A lot or a little?
The parents' guide to what's in this book.
What parents need to know
Parents need to know that Wishing Day is a middle-grade novel by Lauren Myracle (author of Upside Down Magic and the teen-targeted Internet Girls series) about a family of sisters who are handed a tradition of magic that they might or might not believe in. Though there's nothing edgy or scary about this series start, the sisters are dealing with the mysterious disappearance of their mother and some otherworldly occurrences. Tweenage crushes and sibling rivalry take center stage more than the magic. And an obsession with beauty that's woven into the sibling rivalry scratches at Natasha's self-worth. Kids who are hoping to be swept away by a fantasy story might be disappointed to find that there's more family lore here than a magical journey. Lessons about liking people for who they are and learning to have faith in oneself are bonuses.
- Parents say
- Kids say
What's the story?
In Lauren Myracle's novel THE WISHING DAY, the Blok sisters have been handed down a tradition of wishing at a magical tree on their Wishing Day, the third night of the third month after their 13th birthdays. Natasha is the first sister to make her three wishes. The first wish is an impossible wish. The second is a wish she can make come true herself. The third is the "deepest wish of her secret heart." Natasha is then to observe whether or not these wishes come true. The kids of Willow Hill are like kids in other towns, except they give reverence to the ancient, supposedly magical willow tree. There are crushes at school, lots of bouncy dialogue, popular kids, and kids who feel invisible. Natasha, Darya, and Eva's mother left them in the care of their aunts and their father, a dreamy-eyed lute maker. Whether Natasha's wishes will come true remains to be seen, but there are deeper family mysteries to be solved in this series start.
Is it any good?
This emotionally charged fantasy could have used more magic, but the fact that girls are the ones who can be given magic makes it a positive story for and about girls. And there's a mystery beneath the magic that will surely be explored in the other books in the series. But some readers might get discouraged by the lack of the shivery coincidence that makes magic feel real or the shimmery gloss of stepping into another world. And it lacks the storyteller's grace -- and the deep friendships and rivalry -- that, for example, the Harry Potter series radiates. Instead, Natasha reports being pulled "completely away from the real world by a memory." And platitudes sprinkled throughout the story serve to distract, such as when Natasha says to a love interest, "It's hard to know what you really want sometimes, you know what I mean?"
An interesting character, the Bird Lady, appears and disappears, intrigues and confuses Natasha. But she delivers an important message when she states that "it's the girls who are full of magic." Hopefully the second book in the series will get down to the business of magic and deliver by giving the Blok sisters something really enchanting to hold onto.
Talk to your kids about ...
Families can talk about sibling rivalry. Why do you think it's a common theme in books and movies? Why does it take a central role in this book? What lessons do the sisters learn from their shared challenges?
The Bird Lady says: "It's the girls who matter. It's the girls who are full of magic." What does she mean? Are there other stories or movies that support this statement? Are there other stories that disprove it?
The Blok girls have lost their mother, and it seems that she suffered from depression. How is depression described in this book? Does it seem realistic?
- Author: Lauren Myracle
- Genre: Fantasy
- Topics: Brothers and Sisters, Fairy Tales, Middle School, Misfits and Underdogs
- Book type: Fiction
- Publisher: Katherine Tegen Books
- Publication date: May 19, 2016
- Publisher's recommended age(s): 8 - 12
- Number of pages: 336
- Available on: Audiobook (unabridged), Hardback, Kindle
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