Jump to ratings and reviews
Rate this book

Down with the Shine

Rate this book
Make a wish…

Lennie always thought her uncles’ “important family legacy” was good old-fashioned bootlegging. Then she takes some of her uncles’ moonshine to Michaela Gordon’s annual house party, and finds out just how wrong she was.

At the party, Lennie has everyone make a wish before drinking the shine—it’s tradition. She toasts to wishes for bat wings, for balls of steel, for the party to go on forever. Lennie even makes a wish of her own: to bring back her best friend, Dylan, who was murdered six months ago.

The next morning gives Lennie a whole new understanding of the phrase be careful what you wish for—or in her case, be careful what wishes you grant. Because all those wishes Lennie raised a jar of shine to last night? They came true. Most of them came out bad. And once granted, a wish can’t be unmade…

355 pages, Hardcover

First published April 26, 2016

Loading interface...
Loading interface...

About the author

Kate Karyus Quinn

52 books557 followers
Kate Karyus Quinn is an avid reader and menthol chapstick addict. She has a BFA in theater and an MFA in film and television production. She lives in Buffalo, NY with her husband, three children, and one giant dog.

Find her online at katekaryusquinn.com

Sign up for her newsletter for exclusive content and giveaways! https://tinyurl.com/y9zz4hp6

Ratings & Reviews

What do you think?
Rate this book

Friends & Following

Create a free account to discover what your friends think of this book!

Community Reviews

5 stars
260 (18%)
4 stars
448 (31%)
3 stars
449 (32%)
2 stars
183 (13%)
1 star
63 (4%)
Displaying 1 - 30 of 335 reviews
Profile Image for Emily May.
1,962 reviews293k followers
April 27, 2016
This started strong but grew too silly for my tastes.

You know, I love dark books. I can't help it. Give me some page-turning horror, angst, heartbreak and challenges. Pull me apart and put me back together! And sometimes, though less often, I love light and funny books. I personally prefer having my heart ripped out over a few giggles, but some humour now and then is needed and appreciated.

What I've never really understood, however, are those kind of cultish horror comedies that try to blend darkness with humour.

I know some people love those things, but I don't quite get it. Because once a book introduces some silly, ridiculous slapstick, there is pretty much zero chance of me taking it seriously or being caught up in the "darkness" again. That's kind of what this book does.

It starts with an interesting concept - a spin on the ol' "be careful what you wish for" idea. Lennie lives with her three bootlegging uncles who brew and sell their own moonshine. The family tradition is that the buyer makes a wish and her uncles toast to it. What Lennie doesn't know is - this isn't just a silly family tradition. Her uncles trade in wishes. And soon she will too.

She learns this a little too late, of course, and not until after a party full of drunken wish-granting. This is all playing out in the foreground, but behind it is the disturbing mystery of her best friend's death. The book touches upon mutilation and dark secrets, and yet this is left unexplored for a lot of the novel while Lennie is caught up in the ridiculous drama following the wishes and her own budding romance.

I have some wishes of my own:

• I wish the book hadn't lost it's darkness.
• I wish the dark and scary wasn't dampened by the silly consequences of the wishes - one guy literally gets steel balls, another wishes that everything he touches turns to Cheetos.
• I wish the style worked more for me, instead of leaving me emotionally detached when mutilation is described in a laid back, comical way.
• I wish there had been no romance, especially one that felt so out of place (and out of character for the heroine).

This wasn't for me. But I will say the twist is well thought-out and clever.

Blog | Facebook | Twitter | Instagram | Youtube | Store
Profile Image for Sarah Elizabeth.
4,723 reviews1,278 followers
March 13, 2016
(Source: I received a digital copy of this book for free on a read-to-review basis. Thanks to HarperCollins and Edelweiss.)

“I wish,” he says, his voice pitched low but easily reaching the ears of everyone in that hushed kitchen. “To be there when you get what you deserve.”

This was a YA magical-realism story about a girl who could grant wishes.

Lennie was an interesting character, and it was quite funny how she had no idea she could grant wishes. She dealt with the news pretty well though, and tried her hardest to put right the wishes she made.

The storyline in this was about Lennie granting a bunch of wishes and the consequences of those wishes. Some of the wishes were really quite bad, and the consequences really severe, and Lennie had to make a really bold move to try and rectify the chaos she had caused.

The ending to this was pretty good, although Lennie did risk a lot to accomplish what she did.

6.5 out of 10
Profile Image for Taylor.
767 reviews420 followers
May 13, 2016
This is probably one of the weirdest and most fun books that I've read this year. I'm not really a big fan of magical-realism but I actually enjoyed the bit of magic in Down with the Shine.
I think this book's biggest strength is the characters. Lennie is snarky, funny, and well developed. I liked a lot of the side characters as well. I did think that at times Lennie kind of turned into a love sick puppy around Smith because she did tend to over look the awful things that he had said to her.
I loved the plot! It was really original and different from anything I've read before. It hooked me right away and made this book hard to put down.

