#AusYABuddyRead July

Previously we’ve held chats for our monthly Buddy Reads over on twitter, but we know it’s hard for everyone to come together at one time, with time differences all over OZ and NZ, so we’ve decided to give a new format a try – a blog discussion post.

Our July buddy read was The Forbidden Wish by Jessica Khoury 

21396155. sx318 Synopsis: She is the most powerful Jinni of all. He is a boy from the streets. Their love will shake the world...

When Aladdin discovers Zahra's jinni lamp, Zahra is thrust back into a world she hasn't seen in hundreds of years—a world where magic is forbidden and Zahra's very existence is illegal. She must disguise herself to stay alive, using ancient shape-shifting magic, until her new master has selected his three wishes.

But when the King of the Jinn offers Zahra a chance to be free of her lamp forever, she seizes the opportunity—only to discover she is falling in love with Aladdin. When saving herself means betraying him, Zahra must decide once and for all: is winning her freedom worth losing her heart?

As time unravels and her enemies close in, Zahra finds herself suspended between danger and desire in this dazzling retelling of Aladdin from acclaimed author Jessica Khoury.

This month’s questions has been supplied by the lovely Kait @elysian_words_

1) Have you read The Forbidden Wish? What did you think of it?

2) Did you enjoy it as an Aladdin retelling? I think it was a unique take on the story.

3) One of my favourite parts was the badass group of women in this book. Was it important for you to see women as fierce and powerful, protecting their people?

4) The world building is brilliant with the rich culture shining through, how did you find the setting portrayed. Could anything have been done better?

5) Strong friendships are important in YA books. What did you think of the relationships between the characters?

6) Are there any elements in The Forbidden Wish you felt strongly about or want to discuss further?

7) Okay, last question! If you had three wishes, what would you wish for.

Comment down below and let us know your thoughts on The Forbidden Wish, we'd love to read them.


  1. I joined in on Twitter but to get the discussion going, here are my answers :D

    1. Yes I have read it 😹 I quite liked it! I didn’t go in with any expectations which was nice. I was surprised by the writing style!

    2. I like that it had enough of the original story that it was recognisable but it was unique enough to be its own story. That’s the perfect mix for a retelling I think!

    3. I loved this aspect! And I liked the scene where hey were painting the baby elephant, showing that they were badass but were also young women who have softness. This was so important

    4. I really liked the setting and the different elements of the culture that it portrayed. I would have liked a bit more visual world building, though, so I could really SEE the world rather than just kind of make it up. But I think this could have been because it was mainly set in one place, the palace. But even so I couldn’t really visualise the palace much 🤔

    5. My favourite relationship was between Caspida and her Watchmaidens for sure. I also liked the relationship between Zhara and Roshana even though we didn’t get to see it. I would have preferred them to be in love though 😹 Bi Zhara!! I also thought Aladdin and Zhara were cute as well. I thought he was cute and quirky! And I liked that he was the more vulnerable of the two. We don’t get to see that often in YA

    6. I would have loved to see a bit more of Zhara and Roshana. I loved the three short chapters we got of them and they were written by someone who didn’t like Zhara 😹

    7. Awesome question, Kait!!
    1) A worldwide end to animal cruelty
    2) World peace (look it’s cliche but also who wouldn’t want this place to be less shit)
    3) Equality for all

  2. 1) I was so keen to read The Forbidden Wish, I’m a bit late to the party – life getting in the way and all that.

    2) I really loved the way Jessica Khoury retold the story of Aladdin, and dare I say I preferred it to the Disney version. The writing is beautiful and the action captivating. This version has so many kickass female characters and that’s always a win for me. Girl power!

    3) We get a female jinni who is powerful, smart and cunning, but also lonely and sad. The princess is a great warrior, but also compassionate and caring of her people. And then there is her kickass Watchmaidens who are loving, loyal and fierce warriors also.
    I loved that we got to see all these the female characters showing strength and sweetness, determination and compassion, brains and beauty.

    4) I can’t really think of anything I would change or think could have been done better.

    5) I loved seeing the sisterhood between Caspida and her Watchmaidens and wish there was more of this in all YA. Girls loving and supporting other girls!!! We need more evidence of it on the page!!
    I would have loved to have seen more of the Zhara and Roshana relationship and it would have warmed by heart if it had been a romantic relationship.

    6) No, s’all good.

    7) Gunna pick some silly ones for fun (but If a jinni gave me three wishes I’d really be going with Chiara’s wishes).

    Never-ending pack of Tim Tams!!!! (Who’s old enough to remember that advertising reference).
    To never put on weight while eating above Tim Tams.
    And a 1971 Holden Torana XU1, dark green and in mint condition.

    Thanks for the questions Kait <3 :-)


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