The Wish List

 
Wicked is the key word here, in all its senses.

What parents need to know

Positive messages

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

Violence

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.

Sex
Not applicable
Language
Not applicable
Consumerism
Not applicable
Drinking, drugs, & smoking

Teens smoke and drink. An old man gets tipsy.

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.

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?

QUALITY
 

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.

Families can talk 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

Author:Eoin Colfer
Genre:Fantasy
Book type:Fiction
Publisher:Hyperion Books for Children
Publication date:November 17, 2003
Number of pages:252
Publisher's recommended age(s):10 - 14

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Quality

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Teen, 15 years old Written byHales April 9, 2008
age 0+
 

I loved this book! Everyone should have a chance to read it!

I loved this book- it was funny, sad, exciting... just an all-around great book. My friend chose it for a book club- and WOW does she have good taste! I read it in 2 days- it wasn't too hard, and keeps you interested from the first page to the last. I'd definitely read "The Wish List"- it's one hell of a book! (if you excuse the pun!) :)
Teen, 13 years old Written byHermit April 9, 2008
age 0+
 

I love it

I first read it when I was eleven or twelve, and it's a very good book that keeps you entertained. I think it has a lot of food for thought, and it teaches you a little bit, although you don't know it. It's got humour, drama, and of course, suspense. A very good novel from a very good author - I would definitely recommend it for anyone who asks. ~Hermit
Teen, 13 years old Written bysparrowgirl152 April 9, 2008

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