Overall, I really enjoyed this book. It had a great plot and awesome characters. I'm definitely going to be checking out the author's other books.
Profile Image for Naudia .
98 reviews15 followers
July 8, 2016
This book follows teenage Lennie Cash in her attempts to be a "cool kid". No, but seriously. Down with the Shine had inhumane amounts of potential and it all went Down the Drain. The plot in its entirety consists of Lennie making multiple dumb decisions all in the name of...what, exactly? She was quite literally out endangering lives.

The synopsis and gorgeous cover made for quite the eye-candy to me. I even pre-ordered this book expecting something to completely blow me out of the water, but DwtS thoroughly and sadly disappointed.

The characters were absolutely crazy and no one could really be taken seriously. Lennie lives with her three uncles and her mother who are all Fairy ShineParents. Now magical bootlegging is a family business, but one that Lennie oddly enough, knows nothing about. So what does she do? What any oblivious teenager with mystical wish granting abilities would do.

She goes to a house party and grants a shit-ton of wishes.

I was on the edge of my seat for the first and only time during this book when this happened. I was waiting for the grit I was expecting to come out and play. I mean the blurb literally tells us that Lennie wishes her dead best friend back to life. But instead, a bunch of silly wishes were made, such as, "I want everything I touch to turn into Cheetos!"


Lennie's zombie BFF Dylan has a twin brother named Smith, and Lennie has an insufferable crush on him. I'm always down for a little romance, although this particular pairing seemed a tad out of place. Smith was extremely manic and he had issues within himself and ones with Lennie that were never addressed. Plus I think that the author already had enough on her plate with choosing a direction to take the story in. The romance was hardly even there, and the story would have been perfectly fine without it.

Lennie Cash was a fairly flat character and I found myself almost completely detatched from the moonshine madness. She seemed to face hardly any consequences for her stupid decisions, to put it bluntly. Lennie seemed less than remorseful and a little selfish even.

"I think about how right my uncles were--the stars in the sky are not to be reached for, but to remind us how small we truly are."

This quote makes you kind of go, "Hmm..," because it sounds like a nice figure of speech to give the text some depth, but there also seems to be an underlying meaning to it. It's almost as if Lennie's uncles taught her not to reach for the stars, but instead reach for a bottle of Shine and continue the family business. Which is all well and good. But if this is how Lennie truly felt, then it makes perfect sense that she stole Shine and made wishes at a party. She just wants to feel accepted, can you blame her?

Profile Image for Adrienne Carrick.
26 reviews3 followers
December 17, 2015
How to tell if you'd like this book....
1.) Your favorite phrase is "Careful what you wish for."
2.) You ever wished to be included in the cool group.
3.) You had a secret crush in high school and would have done anything to have it reciprocated.
4.) You had parent issues.
5.) You're drawn to clever, humorous writing, with a dark side.
6.) You have a secret obsession for Cheetos. (Trust me on this one)
Profile Image for Karen.
492 reviews95 followers
April 21, 2016
Lennie (a girl with an unfortunate name) lives with her three uncles and her comatose mother. Her uncles sell moonshine for a living. After her best friend, Dylan, dies Lennie is devastated. Lennie decides to steal some of her uncle’s moonshine and crash the biggest party of the year. She is only trying to follow Dylan’s advice and live a little. Lennie follows her uncles footsteps and toasts each drinker with a wish. The net day she finds that all those wishes came true, even her own for Dylan to love again. Now she’s in a whole heap of trouble and needs help from the one person she shouldn’t seek out, her father.

I am not sure how I feel about this story. It was definitely comical seeing all those wishes come true. It was also a bit sad and disturbing because her best friend died pretending she was Lennie. She didn’t just die, she was cut up into pieces and stuffed into a suitcase. That’s horrible and probably nothing to joke about. I had a hard time laughing after that.

It was hard to take anything seriously in this story. One kid wishes for the Cheetos touch (like the Midas touch, but with cheetos) that goes tragically wrong, and it’s hilarious. One the other hand, Lennie has a rough relationship with her famous father. Just his name is enough to make people cower. Lennie throws it around even though she doesn’t even know him. Father and daughter have a real heart to heart to heart in this story, but it is hard to feel anything for them. I just didn’t feel like I cared at all.

This book was weird and silly. I found it hard to follow conversations with all the back and forth banter. The author includes Lennie’s smart-ass non-verbal comeback to everything, she seemed really snarky to me. Lennie had a negative outlook and I found her hard to like. There was a whole scene on the couch that made me think Lennie was really weird. Why even mention cheese hair/not washing it out right? I don’t know what the point of that was. I didn’t get the Smith/Lennie relationship. He hates her, he kisses her, he gets stuck with her, then he likes her again? I ended up not really caring at all.

