Parents' Guide to

Wish You Were Here

By Terreece Clarke, Common Sense Media Reviewer

age 12+

Scattered, quirky summer vacation drama.

Wish You Were Here Poster Image

A Lot or a Little?

What you will—and won't—find in this book.

Community Reviews

age 18+

Based on 1 parent review

age 18+

Wish You Were Here – But Don’t Stay Too Long

What seemed like a reasonable story on paper gets the over-edited, padded out flash-back screen treatment, till the viewer doesn’t want to know anymore. This might possibly have been a fair 1Hour TV episode but instead, gets stretched out to 1.1/2 Hrs with a sub-standard, messy convoluted edit style. What we have here are two Aussie couples behaving badly in Cambodia, falling afoul of druggies, grotty child sex sellers and assorted underground types – leading to a missing man. There are several ambiguous occurrences which seem to be left relatively unexplained IE; the true nature of the missing man’s business, a mysterious red car that occasionally follows them around, then there’s the young sisters cold disregard for her sister - in light of the fact she seriously lusted after her sister’s husband (the father of her sisters children) Performances are mostly good but the situations are not always up to par and the ending offers little more than a tacked-on let down. Especially when we are left with the definite feeling these events can only get worse for these characters. An added song section near the end (seemingly included to pad out the R/T to 90mins) further slows it down unnecessarily.

Is It Any Good?

Our review:
Parents say: (1 ):
Kids say: Not yet rated

The quirky characters and funny postcards are the best parts of this book. Unfortunately, WISH YOU WERE HERE doesn't give enough for us to care about. The plot and events of the novel are as directionless as the trip Ariel and her family take. Readers will find themselves meandering along wondering not only where the bus tour is headed, but where the book is headed. Unfortunately, the story never really arrives anywhere.

Perhaps the author was trying to evoke the randomly funny, yet poignant stories of films like Napoleon Dynamite and Little Miss Sunshine, however it just doesn't translate in this book. One good thing the author does is highlight, if briefly, the issue of gambling addiction and the importance of quality time with family, especially when you're going through tough times.

Book Details

  • Author: Catherine Clark
  • Genre: Family Life
  • Book type: Fiction
  • Publisher: HarperTeen
  • Publication date: March 25, 2008
  • Publisher's recommended age(s): 12 - 12
  • Number of pages: 224
  • 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.

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.

See how we rate