I read the synopsis for this book, and thought it was going to be another awesome YA contemporary from HarperTeen, but after I had read a quarter of the way through the book, I realized how wrong I was. This is definitely a contemporary, but it is so much more than that. There’s also some fantasy mixed in (and a whole lot of weirdness) that makes it a one-of-a-kind fun book to read. It was so awesome, I finished it in one sitting. It also has the most beautiful cover – the kind that’s so pretty that you just can’t stop staring at. But if you think that cover is pretty, the story is an absolute treat that you’ll devour quickly and then wish for more!
Lennie lives with her uncles (and her mother, but she isn’t herself anymore – locked away in her room and barely registering when someone speaks to her), who have pretty much raised her since she was younger. They run a little moonshine business out of their house, and while Lennie always wonders how everyone knows about the business, but the police seem to look the other way, she doesn’t spend too much time questioning it – after all, the bills get paid and they always have the things they need. She always watched the little ritual that her uncles would have with the people buying the moonshine – they had to have a drink with them before they left the house, and the uncles would always tell them to make a wish.
One night, Lennie pretty much drugs her uncles (and the way she does so is absolutely hilarious) and takes a few jars of moonshine to a party that she was attending to honor her best friend, Dylan, who was abducted and murdered recently. Dylan always told Lennie that she was too afraid to have fun, and so she decided to go and crash the party, and bring a little bit of fun along with her. So as she serves up the moonshine and tells all the guests to make their wishes, she has no idea what’s about to happen – until all hell breaks loose the next day.
She wakes up the next day to a visitor, and not someone who is all too pleased to see Lennie. See, at the party, a boy asked for “balls of steel” – and his wish came true. As Lennie tries to get over the fact that this really isn’t a joke…she learns that all the people who made wishes at the party the night before actually had their wishes granted. Lennie didn’t really know what her uncles did for a living, or about the special powers they possessed.
When Lennie goes back to the house that had the party, she is beyond baffled to see the chaos that is around her – everyone who made a wish had that wish come true – and some not as exact as they had asked. The drunker Lennie got, the more she began to rephrase some wishes, and the consequences from these actions are evident in the house that surrounds her.
The most interesting a wish? A wish that Lennie made to bring back Dylan from the dead.
As Lennie tries to find a way to solve the chaos that she mistakenly created, she discovers some things about her family, her friends, and herself that she might just become a better person for figuring out.
Down with the Shine is one of those books that I didn’t expect to love, but I did. I think I might have enjoyed it so much because of how absolutely bizarre it was. I mean, I didn’t see some of these things coming – some of the wishes that the people made are hilarious and just flat out strange – it’s something you’ll have to read about to find out, because it would spoil the book’s humor if I mentioned it.
I laughed a lot with this book, and I absolutely loved the characters – especially Lennie. She’s funny, she’s awkward, and she’s always getting herself into some kind of mess. She isn’t popular at school or in love with 5 different guys like a lot of other main characters in YA books. She’s just Lennie. She’s easy to relate to, amusing, and a downright perfect character for this book. I haven’t read any of Kate Karyus Quinn’s other books, but if they’re written with the same touch as this one, I know I’ll enjoy those, too.
If you like books that are flat out fun, enjoyable reads, I really have to recommend this one! You won’t be disappointed, and you’ll walk away remembering to be careful what you wish for!