The thing that kept this book from getting 2 stars is the descriptive writing (easy to visualize) and the fact that Lennie actually grows as a character in this story. I don’t think I was the intended audience for this book. It was okay, but just too juvenile and silly for me.
Profile Image for Maja (The Nocturnal Library).
1,013 reviews1,891 followers
June 12, 2016
Down with the Shine, Kate Karyus Quinn’s third novel, starts with a prologue that promises a dark, twisted and very unusual book. The promise is strengthened by our knowledge about Quinn’s previous works, which were always gritty and weird enough to stand out. In Down with the Shine, Quinn takes her unusual approach even further by mixing ideas and genres, albeit with questionable results. It is, it would appear, entirely possible to try a bit too hard to be innovative and fresh. In many ways, this book reminded me of Bad Taste in Boys, but while Bad Taste was purposely silly and hilarious, Down with the Shine failed to be even that.

‘Be careful what you wish for’ is something we’ve all said many times in our lives, but rarely do we really stop to consider the possible consequences of our hidden desires coming true. Quinn explores the cost of wishes made haphazardly by a group of drunken teens, ranging from bat wings to love returned. Not a single wish turns out like the person wanted it to, and the results are often disastrous.

As the daughter of a famous criminal, Lennie always found it hard to fit in. In an effort to join the popular crowd, she brings some of her uncles’ moonshine to a party and follows the tradition of granting wishes, not knowing they would actually come true. Lennie makes many mistakes from the start, but she’s actually the least to blame. The adults in her life failed her spectacularly, and her choice in friends and love interests left a lot to be desired. Her infatuation with her best friend’s brother made little sense from the start, and the more I witnessed their interactions, the more I wanted Lennie far, far away from Smith.

I suppose Quinn was aiming for a darkly humorous tone, but Down with the Shine was neither particularly dark (dismembered bodies notwithstanding), nor was it successful in being humorous. That’s the main difference between this book and Bad Taste in Boys ��� the latter was ridiculous, but also hilarious. It helped that the book is compulsively readable and entertaining, although never laugh-out-loud funny. Quinn’s prose isn’t thick or pretentious, which makes it very easy to absorb, and she does know how to surprise her readers on every turn. While Down with the Shine isn’t her best work, it can be an enjoyable way to spend a Sunday afternoon.

Profile Image for Colleen Houck.
Author 37 books8,963 followers
February 7, 2017
Totally unexpected. Love the idea of a wish granting power and the trouble you could get into because of it. Really liked Smith. Also the uncles are awesome.
Profile Image for Lauren Stoolfire.
3,557 reviews259 followers
August 2, 2016
As far as Lennie knew her uncles' family legacy was bootlegging, so when she takes some of their moonshine to Michaela's blowout house party and does their traditional toast with her classmates. As a part of the toast, everyone makes a wish before they drink. Even Lennie makes a wish of her own, to bring back her best friend, Dylan, who was murdered six months ago. When the sun comes up, Lennie realizes pretty quickly that her uncles' family legacy is actually in wish granting - and now that legacy has been passed to Lennie. Most of those wishes she granted came out bad, if not downright dangerous, and once made a wish can't be unmade.

Down with the Shine by Kate Karyus Quinn is such a fun YA fantasy novel with the perfect amount of humor. I actually found myself cracking up several times throughout - Quinn has excellent comedic timing. I don't know if I will be able to look at a bag of Cheetos the same way! I'll have to try more by this author, and I hope she will further explore more of Lennie's world in the future. If you are a fan of Supernatural or The Awesome by Eva Darrows, you will love this new novel!

Profile Image for Mlpmom (Book Reviewer).
3,001 reviews368 followers
April 15, 2016
I have read a couple of Quinn's other books and really enjoyed them so for the most part I knew what to expect from her writing. How all her stories are different, fun, unique and even sometimes weird in the best ways but I have to say, her latest book surprised me with just how much fun it was and how utterly ridiculous.

It is silly and nonsensical at times, and just down right entertaining in all it's messed up wishing glory but most of all, it was hard to put down because it was so entertaining and I never knew what to expect next.

Imaginative, compelling, humorous, and downright a good time, Down With the Shine is one that will knock you off your feet and leave you with a big old grin on your face when you are done.

*ARC copy provided by the publisher in exchange for an honest review.*
Profile Image for Alessandra Crivelli.
221 reviews67 followers
October 24, 2016
DNF. This book has been in my 'currently reading' shelf since before summer.
So I think it's the time to labeled it as 'DID NOT FINISH!'. I hardly abandoned books but this wasn't for me. Super boring and completely different from what I've expected.
I could have forced myself to go on but I have so many good books waiting for me on my shelf that the waiting would be unbearable.
Sorry, but don't think I'll give it another chance.

Profile Image for Talk Supe.
1,261 reviews91 followers
April 26, 2016
oh how I love this dark comedy YA urban fantasy! I hope Kayrus turns this into a series or writes something similar because Down with the Shine is stylistically fantastic its screaming for an encore.
349 reviews171 followers
June 17, 2016
Basically just a big bad nope.

Down With The Shine had an intriguing premise, promising magic and family traditions and chaos.  What ultimately reached my copy was a book with great potential, but a very faulty execution.  There are hardly any positives I can vouch for in this book, but let’s see.

