Book Review: Sticks and Stones by Shawn McGuire

sticks and stones

Sticks and Stones
by Shawn McGuire
Series: The Wish Makers #1
Publication date: June 15th 2014
by Brown Bag Books
Category: YA
Genre: Fantasy
Source: Personal purchase

My Rating:

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Everyone has a dark side. Mandy’s just moved in with her.

The last time sixteen-year-old Mandy Matteo broke a rule, her sister died. Since that day she has done only what is expected of her, but life as a goody-goody has made Mandy so boring her friends have all but abandoned her. And she’s given up on ever getting Ethan, the boy she’s liked forever, to notice her. Desperate, Mandy makes a wish to simply be happy.

Her wish is granted and happiness arrives in the form of Lexi, her childhood imaginary friend come to life. Magical wishes have conditions though: Once started, the wish cannot be altered or stopped. And once Mandy is truly content with her life again, Lexi must go back to where she came from. But Lexi loves being alive and she’ll do whatever it takes to stay that way.

~My Thoughts~

I’m selective when it comes to reading fantasy. It’s not my all time favorite genre to read, but I’m patting myself on the back for picking up a copy of Sticks and Stones. This is a coming-of-age tale that has a light coating of fantasy over it, not something I feel I’m drowning in with alternate realms and races, which makes it the perfect story me. I’ll admit there are times when I see a pretty cover like this one, purchase it without thinking twice because of the pretty cover, and then kick myself in the rear. This is not one of those times. I was highly rewarded for my impulsivity with this one.

Mandy is our protagonist. She’s a nice girl with a good head on her shoulders, but she doesn’t demand what she wants out of life. Most of what she does is to please others. She doesn’t normally break rules, but she finally decides to color outside the lines a bit. When her decision to attend a party with old friends doesn’t go as planned, she makes a wish in the final second of her golden sixteenth birthday. A wish for someone who used to make her feel whole to come back into her life. Oh, Mandy. Be careful what you wish for!

I love the amount of depth the author puts into this YA tale. Not only do we get to follow along on Mandy’s adventure with Lexi, we also get to learn bits about Desiree — the wish mistress who I absolutely fell in love with. I’m one of Desiree’s biggest fans. She’s really laid back and chill, but she’s got some things of her own going on under the surface too. I really enjoyed getting to know those things about her past. It pulled me deeper into the story.

Being a lover of the culinary arts, I was super thrilled to find out that Mandy is an aspiring chef. Since I’ve never been a goody-goody type of person, it helped me relate to her in a completely different way. I’d really love to read the recipes she makes in Nourishing Nosh!

Lexi. I went through all full range of feelings for her. I liked, hated, loved, and wanted to shiv her while she slept. The full monty. She’s a fascinating character with a very interesting lesson to teach.

I highly recommend Sticks and Stones to all fans of YA fantasy. It’s a harmonious blend of sweet and sour. I can’t wait to read the next book in this series! I happen to know that the author just finished the first draft of the third book in The Wish Makers series — yes, I’m that big of a stalker fan — so hurry up and read this so you can be ready for book number two.

~About the Author~


Shawn McGuire started writing after seeing the first Star Wars movie (that’s episode IV) as a kid: she couldn’t wait for the next one so wrote her own episodes. Sadly, those notebooks are long lost, but her desire to write is as strong now as it was then. She grew up in the beautiful Mississippi River town of Winona, Minnesota, the small town that inspired the setting for Sticks and Stones and the upcoming Break My Bones. After graduating college she moved to the Milwaukee area of Wisconsin (Go Pack Go!) where she lived for many years. She and her family now call Colorado home and when not writing or reading, Shawn enjoys cooking and baking, crafts, interior decorating, and spending time hiking and camping in the spectacular Rocky Mountains.

Shawn’s Website | Twitter | Facebook | Goodreads

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Wife, homeschooling mom, YA author of paranormal, dark fantasy, and horror, huge fan of the Oxford comma, book blogger, crafter, baker of sweet things, lover of the culinary arts, self-appointed zombie slayer.