Cloudwish by Fiona Wood
My rating: 5 of 5 stars
Source: Uncorrected Proof courtesy of publisher
For Vân Uoc Phan, fantasies fall into two categories: nourishing, or pointless. Daydreaming about Billy Gardiner, for example? Pointless. It always left her feeling sick, as though she’d eaten too much sugar. And there was zero chance of a pay-off, because it was a truth universally acknowledged that he only ever went out with girls like Pippa or Tiff or Ava.
At sixteen, Vân Uoc Phan, a scholarship student, has always believed in keeping a low profile: real life will start when school finishes. But when she attracts the attention of popular Billy Gardiner, she finds herself in an unwelcome spotlight. As she struggles to reconcile fantasy Billy with real Billy, she is also grappling with the growing suspicion that she may have accidentally wished his affection into existence. But that can’t possibly happened, can it?
Vân Uoc has always tried to live according to the Jane Eyre standard: What would Jane do?
If only things were that simple!
Real life in no longer on hold, and Vân Uoc is quickly discovering who she really is.
Review (5 stars)
Cloudwish was, in the first instance, a cover crush for me. It was beautifully design and very catchy! The thousandth of second after I read the name of the main character (note: 2nd word in blurb), I MUST READ THIS Potentially Awesome Book. And let me just assure you now, it did NOT disappoint. The promises of ‘magic’, of ‘Jane Eyre’, and romance were met but in addition to all this an in-depth look of what it means to be an Asian teen in the Australian landscape.
Vân Uoc was first introduced as the typical ABC (or rather ABV, that’s Australian Born Vietnamese): parents who barely speak English, parent who’s pushing her towards the high-prestige high-earning profession, very intelligent (on scholarship at a private school), plays musical instrument (though in this case, an atypical instrument: the oboe),… in summary, an overachiever. Just like any average teen though, she also has dreams… dreams that she can be just like the others, to blend in, rather than being invisible. So, when she was given the chance, she made a wish…
I felt an immediate connection to Vân Uoc, not only because of my background (as an immigrant), but because I love instant coffee with condensed milk! Forget GJ’s Caramel Lattes, this is da-bomb! As Vân Uoc puts it…
It made you fly on a little cloud of sugar and caffeine.
And then this… this is EXACTLY what happened to me when I was learning to read English books;
And something miraculous happened when they were about a quarter of the way through reading it. After weeks of ploughing and hesitating, something clicked; she stopped stumbling over the unknown words and long sentences. Words magically started to reveal meaning, most of the time anyway, through context. And the sentences themselves stopped being obstacles and started telling a story. Her eyes were racing ahead; she was comprehending the shape and rhythm of the language.
Do you know just how exciting it is when an author has put into words the same exact feelings / experiences you have had?! I love you, Fiona!
Cloudwish may, on the outset, sound like a girly romance fluff but Don’t Be Fooled! Fiona Wood has outdone herself in creating this masterpiece! The authenticity of feel/thought of an Asian Australian teen girl (I can testify to this!) and the inclusion of a number of contemporary issues including but not limited to boat refugees, the ‘white-ness’ of beauty adverts, etc, made a very solid content of a YA fiction.
I have always wished to have the Asian equivalent of Melina Marchetta’s Looking for Alibrandi and / or Saving Francesca (Italian) and in Cloudwish, my wish has come true! Thank you, Fiona, for writing such a beautiful, compelling, and relevant tale. It has spoken true to my heart and a definite top read of the year for me. I will never stop recommending this to everybody -along with Alibrandi 😉
Note to the parents: if you’re concerned about sexual content, I’d suggest that you read the book first so you are prepared or, feel free to PM me for better details.
Thanks Pan MacMillan Australia for copy of Uncorrected Proof in exchange of honest review
Fiona Wood’s first young adult novel, Six Impossible Things, was shortlisted for the Children’s Book Council of Australia (CBCA) Book of the Year, Older Readers. Her second, Wildlife, won the CBCA Book of the Year, Older Readers and was shortlisted for a number of other awards. Her third book, Cloudwish, will be published in 2015. Her books are published internationally. Before writing YA fiction, Fiona wrote television scripts. She lives in Melbourne with her family.
Giveaway (AU only)
My very many thanks to Pan MacMillan Australia for inviting me on this blog tour. They are also giving away a copy of Cloudwish to one of you lucky blog reader! To enter, leave me a meaningful comment (below) or… if you can’t think of anything meaningful, tell me a joke! Something my soon-to-be-six year old can understand 😉
I will draw the winner on Monday morning (21st September 2015).
Do visit some of these stops too… some will host a giveaway as well 😉