Our protagonist Lennie, lives with her trio of quirky uncles who are in the business of bootlegging moonshine.  In the setting that the book is based in, we discover that Lennie’s best friend, Dylan, has recently passed away in mysterious circumstances.  In order to honour Dylan, Lennie decides to sneak some of her uncles’ moonshine into Michaela Gordon’s annual party—the party to beat all parties—and while there, she happens to grant people their wishes before they drink the shine, as per tradition.  The next morning, Lennie realises that all the wishes she granted have some true, and this opens a whole new set of problems for her.

Now, Lennie was quite a promising character in the beginning. I liked her, I sympathised with her grief, I understood how she kind of folded into herself after the death of Dylan.  What I didn’t get is how, by the middle of the book, a character like hers kind of spiraled down into this entitled, whiney girl who made the crappiest decisions, and made me cringe every time she spoke.  And I’m not only talking about Lennie.  I’m talking about Dylan—her bestie who comes back, Smith—Dylan’s brother, and a myriad of other characters who were thrown in for some reason I suppose, but only acted as comic relief.  The characters were under-developed with no depth and no motives.  With their weird wishes that were granted, and their absolutely stupid reactions, I honestly didn’t have it in me to take any of them seriously.

There was no plot.  It felt like the book was aimless and kind of just drifted through, looking for material to make a page out of.  There were things hat felt ridiculous, and others that were so deep I couldn’t imagine adults doing them, let alone a bunch of misguided teens.  The book operated in extremes and there were slow pages, and then pages were plot flew by.  Basically, nothing happened, and when something did, it made no sense whatsoever.

The romance was completely unnecessary.  I really could have done without the romance.  Smith was upset with Lennie after Dylan’s death because he held her responsible, sent her some hateful voice mails and glared at her whenever she was near.  But by a twist of fate (and Lennie’s wish granting abilities), Smith ends up stuck with Lennie by the hands.  They are literally holding hands while he hates her, and then starts to become affectionate of her, and then of course it is revealed that he loved her all along.  it was a shit-show that I wanted no part of.  Did I also mention about how he beat her up?  No?  There you go.

I’m going to be honest here—I understood close to nothing about the rules of wish giving.  It was contradictory and stupid, and incredibly vague, which only shows poor planning.  There were plot holes I could drive trucks through, and when the final explanation was laid down, I wanted to kill something.  As fun as I hoped it would be, as much I was trembling with anticipation before I read this book, I’d say that this book is best skipped.

I was provided a free eARC of this book by HarperTeen through Edelweiss in exchange of an honest review. This did not in any way, however, influence the content of this review.
Profile Image for Adele.
542 reviews107 followers
November 6, 2017
Originally posted on Adele Is Reading.

TRIGGER WARNINGS: Guns, Murder, Kidnapping, Torture.

Down with the Shine is a Young Adult Fantasy novel. I didn’t really to know what to expect with this book, except for the fact that I would end up liking it or not liking it at all. For that reason, I waited until I could borrow Down with the Shine from the library to read it.

Down with the Shine has a great concept to the story–that Lennie can grant peoples’ wishes. With that in hand, imagine what could happen in this book, and then double it. That’s what pretty much happened in this book.

Turns out, Down with the Shine is such a weirdly interesting book that I couldn’t stop reading. I read this book in one sitting. I seriously thought that I’d end up not liking Down with the Shine. Turns out, while the book has some messed up circumstances, the book is not all that bad.

Right when we start reading you realize that there’s a lot of stuff going on in Lennie’s life. What is something redeemable about Down with the Shine is that the way the story is set up is that, the focus of the story doesn’t focus on any unimportant things. The story gets down the actual story. And booiiiiiii, the story is such a shit show (in a good way). The craziness is comparable to a circus show gone very, very wrong. I found this circus to be highly entertaining.

Nearing the end, the story is still kinda crazy, but the crazy is so toned down that in comparison (to the middle of the book) the ending is completely tame! Which was a nice way to end Down with the Shine. And in my opinion, the ending is way better than the almost ending.

2.5 / 5 stars
Profile Image for Bella.
527 reviews221 followers
March 7, 2016
OMG I loved it.. I had no idea what i was getting into wen I read this one.. I read the blurb but just quick and said this might be a good one. Well it was SO GOOD and I couldn't stop reading it! Kate delivered a story filled with twist and turns and some crazy good imagination!

Lennie is not the cool kid in school or in town, not only does she have uncles that make and seek moonshine her mom is a bit on the crazy side…oh and her dad well he is famous but not in a good way. So as you might see Lennie has a bit of a hard life. After one of her only friends, Dylan, goes missing Lennie decides to let go. And after she goes to the party of the year with her Uncles moonshine things get a little out of hand.

I really love everything about this book, it had so much that kept me hooked. I loved the crazy story behind the moonshine and Lennie's family and how they granted wishes. I so enjoyed the story once Dylan is found or brought back, I won't say much there. And the wish she makes with Smith turns into so much more in the end of the book. This is one of them books you can't day a whole lot about or then it gives so much away! There are way to many character in this story to talk about but I loved them ALL so much, they played such an awesome role!

