Author: Barbara O'Connor
Publisher: Farrar, Straus and Giroux (BYR)
Publication Date: August 30, 2016
Source: Publisher for Review
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.
Many of you probably know by now that I don't really get to read a lot of middle grade books. Many of you probably also know that I'm very picky about the kinds of middle grade books that I read. I like my middle grade to be full of emotion, and I like to see heartwarming stories. That's just what I got with Barbara O'Connor's Wish.
When eleven-year-old Charlie's father is sent to prison and her mother is deemed unfit to parent for the time being, she is sent to live with an aunt and uncle that she's never met in the Blue Ridge Mountains of North Carolina. When she gets there, she quickly discovers that nothing about her new home is like the one that she misses in Raleigh. The only thing she's focused on is going home until she finds a stray dog that steals her heart and lets her become comfortable in her new home.
If you're looking to read a more realistic middle grade novel, rather than something with fantasy themes, grab this book off the shelves this fall. Barbara O'Connor's Wish is one of the most charming and realistic middle grade books that I've ever read. I loved the fact that this book brought family themes into play, especially ones about broken families and the different types of families that there are in the world. There are so many adorable and heartwarming moments in this book that it could even be read to younger readers.
Another theme that is prominent in Wish is friendship and the different kinds of friendship that a girl could find. At first, Charlie has trouble making friends at school, but the persistence of her Backpack Buddy Howard pays off and eventually the two become almost inseparable, despite Charlie's hardened heart. Charlie also befriends a special dog and her aunt and uncle and learns many valuable lessons, especially ones about family and where you belong in the world.
The one thing that I really enjoyed about Wish is that it's told in first person, which kind of surprised me because I'm not used to middle grade novels being narrated in first person. I really liked being able to experience everything that Charlie goes through first hand, and I really felt like it made it easier for me to understand just who she is as a person and as a character that younger readers will look up to and admire.
All in all, Wish is a fantastic middle grade book that will bring out many different kinds of emotions for its readers. I think this book would be great for kids in foster care to read, or in the care of family members to read because it's something that they will be able to relate to. I also think anyone who just loves a story about a kid and a dog will appreciated the heartwarming moments in this book. I'd also recommend this book for fans of Freeform's The Fosters.
Barbara O'Connor's awards include the Parents Choice Gold and Silver Award, American Library Association Notable Books, IRA Notable Books for a Global Society, School Library Journal Best Books, and Kirkus Best Books. Her books have been nominated for children's choice awards in 38 states and voted as a state favorite by children in South Carolina, Indiana, Kansas, and South Dakota.
Barbara was born and raised in Greenville, South Carolina. She draws on her Southern roots to write award-winning books for children in grades 3 to 6.
She currently lives in Asheville, NC. Her latest book is Wish, a middle grade novel published by FSG.
GiveawayThree Finished Copies of Wish are Up For Grabs for U.S. Residents
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