Author: Kate Karyus Quinn
Genre: Young Adult, Magical Realism
Source: HarperTeen via Edelweiss
Make a wish…Review by Nara
Lennie always thought her uncles’ “important family legacy” was good old-fashioned bootlegging. Then she takes some of her uncles’ moonshine to Michaela Gordon’s annual house party, and finds out just how wrong she was.
At the party, Lennie has everyone make a wish before drinking the shine—it’s tradition. She toasts to wishes for bat wings, for balls of steel, for the party to go on forever. Lennie even makes a wish of her own: to bring back her best friend, Dylan, who was murdered six months ago.
The next morning gives Lennie a whole new understanding of the phrase be careful what you wish for—or in her case, be careful what wishes you grant. Because all those wishes Lennie raised a jar of shine to last night? They came true. Most of them came out bad. And once granted, a wish can’t be unmade…
This was such an odd book.
I feel like I'm always saying this with Kate Karyus Quinn's books. They're just very strange (in a good way, but strange nonetheless).
Down With the Shine is surprisingly light compared to what I thought I'd get. Karyus Quinn's books that I've read in the past are quite creepy and atmospheric. Instead in this book we get people who wished for a "Cheetos" touch (everything they touch turns to Cheetos) and literal balls of steel (yeah, it's exactly what you think). It was a bit weird having these comedic wishes juxtaposed with wishes like bringing back dead best friends and making people fall in love, but it did end up working quite well, with the book being quite fast paced and plot driven.
I have to say, the romance in the novel seemed not quite right in the context of the novel. The love interest is Smith, Lennie's best friend's brother, and it felt like it was sort of forced on us with a load of random back story that didn't flow on well onto the main plotline. The progression of the romance itself was just very stilted as well, and I couldn't really understand why certain scenes were included (I'm sure you'll know which ones I mean when you're reading the novel).
Overall the book was quite a light read that highlights that old saying of "be careful what you wish for". It's a quick read that I would recommend to people looking for a quirky magical realism novel.