- Age Range: 12 and up
- Grade Level: 7 and up
- Lexile Measure: 820L (What's this?)
- Hardcover: 208 pages
- Publisher: Delacorte Books for Young Readers (November 9, 2010)
- Language: English
- ISBN-10: 0385739419
- ISBN-13: 978-0385739412
- Product Dimensions: 6.4 x 0.8 x 8.5 inches
- Shipping Weight: 11.2 ounces
- Average Customer Review: 9 customer reviews
- Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #4,160,744 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)
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Wish Hardcover – November 9, 2010
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From School Library Journal
Grade 5–8—A victim of cystic fibrosis, 11-year-old Tommy downplays his condition and feeds his fascination with sharks. He has studied them for years, learning about their survival instincts. Tommy often struggles for breath, but he keeps a marathon pace as his bank of knowledge about these animals grows. He writes an autobiographical essay, enters a contest, and wins a trip to California to go on a shark watch. His 15-year-old sister, Bee, who mostly takes care of him, and his single mom, who mostly doesn't, join him. While on the boat, Tommy hopes against hope that his wish will be granted: to be lowered in a cage to experience the creatures eye-to-eye. A combination of seasickness and the dangerously rough sea nixes that. Bee, hovering and all-knowing, makes a pivotal decision: Tommy's daily struggle for life must not be all that he experiences. While their mother is out on an all-night date, the two set off to meet a local hero of sorts—a young surfer who lived to tell about a shark attack. Tommy, Bee, the surfer, and his younger brother form an instant bond. They hang out, do the California dreamin' thing, and give Tommy a surfing adventure he'll never forget. The flip side—and not surprisingly—he almost dies. This is as much Bee's coming-of-age story as it is Tommy's. Her narrative about her brother's condition and tangential situations of drama, romance, and their mother's behaviors often compromise the story's punch.—Alison Follos, North Country School, Lake Placid, NY
(c) Copyright 2011. Library Journals LLC, a wholly owned subsidiary of Media Source, Inc. No redistribution permitted.
*Starred Review* Fifteen-year-old Bee’s younger brother, Tommy, an avid shark buff, has cystic fibrosis. After a wish-granting charity fulfills Tommy’s dream to see great whites up close, Bee, 11-year-old Tommy, and their mother fly from New Hampshire to San Francisco. But after the outing proves disappointing, and their single mother seems more focused on a new man than on family, Bee and Tommy travel down the coast to meet Tommy’s pen pal and hero, Ty, a surfer and shark-attack survivor. There, Bee finds friendship, including a potential romance with Ty’s 16-year-old younger brother, while Tommy gets his longed-for sea adventure, which ends up being difficult and inspiring. Bee’s intimate, first-person narrative is wholly compelling and emotionally resonant. Monninger creates diverse, well-drawn characters, and Tommy’s illness is portrayed without sentimentality in straightforward detail. Interspersed among the breathtaking, vivid descriptions of events and settings are shark facts (further discussed in an author’s note) that illuminate nature’s brutality and beauty. What shines most, though, are the relationships among characters, particularly between conscientious, school-achiever Bee and courageous, touching Tommy. With mutual admiration, support, and love, they draw strength and perspective from one another and together gain further appreciation for human frailties and resilience. An absorbing, beautifully written novel that will affect readers on many levels. Grades 8-11. --Shelle Rosenfeld
Top customer reviews
The story is smooth, seamless and has a feel-good ending. This is definitely a worthwhile book to add to school and public libraries, especially those who care about creating a collection that helps tweens and teens figure out problematic situations while getting immersed in a really good fictional world.
This fantastic story certainly headlines a child's extreme wish to connect with those killers of the deep face to face. This young man is eleven-year-old, Tommy. Tommy is a wonderful boy who, unfortunately, is suffering from cystic-fibrosis. His mother wants a family vacation and Tommy wants nothing more than to see a shark. When a wish foundation grants Tommy his dream, he, his mom and his older sister Bee, board a plane to San Francisco.
On the plane Mom spends most of her time flirting with a potential boyfriend. Now, I don't want this to sound too bad. Mom is not a bad mom; she does love her kids. What she is, is lonely. Her husband was a furnace installer and left the family and she has had to struggle to raise her children - and she is sick of being alone. Bee understands this...sort of. But what she really wants her mother to do is understand that Tommy has needs and that this vacation is actually a gift for him, and not her mother. In fact, Bee gets mad a great deal. She's extremely smart and loves Tommy more than anything else in the whole world. She's the one who constantly takes care of him - giving him his medication, watching him to see if he can breathe, etc. She knows that this is not a Disney outing; this is a lifetime dream of Tommy's and he is very serious about it.
When they land in San Francisco and are met by the wish foundation's man, Mr. Cotter, they are both happy with the kindness that he exudes. He sets them up in a hotel and readers are given a glimpse into what the San Francisco Fisherman's Wharf area really looks like. The writer does such a good job here that you can almost here the "barking" of the seals, and see the white waves of the surf smashing against the myriad of rocks.
From the ship journey with Captain O'Shay, to meeting up with a friend that Tommy met on the internet who is a survivor of a run-in with a great white, every chapter gets more and more fascinating. The shark facts, and the way that Tommy's dream unfolds is extremely interesting, heartfelt, and uplifting. Within this adventure story is a truly wonderful, emotional tale about a family who has to work through some serious issues and find the love that they have buried deep inside for one another.
A truly wonderful tale! And an update...my daughter is now eighteen and in college working for her degree in marine biology. See? Some dreams never die J Enjoy