Okay, I know what you’re thinking. Paranormal high school romance with a genie, of all things? It sounds like a parody – a bad one. But this book is SO. FRICKIN’. CUTE.
Margo McKenna knows she nailed the audition for her high school’s production of Sweeney Todd. She loves the musical, she has the talent, and she’s a senior. Imagine her surprise – and displeasure – when some random sophomore is cast as Mrs. Lovett and she’s left playing Toby. Margo tries to be a good sport, but Vicky Willoughbee turns out to be completely talentless.
After a particularly bad rehearsal, Margo finds a ring in the girl’s bathroom. When she picks it up, the strange new kid poofs into the room. Turns out that Oliver is a genie, Vicky was his master, and by finding his ring, Margo is his new master. Margo is the type of person who has to have a plan, and she doesn’t like surprises. She needs some time to think about her wishes. She also needs to hurry because there is a killer genie out to get Oliver.
Margo is a pretty awesome character. While she’s funny and confident, she also has enough bratty teenage moments to make her believable. Her main form of communication is snark, and once she meets up with Oliver, there is a lot of charming dialogue. Of course, Margo’s only point of reference is a certain Disney movie, so Oliver often has to clear up her preconceived notions:
“…Do you live in a bottle?”
“No,” he said, sounding almost offended. “I live in an apartment.”
Lindsay Ribar puts her own creative spin on the genie mythos, which leads to a surprising number of ethical questions. Technically, Oliver’s purpose in life is to give Margo what she wants. So is she unwittingly forcing him into a relationship with her? Then again, Oliver is also able to change his appearance as well as read Margo’s mind. So is he presenting himself in a way that will make her fall in love with him? These issues and the killer genie plot save the book from being just a fun little bit of fluff.