Title – Wish
Author – Grier Cooper
Publication Date – December 2, 2014
Series – Indigo Dreams, #1
For Indigo Stevens, ballet classes at Miss Roberta’s ballet studio offer the stability and structure that are missing from her crazy home life. At almost 16, she hopes this is the year she will be accepted into the New York School of Ballet. First she must prove she’s ready, and that means ignoring Jesse Sanders – the cute boy with dimples who is definitely at the top of Miss Roberta’s List of Forbidden Things for Dancers.
But Jesse is the least of Indigo’s concerns. When she discovers her mom is an alcoholic, it simultaneously explains everything and heaps more worry on Indigo’s shoulders. As her mom’s behavior becomes increasingly erratic, Indigo fights to maintain balance, protect her younger brothers from abuse, and keep her mother from going over the edge. When the violence at home escalates, Indigo realizes she can no longer dance around the issue. At the risk of losing everything, she must take matters into her own hands before it’s too late.
I have been in the mood for ballerina books lately so the cover of Wish by Grier Cooper really pulled me in and made me want to read it. What I ended up finding was a hidden, priceless gem. Wish is a book that so perfectly bridges the gap between young adult and new adult, truly reminding readers what the definition of these genres entails.
“I give myself to the music. My lings sing feelings into shapes. My heart pumps a rhythm; I live for this. I love it. Live. Love. I feel so powerful, I must be trailing a shower of sparks behind me.”
I think I appreciated Indigo so much because I could really resonate with her as a character, especially as the daughter of an alcoholic mother. Indigo is being forced to grow up through the circumstances her family has created, which makes that transition to young adult even more difficult. I found myself crying for her multiple times because I had been in her shoes and knew what she was feeling. We all have to find an escape and hope that we’re doing the right thing, but we never really know, especially at that age. The relationship she had with her siblings was also special; it shows how one traumatic experience can help strengthen that bond. There was just something about the whole scenario that really hit me hard and caused me a lot of emotional feels. As hard as it may have been to swallow at times though, it was those conflicts that really should define the genre and Cooper did this with such finesse.
“But right now there aren’t any answers. There is only waiting and wishing.”
With the mention of Jesse in the synopsis, I thought that I was going to be getting romance and first love mixed with the exploration and growth. However, I was happy that the love aspect was very minimal. This was Indigo’s story. She had to learn to deal with her life and grow and learn in general. The story made so much more sense without it, and I am happy to say that it wasn’t what I expected. Further, I appreciated that Indigo recognized her age and the larger picture. Her life didn’t begin to revolve around a boy, and she certainly wasn’t going to throw away her years of hard work for one.
“I realize that even in the darkest moments, light is still there. You just have to look for it. Even though I don’t know what the future will look like, at least it will be different from now on.”
I really enjoyed Wish for what it was; there wasn’t a lot of extraneous drama or rollercoaster rides of angst. It’s a simple, straight forward tale of a girl who is struggling to keep her family afloat. It truly is Indigo’s journey of navigating the waters so she can stand on her own two feet, but figuring out that asking for help isn’t always detrimental. I’m so glad that I stumbled across this book and gave it a chance, and I’m incredibly excited to see where the rest of the series goes. Wish is a quintessential Young Adult novel, but in the sense that Indigo is getting ready to enter the world on her own, it lays on that line of New Adult. It is heartbreaking and emotional, but will absolutely leave you with a feeling of strength and the power of perseverance.
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Grier began ballet lessons at age five and left home at fourteen to study at the School of American Ballet in New York. She has performed on three out of seven continents with companies such as San Francisco Ballet, Miami City Ballet, and Pacific Northwest Ballet, totaling more than thirty years of experience as a dancer, teacher and performer.
Her work has been praised as “poignant and honest” with “emotional hooks that penetrate deeply.” She writes and blogs about dance in the San Francisco Bay Area and has interviewed and photographed a diverse collection dancers and performers including Clive Owen, Nicole Kidman, Glen Allen Sims and Jessica Sutta. She is the author of Build a Ballerina Body and The Daily Book of Photography.