REVIEW: I Dream of Johnny by Juliet Maddison

Published 1st September 2013

Escape Publishing

E-book

4/5 Stars

My Thanks go to the publisher for the copy I received to review.

From the author of Fast Forward comes a story about three wishes, a high-tech genie in a lamp, and one very unfortunate typo…

Getting three wishes isn’t all it’s cracked up to be when an unfortunate spelling error in Mandy’s high-tech magic lamp changes her wish for a Greek God to a Geek God. His fashion IQ is in the negatives, he’s clingier than cling wrap, and he has a penchant for breaking into song at inappropriate moments. Before Mandy can request a replacement wish, she has to put up with him for twenty four hours, and the timing couldn’t be worse — it’s her friend’s wedding day, her ex will be there, and the God of Geeks insists on coming along for the ride!

Having one of ‘those’ days, Mandy has had enough of the world. Nurturing a broken heart from her last failed relationship, a messy house and a life that she feels isn’t really going anywhere, Mandy knows that she is stuck in rut with no idea how to change things.taking her frustrations on the mess before her, she rummages in the closet only to be hit in the head by an old birthday present she’d quickly discarded and forgotten. After all everyone knows genie lamps aren’t real and they certainly aren’t electronic like this one. Cynical beyond belief and angry at the world she opens the box and types in three spur of the moment wishes: A house that cleans itself; a bank account with endless money; and thirdly a Greek God. At least that’s what she meant to wish for. For as the genie lamp starts to beep and Mandy’s wishes surprisingly come true she quickly learns the consequences of spur of the moment decisions. A missed typo changes her desired Greek God into a Geek God named Jonathan Fortran Schnecklmyer, a needy man who due to the technicalities associated with her wish can’t be left alone. Topping Mandy’s day off is the realisation that today is her friends wedding day, and it’s looking like she might need to take Jonathan as her date, dorky clothing and all!

At the equivalent of 42 pages in length, I Dream of Johnny is a very short, but incredibly sweet novella about life’s ups and downs and the ways in which we sometimes wish we could overcome them. It proposes the question in a quirky but brilliant way, of what we would wish for if we ever got the chance to have three wishes granted. And pushes to the forefront of the readers mind the consequences that these wishes would bring to our everyday lives.

I Dream of Johnny is one of those novels that you can just read in a sitting and feel happy about afterwards. Although it holds some home truths about the price of happiness and what it means to live and love, it is primarily a feel good narrative that is a bit of fun and quirky. It’s originality is surprising and down to earth and the character’s are easy to like and very identifiable.

Mandy is every single woman who is longing for a proper relationship and feeling left behind as she watches her friends move  into the next stage of life. She is creative (an artist by trade) and sells her own mobiles for kids. Self-conscious in her own right, and pressured by the feeling of needing to show how in control she is, Mandy is horrified when Jonathan turns up. Even more so when she can’t leave him behind or change his ridiculous getup. Fuelled by the need to be accepted by others (especially her ex-boyfriend who is at the wedding as well) Mandy’s interactions with Jonathan don’t produce the horror that she initially believes they will, although for the reader there are a number of laughs at both characters expense,  rather doors are open for her that she hadn’t been aware of before, allowing her to see life in a different light. Because of this Mandy is able to seize the opportunities put before her and re-evaluate her life in every aspect.

Jonathan on the other hand is exactly what he appears to be: Mandy’s genie produced Geek God, who is as one dimensional as Mandy’s wish was.  He is nerdy, obessed with Mandy, and a wiz at all things IT. While it is true that he is no Greek God nor is he anything that a romance hero typical is, he does have his sweet side and the ability to love without holding back. But Is it enough to change Mandy’s belief that he is nothing but an IT Geek who lives to embarrass her?

I Dream of Johnny is the perfect summer weekend read. The character’s are beautifully crafted and the story delightful in its own quirky and hilarious way. The perfect read for someone wishing for a quick fix – although Mandy would properly like to remind you to be careful of what you wish for, because you never know if it will come true. Fans of romantic comedies and chick lit won’t want to miss this gem of a novella.

For more information on I Dream of Johnny visit Juliet’s website (where by signing up to her newsletter you get two free short stories and one e-book guide!) or  Goodreads.

To purchase your own copy of this novella head on over to Escape Publishing’s website or visit Amazon.com

Read as part of my Australian Women Writer’s Challenge 2013

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