Wednesday, April 22, 2015

I'm wide awake and you're still my dream

Wishful ThinkingWishful Thinking by Kamy Wicoff

My rating: 3 of 5 stars

Jennifer is a busy single mom, struggling to keep up at work while still spending enough time with her two young boys. One day her lost smartphone shows up on her doorstep and Jennifer discovers a new app has been installed. This app, she soon comes to realize, allows her to time travel -- to basically be in two places at the same time. Suddenly Jennifer is able to keep the long hours her boss is demanding, while still picking her boys up from school and getting in quality time Mom/kid time. She is the superwoman she's always dreamed of being. But is it too good to be true?

I'll confess that a good portion of this book made me cringe. Not because it's bad. In fact, it's the opposite. It's a smartly written, captivating novel with a harried heroine who captures your heart pretty quickly. For me, the book was stressful because it hit home! A busy working mother who has demands at the office, but who also wants to spend time with her kids? That certainly describes a lot of us. Much like when I'm watching an action or horror movie for a first time, I felt myself tensing, anxiously wondering what was going to happen to Jennifer. Was she going to get caught using the app? Was the Jennifer at the office going to somehow show up with her kids? Would her co-workers find out? Her kids? Would the app make her sick? This couldn't go on forever, right?

And that's basically the premise behind Wicoff's clever novel. Of course, being in two (and over time, as Jennifer becomes dependent on the app, three places) places isn't all it's cracked up to be. Jennifer is tired, experiencing some strange sensations, potentially losing friendships, and wait, is she aging rapidly when she's living two days in the span of what should only be one?

Wicoff does a great job of showing the pressures many working parents feel. It's true - sometimes you do feel like you have to be a superwoman! Her book is also populated with fun characters -- in particular, Dr. Sexton, Jennifer's kooky neighbor, who also happens to be a genius scientist and inventor of said app.

If it all sounds a little improbable, it is, and you'll have to be prepared to suspend disbelief a bit, but Wicoff does such a great job, that it isn't really that hard. The book veers off a bit in its final quarter, turning more from the harried working mom scene, to a bit of an almost mystery/avenger plot, which is also completely improbable, and a very strange twist, but it's fun, too. You can't help but rooting for Jennifer (and Dr. Sexton, too). Overall, a crazy 3.5 star rating.

(Note, I received an advanced copy of this book in return for an unbiased review.)

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