If you need something new and different and a book that ail keep you on your toes Down With the Shine is the one for you. It has so much in the pages and you will not want to miss it. I was going crazy when I was about 5 chapters out and everything just unfold and changing.. JUST WOW!
Profile Image for Jasmine Pearl Reads.
158 reviews114 followers
June 18, 2016
This review also appears on my blog.

Let me just tell you how much the cover caught my attention. It was just on point and so photogenic (okay, #bookporn). Among the other ARCs that I got from Harper, this was the only one that made me stay till the end.

Down with the shine was a mixture of YA, magic, friendship, fantasy. Almost everything in one book. The premise of this book is unique. I’ve never read something about jars that can grant wishes since I started reading YA books (plus point for that!).

Just a short story, Lennie brought a few jars to Michaela’s party. Yup, she’s aware that she brought some. The thing she’s not aware of was that every wish will become true, no matter how crazy it is.
“Wishes cannot be undone. Nothing in life can ever really be undone.”

I liked how the story flowed. I had some guesses when I was reading the book and I wasn’t disappointed. Kate’s writing style was amazing. It’s really suitable for everyone. I recommend it if you’re looking for some light YA magical reads. Thumbs up for that!

Anyway, here’s one of my fave lines from this book….
“I can’t stop smiling. The world isn’t the horrible place I thought it was.”
Profile Image for T.
115 reviews132 followers
May 3, 2016
This book has a beautiful cover.

I...don't know what genre this book is, and maybe that's a good thing. It's 1/3 a voice-y suspense thriller, 1/3 a wacky contemporary fantasy with macabre elements and 1/3 a dreamy magical realism story w/ a coming of age plot. It's all authentic and unique. Recommend to those who like dark with their wacky.
Profile Image for Tammy.
833 reviews138 followers
May 1, 2016

The nitty-gritty: Potential not quite realized, but a fantastic premise full of hilarious dialogue and some hard-hitting emotional moments near the end.

And once again a cool cover and a really good idea grab my attention and I immediately hit that “request” button! Down with the Shine does have a great concept: a girl is able to grant wishes when toasting with her uncles’ home-brewed (and illegal) moonshine. But you know how the saying goes…”Be careful what you wish for.” And that’s exactly what Kate Karyus Quinn explores in this hysterical, but uneven, YA fantasy—all the ways wishes can go bad. The story is told in first person by Lennie Cash, a teen girl who lives with her crazy mother and three uncles. Lennie’s voice was one of my favorite parts of the story. She’s an underdog. Her classmates keep their distance because she’s the daughter of that Cash—a wanted criminal who left his family after a crime spree to avoid being caught by the police. Lennie hasn’t seen her dad in years, but that’s OK, because her uncles look out for her. Lennie only has a handful of friends, a boy named Larry who she’s known since childhood, and her best friend Dylan, who was unfortunately kidnapped and murdered several months before the story begins.

So you can image how thrilled Lennie is when she’s invited to popular girl Michaela Gordon’s Labor Day party. But Lennie wants more than just a party invite—she wants her classmates to remember her. And so she (unwisely) drugs her uncles and steals a few jars of their famous moonshine. Surely this will make her the life of the party, right?

But Lennie’s plan backfires in a big way. After making a splash at the party by telling her classmates to “make a wish” while toasting each of them, she’s horrified to discover that somehow she’s managed to grant the wishes for real. Lennie wakes up from a drunken slumber (when you toast fifty or so of your friends, you’re bound to get wasted!) only to find Michaela’s house a virtual war zone. A boy with bat wings is flying around outside; random party-goers are being turned into Cheetos and disappearing in a cloud of cheese dust; and worst of all, no one is able to leave the house without experiencing physical pain. Lennie knows she’s going to need her uncles’ help to reverse the wishes, and so she sets off on a mad-cap adventure with Dylan’s brother Smith—the boy she has a secret crush on—to figure out how to set things right.

The book starts out strong as we’re introduced to Lennie’s unusual family, who I immediately fell for—her uncles may be red-necks with an underground moonshine business, but they’re full of heart and truly care for Lennie. When they discover what Lennie’s done at Michaela’s party, they reluctantly explain their family secret—the ability to grant wishes is passed down through the generations. Somehow Lennie’s got the ability, but that gift comes with a price. It isn’t long before her dad shows up, trying to figure out a way to use Lennie and her wish-making talent for his own gain. The idea of taking responsibility for one’s actions is a perfect theme for the young adult crowd—well, let’s face it, it’s a perfect theme for anyone! So I loved seeing her struggle to find the answers, making mistakes along the way.

