The Secret Ingredient of Wishes features pie, wishes, and starting over in a small town. It also takes place in North Carolina. It seemed like it would have a lot going for it. The comparisons to Sarah Addison Allen had me really excited to read it. I jumped on the waiting list at the library, and eagerly waited for my copy.
It was incredibly disappointing.
I’ve loved all of Sarah Addison Allen’s books except Lost Lake (that one wasn’t horrible, just definitely nowhere near as wonderful as her other books). I think the comparison to her writing had me starting this book with higher expectations than I would have had otherwise. Honestly, that probably colored my opinion some. I think I was expecting something like Garden Spells (I highly recommend reading it now if you haven’t read it yet) Even without the comparison I still think I would have been disappointed.
The names of the characters drove me a little crazy. The older, wiser, magic pie baking female character is named Catch. There’s never any explanation as to whether that’s a nickname, some old family name, or just weird for the sake of being weird. The hunky love interest next door is named Ashe, which doesn’t seem to fit at all. For some reason, the two names sound a lot alike in my head, and it kind of drove me insane. The other name issue I had was that, with the exception of Catch and Ashe, pretty much everyone went by some abbreviation of their name most of the time; Ray for Rachel, Ev for Everley, Mae or Maeby for Mary Beth. It just seemed overdone. I know, that’s a relatively small issue, but it adds up over the course of an entire book.
The dialogue wasn’t great. The conversations just seemed a little stilted. Catch had an annoying habit of saying things like “Miss-I-Got-All-Dolled-Up-and-Now-Everyone-Else-Looks-Like-Crap,”. There was something like that from her constantly. It got old, and seemed like a lazy way to get a bunch of dialogue out of the way at once.
I had hoped the pies would at least be interesting, but even the baking parts of the book were disappointing. There wasn’t much detail about the pie making, and there wasn’t anything particularly interesting about the pies.
Overall, it was an incredibly disappointing read.
So what about you? Have you read The Secret Ingredient of Wishes? What did you think of it? Do you go into a book with high expectations if the author is compared to an author you really enjoy?