Middle Grade Monday: Wish, by Barbara O'Connor

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Title: Wish
Author: Barbara O'Connor. Read by Suzy Jackson
Publication Info: 2016, Recorded Books. 4:40. Hardcover 2016, Farrar, Straus & Giroux, 240 pages.
Source: Library digital resources

Publisher's Blurb:
Eleven-year-old Charlie Reese has been making the same secret wish every day since fourth grade. She even has a list of all the ways there are to make the wish, such as cutting off the pointed end of a slice of pie and wishing on it as she takes the last bite. But when she is sent to the Blue Ridge Mountains of North Carolina to live with family she barely knows, it seems unlikely that her wish will ever come true. That is until she meets Wishbone, a skinny stray dog who captures her heart, and Howard, a neighbor boy who proves surprising in lots of ways. Suddenly Charlie is in serious danger of discovering that what she thought she wanted may not be what she needs at all. 

My Review:  

I enjoyed this story. It's a sweet tale, with a likeable main character who manages some significant personal growth, and is definitely human. And it's a dog story that does not involved the loss or death of the dog, thank heavens!

Now for the critique: I knew how this was going to play out from about page one, and there were no surprises there. There were also some pretty predictable stereotypes on display. The good people were too good, and Charlie's hopeless parents are off-stage and undeveloped. Even Charlie is pretty easy to draw, though I think she's the only character who is at all multi-faceted (maybe her sister Jackie, too, a bit). The depiction of the small-town/rural setting jarred a bit, too. Hicks from the sticks is another stereotype we don't need to perpetuate.

When I think about the story, I have to wonder why I enjoyed it so much. Maybe because it WAS a simple story with obvious outcomes, in a time of great uncertainty. Sometimes it's not bad to be predictable. I'm doing a lot of re-reading of favorites right now, and this had some of that feeling to it.

Maybe the reading had something to do with it, too: Suzy Jackson does a good job of rendering the characters, without an excess of Southern drawl, but with just enough to give a feeling for where the story takes place.

My Recommendation:

Enjoyable as brain candy, and might be good reading for a kid who needs a little help seeing what he/she has. Most of what Charlie learned was to stop wanting what she couldn't have, and to see how good what she did have could be. Might annoy those who live in the sticks. An easy read for kids from 8 up.

FTC Disclosure: I checked Wish out of my library, and received nothing from the writer or publisher for my honest review. The opinions expressed are my own and those of no one else. I am disclosing this in accordance with the Federal Trade Commission's 16 CFR, Part 255: "Guides Concerning the Use of Endorsements and Testimonials in Advertising."  


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