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A lot or a little?
The parents' guide to what's in this book.
What parents need to know
Parents need to know that Wish Girl is a magical, touching story with a strong current of brutality. Family dynamics are particularly painful, with children who feel misunderstood and hurt by their parents. The "wish girl" is a Make-a-Wish girl; she's dying of cancer, and she fears the treatment that could save her life will cause brain damage. The bullies here go beyond everyday pushing and taunting, instead brandishing guns and causing serious injuries. The children lie to their families, causing considerable stress and anxiety, but their reasons for doing so are clear and understandable.
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What's the story?
Peter Stone, 12, feels like the weirdo in his family: He's the quiet one in a bunch of loud, outgoing people. The family has moved from San Antonio to the hill country of Texas, hoping to put Peter's troubles behind them. But they're fractured and fighting, and Peter seeks solace in a quiet valley. There he meets Annie Blythe, who says she's a "wish girl." Peter soon realizes she means she's a Make-a-Wish girl: She has cancer, and she faces a treatment she fears is worse than dying. In their magical valley, Peter and Annie imagine creating a new life for themselves, without bullies and well-intentioned relatives. But the valley can't shield them from hard reality, and Peter and Annie are challenged to find a way to hold on to their spark.
Is it any good?
WISH GIRL mines difficult emotional terrain -- bullies, dysfunctional families, mortality, identity -- with lyrical grace. Nikki Loftin's thoughtfully written story of two souls undergoing painful but powerful transformation is full of magical realism, yet grounded with harsh truths with which many children are all too familiar. Peter's bullies are shockingly scary, but even they are treated with some compassion: Their home lives, it's made clear, is making them into monsters.
Annie and Peter are likable, relatable kids struggling with unfair burdens they can't simply shrug off. The fantastical moments they share in the valley will have readers wishing they too could run off and join them, playing in the dirt and grass and creating a world for themselves.
Talk to your kids about ...
- Author: Nikki Loftin
- Genre: Friendship
- Topics: Magic and Fantasy, Brothers and Sisters, Friendship, Misfits and Underdogs
- Book type: Fiction
- Publisher: Razorbill
- Publication date: February 24, 2015
- Publisher's recommended age(s): 8 - 12
- Number of pages: 256
- Available on: Nook, Hardback, iBooks, Kindle
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Common Sense Media's unbiased ratings are created by expert reviewers and aren't influenced by the product's creators or by any of our funders, affiliates, or partners.