Title: WISHING DAY
Author: Lauren Myracle
Publication Date: May 3, 2016
Publisher: Katherine Tegan Books
On the third night of the third month after a girl’s thirteenth birthday, every girl in the town of Willow Hill makes three wishes.
The first wish is an impossible wish.
The second is a wish she can make come true herself.
And the third is the deepest wish of her secret heart.
Natasha is the oldest child in a family steeped in magic, though she’s not sure she believes in it. She’s full to bursting with wishes, however. She misses her mother, who disappeared nearly eight long years ago. She has a crush on one of the cutest boys in her class, and she thinks maybe it would be nice if her very first kiss came from him. And amid the chaos of a house full of sisters, aunts, and a father lost in grief, she aches to simply be…noticed.
So Natasha goes to the willow tree at the top of the hill on her Wishing Day, and she makes three wishes. What unfolds is beyond anything she could have imagined.
I am a huge Lauren Myracle fan (and her posse of CP’s and co-writers) so I was super interested to see her go in a new direction of sorts with this book WISHING DAY.
I was happy to find that all of the things I love about Myracle’s books like the teenage angst, teenage embarrassment, teenage relationships, teenage laughter, teenage lightness, teenage love … was all there, but was caught up in a swirl of magic that made it even better.
Before I read this book, I had heard some people were confused by this, that there wasn’t enough focus or direction. I disagree. I think it was realistic in the fact that Natasha, the main character, was lost in her life and we, as the reader, follow her through a winded path.
Life isn’t always straight forward and easy, with endings tied up in neat, pretty bows. It is messy and complicated, even if you believe in magic and wishes that come true.
Natasha has a lot going on in her life and is burdened by a mother who left her, a father who is mourning, sister’s who seem to have who they are figured out even though they are younger, a best friend who is bossy and she’s kind of not fitting with her the way she always has, and a crush on a boy who she’s never spoken to.
Add on top of this the pressure of going to a Willow Tree on the third night of the third month after you thirteenth birthday and only getting to choose three wishes that will most certainly affect the rest of your life … that is, if you believe in those things. Which is half the struggle for the characters in this book. Even if you feel that magic, there are life-events which will make you forget or push it away. Even after you make three wishes, the doubts start coming in that maybe you wished for the wrong things, and your hopes get so high, waiting for your wishes to come true, even as those around you are sending mixed messages as to whether or not wishes coming true is even a real thing.
I loved the characters in this book. The sisters were just like me and my sisters were. All at once best friends and each other’s biggest defenders, but the most annoying pests and sometimes furiating competition I’d ever seen. They make this book. The aunts played a big part in the mystery/secrets of it all, and the school drama with best friends and boyfriends is Myracle’s specialty, but the sisters were all that was shiny about this book. Aside from the magical town, that is.
Everyone who reads this blog knows I am a believer in magic and love to see it in books, am drawn to them. I meant to put this book in last week’s post about Magical Realism, but left it out and it’s even better because now I can rave about it in detail.
WISHING DAY has something for everyone, even an ending that begs for a second book, because although I know the character’s can work things out for themselves, and I don’t mind wondering what that is in my head, I am eager to return to the story and see what other magical mysteries Myracle has in store for us.
For more Marvelous Middle Grade Monday recommendations, visit Shannon Messenger’s Blog.