cover image The Forbidden Wish

The Forbidden Wish

Jessica Khoury. Razorbill, $17.99 (352p) ISBN 978-1-59514-767-7

In a departure from her scientific thrillers, Khoury (Kalahari) offers a vibrant reimagining of the story of Aladdin’s lamp. Zahra is a powerful jinni who has been doomed to the prison of her lamp and the whims of humans for thousands of years. Despite this—and unlike most jinniZahra has maintained a soft spot for humans, and when Aladdin takes possession of the lamp, their relationship evolves as they become allies: Aladdin seeks to avenge the death of his parents, and Zahra hopes to escape her imprisonment by freeing a jinn prince. Secondary characters unwittingly entwined in Aladdin’s and Zahra’s plans—such as the princess Caspida, niece of the man who killed Aladdin’s parents—are portrayed as vividly as the leads, and as the feelings between Zahra and Aladdin deepen, fulfilling their goals becomes ever more complicated. Playful chemistry (Aladdin promptly nicknames the shapeshifting Zahra “Smoky”) and Khoury’s assured storytelling should make it easy for readers to lose themselves in this rich and complex story of allegiances and betrayal. Ages 12–up. Agent: Lucy Carson, Friedrich Agency. (Feb.)