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The Wish Paperback – August 21, 2001

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Editorial Reviews

Amazon.com Review

Ah, the ancient mysteries of life. Why are the popular people popular? What's different about them--what makes them special? In The Wish, award-winning author Gail Carson Levine (Ella Enchanted, Dave at Night) explores the age-old question with a simple premise: a girl who is granted one wish by an old lady on the subway wishes to be "the most popular kid at Claverford." As is the fate of many who are granted only one wish, Wilma doesn't think through her wish carefully enough. While she is now adored by boys and girls alike, she is a mere three weeks away from graduating from Claverford. At Elliott, her next school, she'll be back to her lowly, oft-ridiculed self. Tension builds for Wilma until her graduation-night dance, the night before her popularity--and maybe even her relationship with her wonderful new boyfriend--will invariably come to a screeching halt. This fun, witty, insightful novel thoroughly examines the nature of "popularity," and what it means to be true to yourself. It's not just because of the old woman's spell that Wilma ponders, "'To thine own self be true.' But who was mine own self? That's what I wanted to know." Wilma is a funny, smart, no-more-awkward-than-most character with whom young readers of all social echelons will identify completely. When her popularity runs out (and the spell does end), her true friendships remain, and she's left standing on her feet. (Ages 9 to 12) --Karin Snelson --This text refers to an out of print or unavailable edition of this title.

From Publishers Weekly

Levine (Ella Enchanted; the Princess Tales) turns from fairy godmothers in the Brothers Grimm era to modern-day magic in this provocative meditation on what it means to be popular. Eighth-grader Wilma Sturtz is a nice New York City girl, but she's not popular--until she gives up her seat on the subway to a feeble elderly woman who grants her one wish. "I want to be the most popular kid at Claverford," Wilma tells the woman. Like many other books in this genre, the author explores the ramifications of "be careful what you wish for," adhering to the exact wording of the wish and demonstrating the fallout after graduation day. But, as always, Levine adds a refreshing twist to the fairy tale model: because Wilma has integrity, she uses her popularity to benefit others besides herself. The heroine, acutely aware of her unconditional popularity, adheres to the quote she most appreciates from Hamlet, "To thine own self be true." Because Wilma remains Wilma despite her popularity, she ultimately discovers who her true friends are when the wish's magic concludes. A flesh-and-blood supporting cast of imminently recognizable clique fixtures, as well as the unpopular outsiders whom Wilma also befriends, will offer readers much to ponder in their own lives. Ages 8-12. (May)
Copyright 2000 Reed Business Information, Inc. --This text refers to an out of print or unavailable edition of this title.
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Product Details

  • Age Range: 8 - 12 years
  • Grade Level: 5 - 7
  • Paperback: 197 pages
  • Publisher: HarperCollins (August 21, 2001)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 0064473619
  • ISBN-13: 978-0064473613
  • Product Dimensions: 5.1 x 0.4 x 7.6 inches
  • Shipping Weight: 4.2 ounces (View shipping rates and policies)
  • Average Customer Review: 4.0 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (147 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #183,739 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