The author’s biggest talent, though, is her perfect comedic timing and hysterically funny dialogue, and the situation of wishes going wrong simply begs for hysterics. For example, when one of Lennie’s classmates winds up with literal balls of steel (um, yeah, think about that one for a moment), he’s eager to explain to the gang just how happy he is about it:

“But I’ll tell you this. Everything down here”—his hands draw a big round circle around his crotch—“is working the way it should. Seems like the boys are only encased in steel. Sorta like M&M’s, you know? Melts in your—”

“Hey, look! Smith’s waking up!” I announce in my loudest voice. This is finally enough to shut W2 up.

I also loved the moment when Lennie’s father comes into the story, and this is precisely when the story turns very dark. Lennie’s dad is pure evil, a man who isn’t above killing and torture in order to get what he wants. Lennie gives us glimpses into her horrific childhood as the daughter of a criminal, forced to go along with him on bank robberies and such, and those heartbreaking moments elevated Down with the Shine from a lighthearted comedy to something more tragic.

By this point you might be wondering what’s wrong with the book, since I seem to be gushing about it. Unfortunately, it did have some issues. For one thing, the second half of the book is much stronger than the first. The first half spends way too much time at the party, where Lennie’s mangled wishes are simply ridiculous. When one boy makes a wish to have “the Cheetos touch” (instead of the Midas touch), everything he touches, including his hapless classmates, turns to Cheetos dust. Yes, that’s right. Death by Cheetos. I can’t even. It’s this type of middle grade humor that usually turns me off a book, and that was the case here. It wasn’t until the second half, when shit started to get serious, that I felt the author was back on her game.

Some of the relationships between the characters bothered me as well. Lennie’s best friend Larry, a boy she��s known since they were little kids, felt way too “goodie two shoes” to be friends with Lennie. I just didn’t believe for a second that the two had enough in common to enjoy being together. (Plus I kept thinking of the cookie company Lenny and Larry's and every time I read their names together, it took me out of the story!) A couple of the more interesting characters simply didn’t get enough page time. Dylan, Lennie’s murdered friend, comes back to life because of a wish, which was actually a fantastic set-up for some great character development. Unfortunately, either because of the length of the book or because there was just too much going on, the author couldn’t fully explore the weird friendship between Lennie and Dylan. I also wanted to know more about Lennie’s mom, who has a very cool back story, but unfortunately her scenes are way too short. I wouldn’t have minded another fifty pages or so to fill in some of the missing pieces.

I haven’t even got to the romance yet! I’ll keep it brief and say there is a romance between Lennie and Smith, and as sweet as it was, it really felt like it belonged in a different book. Again, it just didn’t get the careful development it needed to be believable.

I also have to mention that there were parts of the book that felt badly edited to me. I’m not sure if this had to do with the fact that I was reading a proof copy, but I was confused in several spots because it felt as if whole paragraphs were left out. The characters would react in strange ways that didn’t make sense, as if I had skipped a page or two. Hopefully these parts were fixed before the final book went to print.

So do I recommend Down with the Shine? Absolutely! I know not all readers will have issues with the immature humor, and there are plenty of you out there who will love the romance as well. Kate Karyus Quinn has touched on some fascinating ideas and has created some memorable characters, and I look forward to her next book.

Big thanks to the publisher for supplying a review copy. This review originally appeared on Books, Bones & Buffy

Profile Image for Jamie.
1,398 reviews1,103 followers
July 12, 2018
Around 3.5 stars. But Closer to 3 than 4.
I did enjoy this. Especially at first. I flew through the beginning of the book. A murderer for a father, wish granters, loss of a best friend... I ate it up. I enjoyed seeing and getting to understand Lennie as a character. How she sees her family and how that changes. How she learns what friendship is.
After a while I felt the story wasn't moving along very well. I lot of back-and-forth drove me about nuts. She doesn't handle anything relating to Dyl very well and that drove me nuts. The ending I had mixed thoughts on. It was semi-predictable. But it does wrap most parts up nicely.
Overall a decent read. Worth checking out but a one time read is probably enough for me.
Profile Image for Joany Vries.
Author 4 books89 followers
February 6, 2017
Als je de voorkeur geeft aan serieuze, diepzinnige een betekenisvolle boeken dan is dit niet het boek voor jou. Als je echter benieuwd bent naar hoe een thriller ook nog eens bijzonder grappig kan zijn... Lees dan dit boek.
Ik heb hardop gelachen om de dolle situaties en zichtbaar gehuiverd bij de spannende stukken. Echt een aanrader!
Profile Image for Hannah (jellicoereads).
792 reviews152 followers
March 15, 2016
The perfect, uh, tonic – pardon the pun – to aid me in the midst of a massive reading slump. I was impressed with the weird yet compelling nature of the author’s writing in her previous book, Don’t You Forget About Me, and she steps up her game in Down With the Shine.

The world isn’t a horrible place I thought it was. The world is great. It’s awesome and full of possibility that I was simply never drunk enough to see before.

The concept itself is pretty intriguing – what if the wishes you made really did come true? And were granted, unwittingly, by a wish-granter who doesn’t know her own power? Such is the premise of this novel, where protagonist Lennie Cash gatecrashes the start-of-term party, armed with her uncle’s moonshine, and begins reenacting the family’s drinking ritual, whereby participants make a wish before downing the potent alcohol.

