By Darienne Stewart,
Common Sense Media Reviewer
Common Sense Media Reviewers
Magical, heartrending story of loss, change, and hope.
A Lot or a Little?
What you will—and won't—find in this book.
In addition to discussion about what, exactly, constitutes art, there's an abundance of great vocabulary words such as "lachrymose" and "mellifluent."
Listening is surprisingly powerful, essential to understanding yourself and those around you. Change can be very hard, but you're likely to appreciate how you've grown and transformed once you're on the other side. Friendships that challenge you can lead to tremendous growth.
Positive Role Models
Peter and Annie don't become friends easily, and they work hard to navigate ups and downs and support each other. Mrs. Empson is an empathetic, smart adult who gives Peter and Annie just the guidance they need. Peter's parents are deeply concerned and want to help, but they aren't managing stress well and their efforts often cause more harm than good.
Violence & Scariness
Two bullies are menacing and dangerous: They badly injure two children, threaten people with guns, hunt animals, and try to break into a home. It's made clear that they're physically and mentally abused by their father. A boy describes being badly beaten in the past.
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Sex, Romance & Nudity
Two boys describe a boy's sister as "hot" and make lewd comments about her that aren't described in detail.
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Adults are described as cussing at each other when they fight.
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Products & Purchases
Brief mentions of Tylenol, Lincoln Logs, Facebook, Velcro, Twizzlers, eBay, Play-Doh, and the movie franchises The Fast and the Furious and Die Hard.
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.
Where to Read
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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 ...
Families can talk about how Peter deals with his bullies. What might you do if you were in his shoes?
Do you have a safe place to go for comfort when you're upset?
Real art changes you, Annie says. What do you consider "real art"?
- Author: Nikki Loftin
- Genre: Friendship
- Topics: Magic and Fantasy, Brothers and Sisters, Friendship
- 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
- Last updated: July 12, 2017
Did we miss something on diversity?
Research shows a connection between kids' healthy self-esteem and positive portrayals in media. That's why we've added a new "Diverse Representations" section to our reviews that will be rolling out on an ongoing basis. You can help us help kids by suggesting a diversity update.
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Where to Read
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