Jennifer Sharpe is a divorced mother of two with a problem just about any working parent can relate to: her boss expects her to work as though she doesn’t have children, and her children want her to care for them as though she doesn’t have a boss. But when, through a fateful coincidence, a brilliant physicist comes into possession of Jennifer’s phone and decides to play fairy godmother, installing a miraculous time-travel app called "Wishful Thinking," Jennifer suddenly finds herself in possession of what seems like the answer to the impossible dream of having it all: an app that lets her be in more than one place at the same time. With the app, Jennifer goes quickly from zero to hero in every part of her life: she is super-worker, the last to leave her office every night; she is super-mom, the first to arrive at pickup every afternoon; and she even becomes super-girlfriend, dating a musician who thinks she has unlimited childcare and a flexible job.
But Jennifer soon finds herself facing questions that adding more hours to her day can’t answer. Why does she feel busier and more harried than ever? Is she aging faster than everyone around her? How can she be a good worker, mother, and partner when she can’t be honest with anybody in her life? And most important, when choosing to be with your children, at work, or with your partner doesn’t involve sacrifice, do those choices lose their meaning? (Synopsis courtesy of Amazon.)
When I finished Wishful Thinking a few weeks ago, I immediately e-mailed Kamy Wicoff to see if she'd be at Book Expo America on the day that I was attending. I just had to meet the person responsible for this delightful story. Not only did Kamy fit some time into her schedule to meet me (although I have to wonder if she used a certain app...), but she was also very friendly and gracious!
Wishful Thinking is a clever and entertaining debut novel. Even with being married, I could still relate to Jennifer's struggles to keep everything in her life going smoothly. Realistically, it's impossible for working parents to be in two places at once. Finding childcare can be so stressful, especially when it falls through at the last minute. There's also the extra-curricular stuff that I can't even get my kids involved in because of the timing with my work schedule. And let's not forget getting time off for all the appointments and other things that only happen during the nine-to-five workday. Wouldn't we all be happier with an app like "Wishful Thinking," whether we're parents or not? I can think of many, many times it would have come in handy!
I loved that the story wasn't predictable. I thought it would go in one direction and then a surprise came into place, throwing off any predictions I might have held onto until that happened. The secondary characters were well developed and I enjoyed seeing Jennifer interact with all of them. Her kids seemed so realistic and reminded me of my own kids. There was even an aspect of the story that made me think of one of my favorite television series, Orphan Black.
The only criticism I have is regarding the explanation of time travel. Given that I over-analyze how things worked in Back to the Future, time travel is usually perplexing to me. In this instance, Jennifer is time traveling within the same day to be in two--or sometimes even three--places at once. I had trouble wrapping my head around all the rules and details involved. I will admit that Kamy's approach to the explanation was creative and she definitely put a lot of thought into it. Since I didn't do too well in high school physics and have since forgotten most of what I learned, I just have to trust that she knows what she's talking about.
Overall, I loved Wishful Thinking and have been recommending it to everyone who is in need of something new and fresh to read. I even included it in a list of favorite time travel novels over at Julieverse. Fans of The Balance Project (by Susie Orman Schnall) and The Status of All Things (by Liz Fenton and Lisa Steinke) will enjoy this story for sure, as will anyone who wants a bit of escape from reality with a real life lesson that makes you think.
Of course, I was casting this as a movie. You know, just in case...
Jennifer: Michelle Monaghan
Vinita: Archie Panjabi
Diane: Annette Bening
Owen: Johnny Whitworth
Norman: Sam Page
Alicia: Maya Rudolph
Thanks to BookSparks for the book in exchange for an honest review. They have one copy and a journal from She Writes Press (of which Kamy is the founder) to give to one lucky US reader!
a Rafflecopter giveaway
US only. Giveaway ends June 22nd at midnight EST.