also be surmised that he could have returned some fond feelings . Do guys just randomly kiss a girl passionately in a bathroom to prove some unknown point?

There were also Lennie’s 3 uncles who made the story lighter. You come home to tell them that crap’s gone down at the party and what do they do? They get totally wasted on their own moonshine before moseying over (after some nudging by Lennie) to figure out what they could do to help.

Things wrap up in a nice and not-so-surprising manner. The ending made sense, but it is also what prevented me from rating this higher. There were certain things that felt way too open.

1) The whole ordeal with Lennie’s criminal father wasn’t exactly resolved by the way the ending was written. Like, he could totally still come after her again if he should so wish it.

2) Smith’s feelings for Lennie were hugely unknown. At different times, I swear he may be harbouring secret feelings for her too, but it’s never explicitly mentioned that he felt this way at all. Maybe he just liked kissing her. To have Lennie later comment that she felt she knew Smith very deeply, to the soul, seemed a little over the top considering he never really shared out loud what was going on in that head of his.

3) Uh, there was this very awkward and strange moment with Smith and his mother. I won’t elaborate…but man, the reason for it never gets explained. And I was dying to hear why the heck it happened.

All in all, it was a fun novel, albeit a little dark at times although Quinn made it seem less intense. Lennie changed over the course of the story, learning that living it “safe” wasn’t necessarily the best way, but that there also needs to be a balance so that she doesn’t end up acting recklessly. With memorable chaotic wishes, Down with the Shine was easily gobbled up in a few sittings.

Overall Recommendation:
Down with the Shine was equally light and dark at the same time. From the crazy (and mostly hilarious) wishes gone wrong to the wonderfully eccentric cast of characters, it made the darker aspect surrounding Lennie’s criminal father less intense but still highlighting its importance in the story. Lennie and her crush, Smith, commence on a hectic few days as they try to resolve everyone’s problems before they get worse. Their not-always-friendly banter was underlaid by an attraction between the two of them, making the story fly by quickly. Overall, it was fun and enjoyable, albeit having a few minor things that seemed too open-ended for me.

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