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  • Writer's pictureNakeisha Campbell

Book Review: 'The Forbidden Wish' by Jessica Khoury

Updated: May 8, 2023


If I had to describe this fairy-tale retelling in one word, I would say “perfect.” I know, I know. I sound a bit obsessive but, hear me out here.


Imagine reading a remixed, modern version of your favorite fairytale and then multiply the quality of it tenfold. Imagine more complex characters that you can actually relate to, tense conflicts that make your heartbeat quicken and romantic moments that tug at your hearstrings. THAT is what this book was for me.


In The Forbidden Wish, Jessica Khoury indroduces us to two complicated (yet lovable) characters named Zahra (a powerful jinni who's been trapped in her lamp) and Aladdin (the young thief). Naturally, the two bond as friends and eventually fall in love. But what I truly appreciated about their story was the fact that their romance developed at a realistic pace (which I think is a key reason why their relationship felt so genuine). It was so fascinating to see this story unfold through the genie’s eyes, and I immediately took a liking to Zahra because it was easy to relate to her. The emotions that she felt while she was with Aladdin and the sensations she felt while granting his wishes made me feel like I was in her shoes. And as for Aladdin, while he held the same boyish charm as the animated version of his character, Khoury molded him into someone a bit more mature and complex, which was perfect for this story.


The chemistry that developed between Zahra and Aladdin was so amazing that their shared scenes made my heart melt. Honestly.Not much happened between them in the first couple of chapters, but even in the smallest moments (like when they held eye-contact for a few moments or when Zahra’s fingers brushed Aladdin’s hair) I could feel the connection and it was MAGICAL. So yes, even when they bickered and argued, I didn’t worry, because I knew that it came from a place of love.


Jessica Khoury indroduces us to two complicated (yet lovable) characters named Zahra (a powerful jinni who's been trapped in her lamp) and Aladdin (the young thief). Naturally, the two bond as friends and eventually fall in love. But what I truly appreciated awas the fact that their love grew at a realistic pace (which I think is a key reason why their relationship felt so genuine). It was so fascinating to see this story unfold through the genie’s eyes, and I immediately took a liking to Zahra because it was easy to relate to her. The emotions that she felt while she was with Aladdin and the sensations she felt while granting his wishes made me feel like I was in her shoes. And as for Aladdin, while he held the same boyish charm as the animated version of his character, Khoury molded him into someone a bit more mature and complex, which was perfect for this story.

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