Book Title:
Down with the Shine
Book Author:
Kate Karyus Quinn
Publishing Date:
April 26th, 2016
Date Read:
April 18th, 2016
eARC from publisher via Edelweiss


There'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...

My Review

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!

4.5 stars
This entry was posted in Contemporary, Fantasy, Magical Realism, Reviews, Young Adult and tagged , , . Bookmark the permalink.

4 Responses to Down with the Shine by Kate Karyus Quinn

  1. Deanna says:

    What a great review! You have me wanting to read this one. I’m not really a fantasy fan, but the bizarre nature of the story makes me want to. It just sounds like a lot of fun.

  2. I’ve read Kate’s (Don’t You Forget About Me and Another Little Piece and loved them both, so I am definitely going to give this a try. Her stories are always so strange yet beautifully written, and this sounds like no exception. Thanks for sharing and, as always, fabulous review! ♥
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