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Customer Reviews

Most Helpful Customer Reviews

37 of 40 people found the following review helpful By A Customer on May 8, 2000
Format: Hardcover
Wilma's two best friends move away and she spends three miserable years in middle school unable to make new friends. The poplular kids ignore her and she avoids the other unpopular ones. When a language arts teacher reads her "Secret Life" essay aloud (she speaks as her dog)things only get worse. Upon giving her seat to an old woman on the N.Y. subway, the woman allows Wilma to make a wish. Wilma's wish is to be the most popular girl in school. Unfortunetly, graduation is three weeks away and school will be over. Will her new friends still like her? Will Jared, her new beau still want to be her boyfriend? This book is ideal for the pre-teen girl looking for a story about friendship or one just becoming interested in boys. We learn what it is like to be popular and unpopular. It has a fairy tale essence although Wilma never actually changes. The wish only affects how others perceive her. Fans of Ella Enchanted and the Princess Tales will enjoy this too.
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29 of 33 people found the following review helpful By Xeneri on June 7, 2000
Format: Hardcover
I've been a fan of Gail Carson Levine since I read ELLA ENCHANTED and her giddy PRINCESS series. Unlike her prvious books this one is set in the here and now, nevertheless Ms Levine manages to put in a touch of magic in the form of an old woman (or is she a witch in disguise) who grants Wilma one wish as a thank you for an act of kindness. Lonely, unpopular Wilma wishes to be "the most popular kid at Claverford" and ends up wondering if she really wanted what she wished for.
This is a sweet funny book that examines the road of popularity and true friendship. It touches a cord in everyone who ever longed to be popular in school. Wilma herself is a believable and very likable girl. Readers of all ages will easily identify with her need to fit in. A funny and poignant read. I look forward to reading more from Ms. Levine.
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8 of 8 people found the following review helpful By A Customer on May 15, 2002
Format: Hardcover
I really liked this book, even though it is VERY different from Gail Carson Levine's other books. First and foremost, it is actually set in our world, in a school in fact. Usually, I would have stayed away from a book about a school, but considering the author and the promise of fantastic elements, I decided to try it.
I am SO glad that I did. This book in FANTASTIC!!! Unlike most realistic fiction, it never preaches about how terrible cliques and popular people and high school are. Instead, it shows a point of view that is NEVER shown: what it's like inside a clique, and the idea that popular people really DO have the capacity to be nice. I mean, if you want to complain about card-board cutout villains, read a normal realistic fiction book.
There was only one really 1-D character in the book, but this added to the realism; I've met a few people who really act like that. Besides, all the other characters were wonderful, so it didn't really matter.
Wilma, in most aspects, was a good character. I especially loved the way she managed to pull unpopular people into the group without making it seem forced, which is no easy task. The only thing that seemed slightly odd was the romance, but that was just because of the age. It would have worked better if this had been set in highschool, but given the nature of the wish Wilma makes, that wasn't possible.
A certain part of the wish was the only problem in the book; from my point of view, the catch in it seemed rather obvious. But then, I read WAY too much fantasy, and therefore probably understand "watch what you wish for" better than Wilma did. Besides, it wasn't a very big problem, and given that Wilma took two seconds to think about the wish before she made it, it can easily be ignored.
If you like fantasy or realistic fiction, you HAVE to read this book.
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5 of 5 people found the following review helpful A Kid's Review on March 8, 2001
Format: Hardcover
HI. I thought the book THE WISH was a great book!!! It was so exciting, and I never knew what was going to happen next!! It was very funny, too. I loved all the characters in the book. It was about a girl named Wilma who made a simple wish to an old lady. Her wish was to be the most popular girl in her school. The next day when she went to school, Wilma was definitly the most popular girl in her school. All the popular girls were friends with her, and were nice to her too. Later, Wilma realizes that her wish to the old lady was to be the most popular girl at her school but Wilma is in the 8th grade graduating in 2 weeks!! Will Wilma be popular for life, or only for 2 more weeks?? You have to read the book to find out!! I think you will definitly like it! I know I did!
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5 of 5 people found the following review helpful By A Customer on July 12, 2000
Format: Hardcover
I loved _Ella Enchanted_ and expected _The Wish_ to be as amazing and entertaining. However, I felt as if I was plodding through the reading at times, just trying to get through the text. Though the wish to be popular is something kids can relate to, I think that the book seemed a little preachy and the big fat moral lesson hung a bit too heavy, impeding the pleasure factor.
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4 of 4 people found the following review helpful A Kid's Review on February 3, 2002
Format: Paperback
If you had one wish, what would it be? In the book The Wish by Gail Carlson Levine, Wilma, the main character, wished for popularity. She was given one wish for helping an elderly lady. Without thinking, she wished to be popular at her school which she would graduate from in just a few weeks. This book would appeal most to girls in grades 6-8.
The Wish is geared towards young adults so it's easy to read and easy to understand. Since Wilma is in 8th grade herself, many of the readers can relate to her problems and understand how she feels.
You need alot of imagination to read this book because it has no pictures or illustrations. The ending is very vague so it's kind of a "create your own ending" book. However, it's very detailed so you can almost see what's going on in your mind.
It's a quick read because it's to read and it goes fast because it's so interesting. Girls ages 11-14 who like stories with magic will definately enjoy this book.
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