There is something about the male brain that makes it particularly susceptible to the threat of being called a chicken. They will do the dumbest shit to disprove it.

Of course, everything goes downhill from there, as the silly, inane and dangerous wishes made by her classmates come true at dawn the next morning, and utter chaos reigns. Lennie is in the thick of things, dealing with her resurrected best friend, being physically stuck to another dude, and trying to undo all the damage she has wrought, which appears to have no easy solution.

There’s also the matter of her dangerous criminal father to deal with, whose presence looms over the reader and Lennie from the very first page. More than the fantasy aspect of the wish-granting scenario, however, the book focuses on family and friendships – Lennie’s three gruff uncles who care about her more than she thinks; Dylan, Lennie’s dead best friend and the aftermath which has left her with substantial emotional baggage, and the awkward interactions with Smith, the twin brother of Dylan.

“No, the shit storm has passed. We are now up shit creek without a paddle. Which means we’re stuck and might as well go gently down the stream.”

While I’m not entirely satisfied with the ending and the way things were resolved, overall this was a strange but fascinating, well-written and at-times humorous take on the genie-in-a-bottle trope set in contemporary YA.

ARC received from Edelweiss in exchange for an honest review. Quotes taken from uncorrected proof and may differ from final publication.
Profile Image for Cee.
969 reviews221 followers
April 23, 2016
Kate Karyus Quinn not only has a fantastic imagination, but also the skills to translate that onto the page.

Everyone knows Lennie's name. After her criminal father killed a few people during a heist and got away with it, it's hard to just live your life; which is exactly what Lennie wants. There are more secrets in her family - including the fact that she can grant wishes. Which her uncles did not tell her. And now she has granted a dozen wishes to drunk teenagers by accident. Whoops.

I have been hooked on Quinn's books from the moment I read (Don't You) Forget About Me. Her stories are fantastic, nostalgic, and always resonate with me. Down With the Shine has plenty of moments that will break your heart, but overall I found the tone to be relatively light and humorous. Much of what happens is absolutely absurd and Lennie's adventure made me think of a teen Alice in Wonderland. Granting all those wishes has led Lennie down the rabbit hole, and will she ever return to normalcy?

The author does voice very well, and Lennie was realistic and relatable throughout all the madness that is thrown her way. Down With the Shine has a cute hate/love interest and I enjoyed their permanent banter. I mention this in my reviews quite often, but no sweeping declarations of eternal love here. Just two teenagers having a crush on each other, and both not ready to admit it yet.

My only issue with the book is that at some point it tried to tie together too many storylines. Though it never got to the point where it got confusing, I did not feel invested in all aspects of the story, most notably that related to Lennie's father. I can't pin-point the exact reason I did not care for that part. Maybe it was one step too far? Maybe that storyline was not set up enough? It wasn't a large issue, but it did temper my excitement for this novel a bit.

Overall Down With the Shine is a great novel of wonkiness and awkward teens being awkward teens and family members that are never exactly who you expected them to be.
Profile Image for Cristina.
69 reviews29 followers
September 18, 2016
Ci ho messo una vita a finire di leggere questo libro, in parte perché sto avendo un problema di vista ma soprattutto perché non sono riuscita a connettere con i personaggi. Down With The Shine si presentava come un libro molto divertente e misterioso che racconta di una ragazza che è in grado di esaudire desideri per mezzo di un magico distillato prodotto dalla sua famiglia, con conseguenze disastrose. Purtroppo però l'ho trovato in alcuni punti un po' approssimativo, soprattutto verso la fine, dove ho avuto quasi la sensazione che l'autrice non sapesse bene cosa inventarsi per chiudere la storia. Non riesco a dispiacermi per la morte di Dyl (non è uno spoiler, è nella premessa del libro) e le cose peggiorano quando scopriamo di più su di lei. I personaggi degli zii sono praticamente una persona in tre, non abbastanza distinguibili tra loro, anche se amorevoli e divertenti. Smith è un interesse amoroso di tutto rispetto ma verso la fine, come già detto, l'autrice perde per strada anche questa storyline. Ho un altro romanzo in to-read della Quinn ma dopo DWTS ci penserò su prima di leggerlo. 2 stelle e mezza.
Profile Image for Adriana.
419 reviews192 followers
December 21, 2016
May all your wishes come true, or at least just this one.

Si hay algo que admiro de Kate Karyus Quinn es su habilidad para crear historias totalmente alejadas de lo común, arriesgadas, originales a rabiar pero raras de narices Y AÚN ASÍ HACERLAS FUNCIONAR.

Por ahora sólo he tenido el placer de leer dos de sus libros, pero a estas alturas no es un secreto lo mucho que me llegué a obsesionar con (Don't You) Forget About Me. Al igual que éste último, Down With The Shine es prácticamente imposible de encajar en una categoría, pero el hecho de que un personaje pueda convertir a todas las personas que toca en cheetos y la panzada de reír que me he pegado a lo largo de la historia parecen sugerir que es una comedia. Escabrosa, dramática y psicológicamente trastocada, pero una comedia al fin y al cabo.

