The Wish List

Book review by
Matt Berman, Common Sense Media
The Wish List Book Poster Image
Popular with kids
Wicked is the key word here, in all its senses.

Parents say

age 17+
Based on 3 reviews

Kids say

age 10+
Based on 10 reviews

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A lot or a little?

The parents' guide to what's in this book.

Positive Messages

Meg lies, trespasses, breaks in, steals, and pursues revenge. Black humor.


Belch shoots Meg, his dog attacks Lowrie, Meg's stepfather slaps her around, Meg and Belch fight, Meg punches her stepfather. The two main characters die in a fiery explosion.

Drinking, Drugs & Smoking

Teens smoke and drink. An old man gets tipsy.

What parents need to know

Parents need to know that Colfer offers a view of the afterlife that may conflict with some religious beliefs; you might want to have a chat with your child about this topic.

User Reviews

  • Parents say
  • Kids say
Parent of an infant, 7, and 12-year-old Written byDianna1234 August 17, 2015


Inappropriate for kids
Adult Written byPaigeSpear November 28, 2014

what are all these parents saying?

there wasn t a 15 And Olde r butt on I chose 1 7 a nd under but anyways im 15 and I have read this book and loved but what are all these parents saying its... Continue reading
Kid, 11 years old February 21, 2020

Great and adventurous!!

So, this book is about an abusive stepfather and Meg, who is a criminal, however is very contradictory in staying that way. When she saves an old man from dyin... Continue reading
Kid, 11 years old September 12, 2012

The Wish List

I think it is a great book with an amazing battle of good vs. evil but might be a conflict with people with different religious beliefs. There are some parts wi... Continue reading

What's the story?

Meg Finn's short life has been a mess. Her mother is dead, her stepfather abusive, and she has fallen in with the wrong people and turned petty delinquent. But when a burglary goes wrong she and Belch, the brutal moron who talked her into it, are killed. Belch, merged with his pet pit bull, goes straight to Hell, but Meg, whose good and bad deeds are perfectly balanced, is sent back to atone and tip the balance by helping the old man, Lowrie McCall, whom they tried to rob.

Lowrie is a dying old curmudgeon who has a list of things he wants to do before he dies, and it's Meg's job to help him succeed. But Beelzebub, on orders from the Devil, sends Belch, armed with a nasty computer chip in what's left of his brain, to make sure she fails. But even without his interference her trip may not get her through \"the Pearlies:\" almost everything Lowrie wants to do is illegal, and Meg still wants revenge on her stepfather.

Is it any good?

Eoin Colfer knows how to grab his readers: The first 10 pages contain a robbery, a pit bull attack, a shooting, and the death of the two main characters in a fiery explosion. And he knows how to hold them, with a combination of action, B-movie cliche, black humor, and gritty, muscular prose that hints at more violence than it actually reveals. It's no wonder he's the darling of the video-game generation. Reluctant readers and avid ones all enjoy his books, and with good reason.

Wicked is the key word here, in all its senses. It describes Colfer's humor, his no-kid-gloves approach to his readers, and, quite literally, the plot. He manages here a view of the afterlife that is cynically funny without being out-and-out blasphemous (and least to this reviewer) and makes a weird kind of sense to boot. While this book lacks anyone quite as funny as Foaly in the Artemis Fowl books, it makes up for it with a bit more heart -- nothing soppy, of course, this is a Eoin Colfer book after all, but just the hint of a warm glow in the testy developing relationship between a crusty old never-was and a hardened little never-will-be. Colfer may talk tough and mean to thrill his audience, but it's just possible he has a heart of mush.

Talk to your kids about ...

  • Families can talk about the author's view of the afterlife. What are his beliefs? Do they differ from your own beliefs?

Book details

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