Friday, November 04, 2016

The Seventh Wish

The Seventh Wish. Kate Messner. 2016. Bloomsbury. 228 pages. [Source: Review copy]

First sentence: I've only seen the ice flowers once.

Premise/plot: Some books are near-impossible to summarize concisely...and do the book justice. This is such a book. I want to just say READ IT. But I won't. That really won't help you make up your mind now, or refresh my memory later. Charlie, the heroine, learns a little about wishes and a lot about life in this middle grade fantasy. Why is it fantasy and not realistic fiction? A talking fish that grants Charlie wishes.

My thoughts: I LOVED this one so much. Why? Perhaps in large part because of the narrator, Charlie. I truly connected with her--despite our differences--and wanted to spend time with her. I just adored her as a character. And because I adored her, I didn't mind a bit reading about Irish dancing (she made it sound super fun!) and ice-fishing (not convinced this is super fun but still not enough of a deterrent to keep me from loving it). I really felt this one was well-layered and peopled with flesh-and-blood characters.

This one was wonderfully balanced between light and dark. On the one hand, we've got Charlie and her friends and their "problems." (A friend whose father is pressuring him to play sports when that is the absolute last thing he wants to do, for example. Charlie's own "troubles" about wanting to earn money so she can buy a dancing dress for competitions.) On the other hand, we've got grown-up problems as well. Charlie's sister experiments with drugs--with heroin--at college and life becomes MESSY very quickly.

The Seventh Wish doesn't read like your typical PROBLEM NOVEL. It doesn't feel weighed down with manipulative messages, themes, and morals. Part of me wishes that this one didn't have the fantasy elements--the fish that grants wishes. The other part realizes that maybe the fantasy elements give this one a just right balance so that it isn't heavy and serious and dramatic and IMPORTANT.

© 2016 Becky Laney of Becky's Book Reviews

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