Down With the Shine ha sido una aventura trepidante y adictiva y ha corroborado mi idea de que no fue la suerte del principiante, que Kate Karyus Quinn lo vale y voy a necesitar leer todos los libros que saque.

Más raro que este ya no puede ser.
Profile Image for Janet McNally.
Author 7 books144 followers
May 10, 2016
I really enjoyed this. It's such a fresh and fun premise, and the spookiness brings it to the next level. Lennie's voice was great, funny and snarky and real, and her struggle to figure herself out--her place in the world and in her family--was completely believable. I love the exploration of "be careful what you wish for," since it's such a great way to get at the heart of what it means to be human. That sounds heavy. And there is some heaviness here, some serious stuff, but also a lot of humor and fun. Also Cheetos!
Profile Image for Cynthia (Bingeing On Books).
1,645 reviews119 followers
March 21, 2017
What an awesome and refreshing book. It was such a great blend of fantasy and contemporary. Lennie is the daughter of the notorious Bad Daddy Bandit. Her uncles are taking care of her while her mom is basically a shell of her former self and her father is on the run from the law. They run a moonshine business and little does Lennie know, but they are actually able to grant wishes with their moonshine. Lennie's friend, Dylan, was brutally killed months earlier and her brother Seth blames Lennie for Dylan's death. This book has its share of serious moments, but it's also kind of funny and crazy too. After Lennie starts granting wishes without realizing it at a major party, there are some INSANE shenanigans. It really gives new meaning to the phrase, "careful what you wish for." There was a lot of action in this book and a lot of drama. The romance was understated but had a lot of heat to it. And I never knew how erotic just holding someone's hand could be until I read this book. I wasn't quite sure how they were going to end it and while I thought it tied things together a little too neatly, I still loved it. Great read!
Profile Image for Gracia.
115 reviews40 followers
March 16, 2017

This book was really good though i didn't like the ending, maybe if some things would had been different while others stayed the same as the first "timeline" "storyline" or whatever, would have been a lot better.
Profile Image for Amber (Ambee's Bookish Pages).
502 reviews56 followers
March 20, 2016
The full review + more can be found at The Book Bratz

Should I have found this book as funny as I did? Because I laughed so much during it that I can't help but feel bad. But everything did work itself out in the end so it makes it all acceptable? Down With the Shine is definitely one of the most uniquely funny, fun, and interesting book I have read in a while. I was genuinely sad and disappointed that I finished it, I wished it would have continued on because there is so much I want to know.

Lennie Cash is famous in her town. Why? Because her Daddy dragged her along on a robbery spree that killed two people when she was a child. And she isn't famous in the sense that "aw that poor child" she is famous for being a bad influence, a reputation she got because of her father. When the story opens, you get a brief look of her childhood, and then it goes straight into the story. Several months ago Lennie's best friend Dylan was murdered, chopped to pieces, put inside Lennie's suitcase and left. Lennie lives under the feeling that it should have been her, and she should have done more to stop it when she decides that it is time to live. Lennie never meant to cause trouble with the moonshine, she didn't even know of the powers until the next morning, when W2 came knocking on the door with "balls of steel." The night that Lennie unknowingly grants wishes she grants a wish for Dylan's twin brother Smith (who she is stuck holding hands with for the next day, and he hates her.) and her own wish for Dylan to be at home safe in bed. True lesson of this book: Wishes can be cool, but be careful what you wish for.

I loved Lennie's character, obviously she had a rough childhood and an even rougher time after Dylan's murder. She unknowingly caused a huge mess, and even though she could have left it alone she did everything in her power she could to fix it. Lennie was sassy, witty, and extremely sarcastic all through out the novel, making me laugh with the things she said and did.

It is hard to talk about the romance in this book because it is over a one day period of time, and it's with Smith. (Dylan's twin who hates her, but Lennie is secretly in love with) So the whole insta-love thing is down the drain because feelings were already there before the book even started. I felt it to be awkward and strange under the circumstances? I just really wasn't feeling it for this book. It could have did with out the romance, but it also makes sense to have it in there. (especially for the ending)

The only issue I had with this book was the magic building. Fine, the moonshine grants wishes. It explains how, but why? Where does the power come from? What were the other magical creatures her father collected? Is there going to be another book so I can find out? I wish some things were clarified. That was my only issue.

I loved the ending of this book. Lennie did a really brave thing, and I admire her character for that. Up until right before that part, I had no clue how this book was going to end. This was not how I expected it at all, and because of that I can't help but adore Quinn's writing now. Overall I really enjoyed this book, and I can't wait to pick up some of Quinn's other books!
Displaying 1 - 30 of 335 reviews

Join the discussion

Can't find what you're looking for?

Get help and learn more about the design.