*I received this book from the publisher in exchange for an honest review.*
Title: When You Wish Upon A Lantern
Author: Gloria Chao
Publisher: Viking Books for Young Readers
Publication Date: February 14, 2023
Liya and Kai had been best friends since they were little kids, but all that changed when a humiliating incident sparked The Biggest Misunderstanding of All Time—and they haven’t spoken since.
Then Liya discovers her family’s wishing lantern store is struggling, and she decides to resume a tradition she had with her beloved late grandmother: secretly fulfilling the wishes people write on the lanterns they send into the sky. It may boost sales and save the store, but she can’t do it alone . . . and Kai is the only one who cares enough to help.
While working on their covert missions, Liya and Kai rekindle their friendship—and maybe more. But when their feuding families and changing futures threaten to tear them apart again, can they find a way to make their own wishes come true?
When You Wish Upon a Lantern was the perfect bit of sweetness I was looking for over my holidays. It’s a fluffy and adorable teen friendship turned romance story with little adversity and a lot of lighthearted fun. Liya and Kai’s friendship is pure sweetness—the kind of friendship that few truly find in their lives. Though they are at odds when this story begins, it’s truly a deep miscommunication and a whole lot of foolishness that’s gotten in their way. As they reconnect and their friendship continues to grow and deepen, they are able to find ways not only to connect with one another, but with their community, their pasts, their futures, and their culture as well.
This beautiful cover sets the stage for a luminous story. There’s so much to explore as Liya and Kai strive to strengthen the bonds of their community and work to bring people together. You’ll encounter family rivalries, deep cultural bonds and celebration, battles with gentrification and rising costs to hard working business owners, secret wishes, and so much more in these pages. It’s worth the read!
While there is romance, the majority of this book is pretty PG which certainly will appeal to younger readers. It’s about true connection and deep friendship first and foremost. The romance is chaste and lovely—a beautiful first love. It’ll have you smiling at the cuteness overload and rooting for the underdogs as they gain the confidence to fight for what they want most in the world.