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Wish Hardcover – August 30, 2016
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From School Library Journal
Gr 4–6—Eleven-year-old Charlie Reese is heartsick that she's been sent to live with an aunt and uncle she doesn't know in the boondocks of North Carolina, because her dad, Scrappy, is in jail getting "corrected" and her mama can't get up off the couch to care for her. O'Connor (How To Steal a Dog) pens a touching tale of resilience sure to resonate with children who have ever felt like they didn't belong. Charlie feels she doesn't fit in and has built up a tough exterior, which, coupled with a short-tempered fuse, gets her nowhere in her "temporary" home with kind Aunt Bertha and Uncle Gus. Charlie resists becoming friends with Howard, an odd but kindhearted boy with an "up down walk" who comes from a boisterous and loving family, which is far from what Charlie is used to. Every day, Charlie has to find something lucky in order to make a wish, a ritual she's done every day since fourth grade, whether it is a bird singing in the rain, or blowing on an eyelash. Feeling kinship with a stray dog, Charlie is overcome with desire to give "Wishbone" the loving home she, too, is desperately searching for. When Wishbone disappears and she is compelled to search for him, Charlie learns there are people worth holding on to and what you wish for may not be what you really want. VERDICT Poignant and genuine, this is a tale that will resonate with readers long after they finish it and have them cheering for the underdogs—both of the two-legged and four-legged varieties.—Michele Shaw, Quail Run Elementary School, San Ramon, CA
“O’Connor (How To Steal a Dog) pens a touching tale of resilience sure to resonate with children who have ever felt like they didn’t belong...Feeling kinship with a stray dog, Charlie is overcome with desire to give ‘Wishbone’the loving home she, too, is desperately searching for. When Wishbone disappears and she is compelled to search for him, Charlie learns there are people worth holding on to and what you wish for may not be what you really want...Poignant and genuine, this is a tale that will resonate with readers long after they finish it and have them cheering for the underdogs―both of the two-legged and four-legged varieties.” ―School Library Journal
“At school, at home, and in the community, the characters and settings are well drawn, but it’s the narrator’s convincing, compelling voice that will draw readers into the novel and keep them there until her wish finally comes true.” ―Booklist
“The many ways [Charlie] wishes form something of a catalog of folk and family traditions and are delightful all by themselves....Speaking in an honest voice revealing her hurt, resentment, and vulnerability, Charlies explains how her wish comes true. A warm, real, and heartfelt tale.” ―Kirkus Reviews
“O’Connor again finds the sweet spot for young readers who are beyond early chapter books but not quite ready for the cynicism and/or complexity of much tween-into-teen lit. Bertha, Gus, and the Odoms are certainly awash in goodness, but their big-heartedness never devolves into sentimentality.” ―The Bulletin of the Center of Children's Books
“O’Connor has the setting and colloquial mountain speech down pat, but most important, she gets at the heart of Charlie’s unhappiness, showing that wishes may come true, but perhaps not in the ways we expect.” ―The Horn Book
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It has taken me awhile to write this review. WISH was so epic, I was left speechless after finishing the book. WISH is powerful, loving, heart-warming, and inspiring. Barbara O’Connor uses this story to tug at the hearts of the reader. Charlie is a mess of a person, and yet, just a little love can go a long way. Being a teacher of students like Charlie, I was drawn to the emotion of the book, “wishing” all my students who deal with what Charlie deals with could be as lucky as Charlie to land with an amazing aunt and uncle. After reading this book, you will want to make Charlie a part of your family.
Charlie, Howard, Bertha, Gus & Wishbone are a cast of characters students will love & adore! My fifth graders have not been able to put down Charlie's story! Barbara O'Connor's Wish will transport you to North Caroline and you won't want to come home! Add this to your TBR & library ASAP!