From School Library Journal
Grade 4–6—The day before her first day in middle school, Griffin Penshine is tricked into accepting a box of lucky pennies from a mysterious old woman. A note in the box explains that the coins are all wishes stolen from a fountain more than 70 years ago. Griffin is now unwillingly a Wish Stealer, and in order to avoid the fate that accompanies that title, she must return the pennies to the original owners or to someone who has a similar desire. Short chapters keep the story moving, and an inspirational quote or adage, often about wishes or dreams, follows each one. Unfortunately, Griffin learns that she must return the wishes from a too-convenient chapter in a book that practically falls into her lap. More successful are her experiences as she navigates slights by the school's popular crowd and organizes a fundraiser to collect money for saving rainforests. While the wish-stealing theme is better developed in Frances Hardinge's Well Witched
(HarperCollins, 2007), Trivas's accessible novel encourages readers to be proactive in following their dreams and in helping others to fulfill their wishes.—Amanda Raklovits, Champaign Public Library, IL
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Given a box of old pennies by an elderly crone, sixth-grader Griffin Penshine very nearly becomes a wish stealer (someone who tramples on other’s dreams and whose own evil thoughts come true). Only by returning the wishes to their owners or someone else in need can Griffin avoid becoming evil herself. Juggling her need to pass on the coins with more normal concerns—friendship, a science-fair project, and her music—Griffin also worries about the baby her mother carries and her beloved, ailing grandmother. This witch’s brew of premise and complications is stirred up with chapter-ending quotations about everything from wishes and dreams to saving the world. Earnest and basically good, Griffin is an appealing protagonist; readers will sympathize with her efforts and cheer her hard-won ability to ignore the taunts of a trio of stereotypical mean girls. The author’s good intentions are evident in the too-frequent adult advice and the happy ending, which includes raising money to save rain forests; but middle-graders may enjoy the concoction. Grades 4-7. --Kathleen Isaacs