Random House Books for Young Readers, $17.99 hardbound, ISBN-10 038536976X, July 2014
A jinni. A princess. And the wish that changes everything. . . . Najwa is a jinni, training to be a spy in the war against the humans. Zayele is a human on her way to marry a prince of Baghdad—which she’ll do anything to avoid. So she captures Najwa and makes a wish. With a rush of smoke and fire, they fall apart and re-form—as each other. A jinni and a human, trading lives. Both girls must play their parts among enemies who would kill them if the deception were ever discovered—enemies including the young men Najwa and Zayele are just discovering they might love.
Vampires, werewolves, mermaids, faerie, hot guys in dystopian hells, aliens… Hey, djinn! What took you so long to get to the party? The grownup romance genre went through a similar djinn delay back in the day, so I guess it’s just a rite of passage.
Wish 1. I wish for a book with the strong and unique world-building, action and suspense, and lovey-dovey romance good fantasy should provide. Wish 2. I wish for it to be light enough for casual readers but still satisfying. Wish 3. I wish for more wishes! No? Okay, I wish for strong but fallible heroines.
Granted! Although it’s about 30% fluffy, the other 70% balances the fluff with politics, magical weapons, and a fleshed-out djinn society. Although both heroines make the occasional so-bad-it-hurts choice, they’re portrayed so realistically as naive teen girls that the reader will believe it. They’re not stupid, they’re just out of their depth and handling themselves rather well, considering. The romances are both weakened by lack of development, but hopefully everyone who’s in love will have a better chance to spend some time getting to know each other in book two.
Recommend to: Younger teen fantasy fans
To buy or not to buy: A solid choice for YA fantasy collections